RECIPE FOR A SUCCESSFUL RELATIONSHIP!

RECIPE FOR A SUCCESSFUL RELATIONSHIP!.

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RECIPE FOR A SUCCESSFUL RELATIONSHIP!

Image“I won’t ever forget the first time I laid eyes on him.  I thought that I would just die if I couldn’t have him for my own.  He was so gorgeous and on top of that, he was nice to me.  I couldn’t get him off my mind . . . in fact, it was as if I was obsessed with him!”

Ever felt this way?  I thought so.  (Otherwise you’d not be likely to be reading my blog entry about attraction!)  I guess that if there were not such a thing as attraction and romance, the world population might be stunted a bit.  That having been said, let’s look at what “attraction” really amounts to, and just how many regrets it can (and oftentimes does) lead to.  If that’s the case, then just what on earth IS love, anyway!

I believe that love comes to us in many forms.  For example, our love for our children; our love for our parents; our love for our pets.  When it comes to romance, love and lust can be difficult to separate – especially in our youth.  A very important lesson that I had to learn the hard way (i.e. two divorces from unfaithful men) is that it is imperative for lasting love, that we become friends, first, (rather than to act on feelings of attraction.  By “act on” I mean, jump head-first into a romantic relationship with someone with whom we share amazing chemistry and not much else.)  How well I recall my mother having once, long ago, said to me, “Why don’t you just pick-out someone ordinary and give yourself TIME to fall in love?”  Oh my gosh!  Did THOSE words ever NOT COMPUTE!!  My thought at that time, and my response to her was, “If I don’t feel ATTRACTED to him, why on earth would I want to DATE him?”  Today I wish I had spoken my response aloud; maybe then, my mother could have talked-some-sense-into-me!

I’d had a history of being attracted to the handsome bad-boy types.  I found them exciting.  Attraction is fun and it’s exhilarating, and even addictive.  But it doesn’t last long when there are bills that can’t be paid, children who are getting sick leading to enormous medical bills, and the other everyday life sorts of problems.  Once the attraction is gone in a relationship that is based upon attraction, what’s left?  NOTHING! 

My husband and I became very good friends right from the start.  He wasn’t the “hottie” that my previous two husbands had been.  Thus, for an attraction to develop, I had to get to know him well, and allow the attraction to stem from our friendship, and to grow over time.  (Mind you, he’s not homely, but if I were back on the dating scene, I would pay very close attention to the moral-of-the-story, Beauty and the Beast!  He’s just rather plain compared to my ex’s.)  Consequently, when those old everyday problems that become overwhelming when stacked one-upon-the-next-one become too heavy, we always have our deep friendship to fall back upon!  It really works!

So what IS love?  For me, love is wanting what is best for my loved one as much as I want what is best for myself – EVEN if that means that I must make some sacrifices to participate in the achievement of his happiness.  It means that we will be two people who share singular goals for our future together.  Yes, it means being patient, respectful and kind.  What ingredients are necessary for this recipe to be successful?  Below is the recipe you can count on!

  • We must share the same common values.  Values that consist of the way in which we view: 
  • Faithfulness versus unfaithfulness in a relationship; 
  • Child-rearing values and beliefs;
  • Autonomy in a relationship;
  • Trust;
  • Commitment;
  • Open, respectful communication;
  • Compromise.

The list above requires a good deal of maturity on the part of both people in the relationship.  But for a relationship to work over the long haul, a relationship must contain the above ingredients.  Combine these ingredients, and your relationship will be successful and lasting; it will stand the test of time!

___________________________________________

(Copyright 2014 by JC Fredlund) Copyright 2014 by JC Fredlund (JC Eberhart, Past Pen Name): ©JC Fredlund and JC Fredlund’s Artistry Blog, 1974 – 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Fredlund and the link to http://www.JCFredlund.wordpress.com blog is included with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

ENTER RELATIONSHIP COUNSELING AT YOUR OWN RISK?

;Working together with help Working together with help

 

(In this article, to avoid confusion, I am using the word “counselor” for counselor and/or therapist.  I am using the word “she” making no implication that the  subject should be female, but to   avoid redundancy and confusion.)

Is your relationship or marriage not in as good a shape as it once was, or as you’d like it to be?   Have you been thinking about pursuing relationship/marriage counseling?  If you are, there are a few pieces of information you’ll do well to consider before making your selection of a relationship counselor.

Counselors are just people.  They have their own people-problems and issues just like everyone else in the world.  When you decide which counselor you want to use, the smart client interviews the counselor before making a major life decision to seek counseling from that particular professional.   Granted, doing this may cost you and your partner an extra visit fee, but believe me, it’s worth it.   If this seems expensive to you, you will each need to ask yourselves two questions,

  1. “Just how much is my relationship worth to me”, and
  2. “Just how long do I want my relationship to last?”  

If you were investing in a new car, my guess is that you would do some serious research and looking around for the perfect car for you.   By the same token, whenever a couple seeks counseling together, they are making one of the most major investments in their future that they will perhaps, ever make. 

Upon entering any form of counseling, there are some extremely important points of which you should be aware.  You both have some serious work ahead of you before you make that phone call to schedule that first appointment.

  • Ask yourself whether or not you know any “couple” who has sought relationship counseling.  Next, ask yourself (and them) whether or not their experience with their counselor culminated in them reaching their personal goals for their relationship.   counseling clipart1<a Also ask them whether or not they personally feel as though their counseling experience benefitted their relationship in a positive and constructive way.
  • If the couple to which I refer answers “yes” to all of the above questions, you are on the right track.  You should consider asking them for their therapist’s name and phone number.
  • Once you know the counselor’s name, look up the counselor’s licensing board to find out whether or not he/she has had any complaints filed against her.  (i.e. If she is a social worker, “Google” the Board of Social Workers; if she is a counselor or other type of therapist, “Google” The Board of Behavior Health and Therapy; if a psychologist, “Google” the Board of Psychology, and so on.)  Licensing boards make this information public so that the public can become aware of the competence (or lack thereof) of the therapist they are considering.

Once you schedule an appointment with the counselor of your choice, attend that first session.  But!  Go to that session prepared!  Take along with you a list of questions you will ask her in this session.  That list should include the following questions, and any other concerns you may have:

  1. Do you determine our counseling goals or do you let us determine them?  (It is YOUR relationship, therefore, it is imperative that you and your partner’s goals for the relationship are respected.)
  2. May we see and share in our counseling plan?  (The methods the counselor uses to help you and your partner achieve your goals, should be conducive to bringing the two of you closer to each other.)
  3. Have other clients who have come to you for relationship help been satisfied with your guidance?  (Look for honesty in her response to this question.  Reality is that whether or not a couple is satisfied with counseling depends largely upon the two peole who are IN the relationship and whether or not they did the work she assigned to them.) 
  4. Will you be seeing us individually or together as a couple?  (The counselor will need to meet with you and your partner both ways – together and separately.  Exactly how many sessions, will depend on the issues you’ve brought to her.  She will usually begin seeing each of you individually so that she can assess and analyze the seriousness of your relationship problems and the best method for assisting you both in resolving your relationsip problems.)

I always find it very interesting that people get-together in a relationship or marriage believing that because they are in-love, everything will just be coming-up-roses!  In fairy tales, this makes sense.  In reality, you have each come from very different and unique family backgrounds.  In each of your families, there were different communication patterns utilized, different problem-solving skills utilized, different issues and manner of resolving them; or like many people, perhaps one of you were brought-up in a dysfunctional family where none of these  skills were developed at all.  Whichever the case for the two of you, chances are that your partner’s family’s way of dealing with everyday kinds of issues was very different from yours!  Like it or not, everyone is a product of their environment (family environment) upon having grown-up and left home!  If you are to deal in reality, you will realize that combining two different backgrounds is seldom an easy task.  Thus, the therapist’s work is cut-out-for-her and so is YOURS!

Understand that when any couple undergoes counseling/therapy together,

  1. They are each making a major commitment to themselves and to each other to do all of the work recommended by the therapist;
  2. Both are making an enormously positive investment in their respective futures;
  3. If doing the work assigned them by the counselor, both people are laying themselves out, wide-open on the table (their emotions, dreams, thoughts, wishes, fears, problems) in front of each other and the counselor.  Therefore, each person is allowing themselves to be totally vulnerable.  THIS IS THE REASON THAT YOU MUST EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION IN WHOM YOU SELECT TO GUIDE YOU THROUGH THE COUNSELING PROCESS!

Too many times, couples have simply chosen a name out of their telephone directory, and then entrusted their most precious possession, their relationship, to a professional who did not serve them well.  Going into something so serious in any kind of lacqidasicle manner has cost some individuals their relationship! 

Never lose sight of the fact that it is the two of YOU who must live with the outcome of your counseling, and no one else!  Then,  and only then, proceed with caution.

____________________________________

JC is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor who has assisted countless couples over the years, with resolving issues stemming from and surrounding their mood altering substance use related issues.

(Copyright 2014 by JC Fredlund) Copyright 2014 by JC Fredlund (JC Eberhart, Past Pen Name): ©JC Fredlund and JC Fredlund’s Artistry Blog, 1974 – 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Fredlund and the link to http://www.JCFredlund.wordpress.com blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Aside

Letter to My Parents On Parenting

Dear Mama and Papa,

I love you so much. I wouldn’t be here at all, were it not for you, for you brought me into this world. It is an enormous world. One that often frightens me when I step beyond the umbrella of your loving care and protection. You’ve gone to great lengths to teach me to take baby steps out into that enormous world so that I would always have the reassurance of knowing that I can quickly retreat back to the safety of that umbrella I know as “home” should I need to do so. You face the dangers of the world for me so that I never have to worry that I am alone.

Your dedication to loving me and to providing me with the confidence and faith I need to take baby steps toward my eventual independence overwhelms my heart with gratitude. For in so doing, you provide me with the confidence I need to grow to be strong in my principles and in my convictions. You’ve explained to me how crucial those attributes will be to my being able to lead a successful adult life someday.

One of the most important gifts you have given me, is the gift of stability. I’ve not entered this world at an easy time. There is so much violence going on that I wouldn’t feel safe except for the fact that I know that I can count on your steadfast reliability. I am faced, yes, even in middle school, with the ever-changing conditions of the world outside our home. I feel afraid that nothing might ever stay the same.

I’m only twelve. I have no frame of reference from which to draw courage to face the day ahead, except that which you provide for me. I get really scared sometimes when the other kids at school talk about the world coming to an end, and all the killings in schools like mine. Daily, I worry. At those times, it is only the reassurance of your consistency that gives me hope and renews my faith in the world around me. You have always been the foundation of the inner strength upon which I am challenged, daily, to build my present and my future life. I learn from the consistent steadfastness within our family, that despite the awful conditions in the world, I can remain hopeful that there are some things I will always be able to depend upon to remain stable . . . if only my inner self.

I just wanted to write this letter to you, to thank you for doing all that you can, to stabilize my world so that I don’t have to live with constant ambiguity. Thank you for being my constant anchor in the storms that rage in the sea of the world. Thank you for teaching me how to maintain my faith that all will be well within me, no matter what. For I reaize that parenting can’t be easy.

Love,
Your Son,
Tommy

Copyright 2013-2014 by JC Fredlund (JC Eberhart, Past Pen Name): ©JC Fredlund and JC Fredlund’s Artistry Blog, 1974 – 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Fredlund and http://www.JCFredlund.wordpress.com blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Aside

How to Stay Safe (and Sane) While Online Dating

I have a previous, published article here that describes my past experiences with online dating sites, titled, “Online Dating, Yay or Nay?” (I’m mentioning that so as not to bore-to-death those who may have already read about my personal online dating experiences.) While online dating, I made some really foolish mistakes. Had I been with a “bad person” at the time, I might not be here to write this column. Since I AM here, I want to try to save some of you from making the same mistakes I did.

The GOOD news is that you really CAN stay SAFE and SANE while doing the online dating scene. Here’s how:

+ Understand that if you join an online dating site that is for all ages, you may very well (like I did) be asked obnoxious questions like (when I stated my dating age limit as being only men 50+) “Well, how old do I have to BE?”

+ You may find yourself asking nonsensical-sounding questions like, “What part of ‘No’ don’t you understand?”

+ You will always want to drive your OWN automobile to the first two or three dates! (Long enough to have had time to very thoroughly size the person up!)

+ Always meet a new online date ONLY in a busy, and very public establishment or area. (I always chose a public restaurant where it would be easy to get the attention of others if I ever needed to.)

+ If you ever find yourself feeling a knot in the pit of your stomach and suspicious of the person from whom you’re sitting across WITH THE TABLE ALWAYS BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU, you will always be able to excuse yourself politely to the Ladies Room, and split out the door quickly, making a fast get-a-way in your automobile! (Yes, not polite, but better to be IMPOLITE than found lying in a ditch somewhere, DEAD! i.e. ALWAYS TRUST YOUR GUT!!)

+ It’s never a bad idea to get the person’s license plate number, then call it in to find out whether or not he has a criminal background. (But, if you do this, know that the average inmate has committed at least 50 crimes BEFORE he or she was ever apprehended! i.e. There are no guarantees!)

+ Expect to pay for whatever food and beverage you order – that eliminates the other person getting the idea that you owe him/her something. (Yes, they’d be dead wrong, but people without a conscience do think that way.)

+ If you’re feeling alarm bells “going off” in your gut but you can’t understand why, know that sociopaths are some of the most charming people on earth (until they get what they want from you!) Again, ALWAYS TRUST YOUR GUT!

+ NEVER go to an online date without telling a family member or a friend, EXACTLY when and where you are going and when you will return home – and that you WILL CALL THAT PERSON THE MINUTE YOU GET HOME!

+ NEVER give the other person your phone number until after the first two or three dates, and your stomach feels completely relaxed inside whenever you’re about to meet the person. Ask for THE OTHER PERSON’S phone number and tell the person that you’ll call THEM. Also tell your prospective date you promised your family you would do it this way – anyone who is any kind of trustworthy person, will SUPPORT you in doing it this way (ESPECIALLY if he/she has either a daughter or sister of their own!)

+ When you ask for the person’s phone number, remember (if dealing with a man) that men love to be the pursuer, so you’re not likely to lose the guy’s interest! If you DO lose his interest for asking, COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!)

+ ALWAYS get there plenty early (so the other person won’t know your car – just incase) and always park as near to the front door of the public establishment or area as possible.

+ Keep your cell phone in your pocket, not in your purse (just incase you would need to quickly call 911).

As I wrote in my previous article (mentioned above) I MARRIED one of MY online dates after dating him for two+ years, and have never been happier.

Nevertheless, a girl/person cannot be TOO CAREFUL! But special care in all of the above areas makes online dating much more safe and fun!

Copyright 2012 – 2014 by JC Fredlund (JC Eberhart, Past Pen Name): ©JC Fredlund and JC Fredlund’s Artistry Blog, 1974 – 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Fredlund and http://www.JCFredlund.wordpress.com blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Aside

The Good, Bad and the Ugly of Online Dating

I’ll never forget my first experience with a dating site.

I’d just ended a five year relationship and had no idea how to use a “Dating Site”, let alone, which one to choose. I don’t recall the name of the site I first tried – it was fifteen years ago.

I’d agreed to meet a man at a restaurant for lunch. I met him there, and was SHOCKED to see that he had misrepresented his age with a photograph! This guy was AT LEAST twenty years older than I, and told me that his wife had just died. So, what did I do? I felt sorry for him. He asked if he could take me for a ride in his car. I remember thinking to myself, I could take this guy (ie. fight and win physically) so, feeling sorry for him, I agreed to go for this ride.

Where did he take me? He took me to a huge stone memorial out on a highway in the middle of nowhere, and stopped the car. I immediately said, “Okay, you need to start up the car. I just met you and I have no desire to go out “parking” with you.” He replied, “I just wanted to show you the first place I ever took my wife and kissed her. I said, “Either you take me back to the restaurant or I’m getting out and WALKING!” (By this time, I’m really angry.)

He starts up the car and starts driving. On the drive back to the restaurant, he starts telling me how hard it was to have lost his wife. He then proceeded to explain that he has, since her death, begun corresponding with two women from Russia who now live with him and how exciting they are as sex partners. (I’M thinking to myself , “OH FOR GOD’S SAKE! Would you PLEASE HURRY UP AND GET TO THE RESTAURANT!”) We arrived at the restaurant and I got out of the car without saying anything further.

Over a fifteen year span, I went on dates with other guys from dating sites about eight to ten different times (not more dates than that because it would always take me at least three months to recover from each date!)

. . . Until I joined http://www.SeniorPeopleMeet.com, I met guys who were ten to twenty years my junior and who hadn’t been honest about that until we met for coffee at restaurants, one guy who gave me one year to make up my mind to marry him (that lasted only a couple of months mainly because I really don’t react very well to ultimatums,) and a guy who took me to his house, sat me down on his sofa (his only piece of furniture in a huge house) and played a song that was pretty sexy and I thought “Oh brother, THIS guy’s really got a strategy going for himself!” (It seems his wife had just left him and taken everything in the house. I bowed out gracefully and left. (By the way, this guy proposed on that first date! THAT should’ve been my FIRST clue!) Of course, I wasn’t naive’ at ALL!!! lolBest2

Suffice to say, dating sites weren’t working very well for me – until I finally saw a site (SPM). I didn’t give up because when I was a Campfire Girl I took an oath to “Always finish what I begin!” (Actually, I’m extremely determined and don’t like to lose! lol) SPM.com was designed for “seniors”.

Someone recently commented that I just got lucky, cuz all dating sites are bad. Not true. I hadn’t just gotten lucky; I’d earned my stripes! lol

I am 64 yrs. old now, and had remained single/divorced for nineteen (19) years following my divorce from a guy who had a long term affair with a much younger woman than I. At the twentieth year point, I remarried a guy who is honestly the most trustworthy man I’ve met yet – more so even, than I. But we dated for two YEARS first, he is financially better off than I was, I knew exactly what I wanted in a person (integrity, honesty, a family man), and it turned-out that we had many mutual friends, (oddly enough we had to join a dating site to meet each other though!)

Before I met Ralph, I met another very nice man who’d been a teacher in a high school, retired and had begun a career that required him to be in other states for a week at a time. (I’d been married years ago to an over-the-road truck driver and really did not want to return to that kind of life; although we were quite attracted to each other and I liked him a lot as a person and friend, we agreed to part ways.

How did I know, after 19 yrs. of being divorced and two marriage proposals from others I’d dated that Ralph was the one? Because he values HIS relationship with HIS two children, every bit as much as I do MINE! (He’s very much a gentleman, who enjoys (as do I,) having our American Staffordshire Terrier sleep in bed with us every night – ie. when he loves, he loves with his whole heart.)

So, what did I learn from fifteen years of dating site washouts? I learned that there are numerous “cads” out there, and women too, who hop from one dating site to another in order to secretly, “play-the-field”. I also learned that determination and persistence are priceless; yes, even when online dating.

Copyright 2014 by JC Fredlund (JC Eberhart, Past Pen Name): ©JC Fredlund and JC Fredlund’s Artistry Blog, 1974 – 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Fredlund and http://www.JCFredlund.wordpress.com blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.direction to the original content.

Aside

Only Crazy People Get Divorced

Maybe you’ve known somebody who was getting divorced and who took all kinds of emotional hostages along the way as they wreaked havoc in the lives of their entire family and friends. It never ceases to amaze me how two people who once were madly enough in love to pledge their lives to one another, can turn on each other and attack no differently than a rattle snake would. I recently encountered requests for advice in one of these awful situations.

I have a friend whose sister is embarking on her first divorce. My friend has been experiencing emotional distress over the fact that she feels her sister is being ruthless and terribly unfair to her future ex-husband. I was saying to my friend the other day, “Never mind that he had an affair with his wife’s best friend.” To which my friend responded, “Well! My sister had an affair too! But she didn’t tell any of the family about her affair. She just cried on everybody’s shoulder over his affair. We all felt pitifully sorry for her at the time, and here she was doing the same thing!” What could I say?

It seems that this couple has a three figure income, most of which belongs to my friend’s sister. From what my friend shared with me, it sounds as though her sister plans to take her ex-to-be to the cleaners. It sounds as if somebody warned him that he’d better get himself a good divorce attorney before it’s too late.

My friend shared with me that her sister’s ex-to-be called and asked to talk with her. So, she met him for coffee at a restaurant where he proceeded to pour his heart out to her. It seems that my friend knows her sister to be a very self-centered, histrionic and demanding woman who never settles for less than getting her own way. (I’m sitting there thinking, “Boy, it sure must have been fun growing-up with her!”

The saddest part of all is that the parents in the family are getting quite elderly, and it’s breaking their hearts that the family is falling apart. I guess that the divorcing sister isn’t sparing them any of the nasty details. It seems they’d all been a very close knit family and celebrated all their holidays together. Each sibling married and had several children and so even the kids are really close and have more or less grown up together.

My friend explained that when she told her thirteen year old daughter about the impending split-up, she cried and expressed fear that she might never see her uncle again. My friend is beside herself watching her own children being deeply affected by all of this nonsense and so she’s pretty angry about it.

It seems that her family all go out to a lake cabin together each summer, and this is being arranged again this year. The problem is that one of the other sisters is extremely angry at the one who is divorcing her husband and plans to blow-up at her at the lake cabin. My friend asked me what I think she should do.

My opinion, which I shared with my friend, is that I think she should stay away from any possible explosions, keep her distance from her family for the time being, and most of all, not expose her children to any possible emotional trauma. My friend agreed that this makes sense, and that eventually it should all cool-down and blow over.

Tongue in cheek, I also shared that, for all she knows, five to ten years from now these two could remarry and everyone in the family would have gone crazy for nothing! (Not that I really think that will happen . . . . but, then again, who knows??)

We talked about all the mean crazy things these two have done to each other and how, as a result, they are both, naturally, acting crazy . . . essentially, they’ve driven each other crazy! More than likely it will take several years and lots of psychotherapy for either of them to straighten out their lives (not to mention the lives of their four children).

We agreed that although we’ve both known a few couples who sorted out the marital problems together, filed for divorce together and remained friends after-the-fact. We also agreed that we can count these couples on one hand! We also agreed that we could talk the subject to death, and, the fact would remain that most couples who end up divorcing, have driven each other (and everyone close to them who would let them) crazy by the time they reached divorce court.

It seems to me that the old saying is true in this case, like in so many others, “You simply cannot make sense out of nonsense.”

Copyright 2012 by JC Fredlund (JC Eberhart, Past Pen Name): ©JC Fredlund and JC Fredlund’s Artistry Blog, 1974 – 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Fredlund and http://www.JCFredlund.wordpress.com blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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