February 13, 2009

Inside this Newsletter:

Pretty nice winter so far! Alan and I had a great trip to Vegas in January, but we didn't win any money. Remember that in December when he asked where I wanted to have my birthday dinner, I told him, "Vegas!" We had quite an interesting experience on my birthday dinner, but I was warned not to share it with everyone who gets this newsletter since it's a bit "R" Rated. I wrote it up, and if you want to receive the "Vegas Story," just email me at Carolyn@carolynsays.com and type "Want Vegas Story" in the subject line, and I'll send it to you.

I've been working with a lot of reporters lately, giving them quotes for their stories, and a couple of quotes are supposed to appear in the New York Times this weekend, one asking me how I think people are downsizing this Valentine's Day because of the economy. I gave some expert advice, but I also told her how I feel personally. She also talked to Alan, and I'm not sure what he said. We are going out to dinner for Valentine's Day, but not to an upscale expensive Cherry Creek restaurant like we did last year. Here's what I emailed the New York Times:

I told my honey not to send me the $100+ Hawaiian flowers he sends me every year on Valentine's Day. He sent them in December for my birthday and I felt that it was too much even then because of what's going on in the economy (although others say we need to "spend" to keep the economy going). He and I are actually doing quite well, but one never knows when that could change. He's a stockbroker, so it's not that he can't afford it. I just feel that extravagances are ridiculous in this economy. I'm a person who used to never pay attention to the price of anything, and now I'm paying attention! We got cheap tickets and rooms when we went to Vegas for my birthday, but would not have gone at the old prices.

Another reporter's question was: "How has dating changed since the recession began? Are people looking for love or money? Are more people in crisis-mode and seeking a partner? What have I particularly noticed?" See my response below in article: What This Economy is Doing to Dating. Other quotes are listed below.

I'm also excited about working with an internet TV show based in LA and will head out there in a few weeks to tape.


Sandy's Sex and the City "Mr. Big" Story

39-year-old Sandy came in a few months ago saying,

I feel like I'm Carrie and living in the TV show Sex and the City and dating "Mr. Big." I've been dating Peter for nine months, yet I don't have any idea where we are in this relationship. He's wildly exciting, has money, and travels constantly. I never know when I'll see him again. When I'm with him, we have so much fun and it feels like he loves me, but the "L" word seems taboo in our relationship. He's 38 and never been married, and I'm beginning to think he's a commitmentphobic. I want marriage and children and don't have all the time in the world to make that decision. I need to know if he's serious or just stringing me along.

It seems like he leads me on. He said he loved me in June and then took it back saying it was "premature." We were at a fabulous hotel in California and he said, "This would be a nice place for a wedding," yet when he talks about the future, it's only about what he's going to do - not us. Once he said, "Let's have kids," then a week later he said he doesn't know if he even believes in marriage!

And even though I enjoy the fact that he has money, it confuses me and makes me feel insecure. You always say that healthy relationships have to be equal. How do I become equal financially, especially when my business isn't doing very well right now in this economy. Besides, there are more differences that make me feel less than him. His mom is a therapist and my mom needs a therapist. His friends are from all over the world and some are even celebrities, and most are very rich. I'm nervous around them. Basically, I feel like I'm not good enough for him, don't deserve him. After hanging out with his flashy friends in Santa Barbara, I'm even questioning my looks, which I haven't really done before. I've told him how insecure I feel and he says he hopes I can get over it and that maybe I should go back into therapy to fix my insecurities. "SO HERE I AM!"

Sandy and I worked for several months in therapy. I told her that first of all Carrie in "Sex and the City" didn't handle "Mr. Big" correctly in the TV series, and that what happened in the movie, (i.e. breaking up because he left her at the alter, having no contact for 7 months with neither of them dating anyone else during that time, and then him returning, saying he's sorry and marrying her like nothing happened, and it all going smoothly after that) was a complete fairy tale and would never have happened in real life. Carrie had needed to confront Mr. Big every step of the way WHILE they were dating. Sure it may have ended, but if it didn't, it would have forced Mr. Big to look at himself and his way of handling relationships. She also needed to set boundaries regarding his behavior with her and not allowed him to just come in and out of her life whenever it felt good for him. But, of course, it's hard to do these things when you are insecure, whether you're Sandy or Carrie.

We began to work on her insecurities first, proving how unfounded they were.

  1. First I told her to Stop Telling Him that She is Insecure! Sandy says she doesn't want him to rescue her that she's an independent woman, but talking about her insecurities sends the message: "Rescue me and make me happy! Even if you are insecure, don't show your hand - that's not appealing! He acts like his life is perfect, but it's just an act! Don't buy into it, and don't open up about your insecurities any more than he does!

  2. Take Him Off the Pedestal! He had told her at one time that he had lost his first business and ended up broke, and that he has been deeply depressed several times in the past. Even if he doesn't talk about his insecurities as much as you have, he obviously has them. Don't forget that! Besides, he's never even been in a long-term relationship and you have (a marriage). He has no clue how it's supposed to work. Don't let him take the lead on how the relationship is supposed to work!

  3. Do your personal deeper work to get rid of your insecurities. This will give you the strength to speak up to him. I told her she needed to do the work on her childhood/family issues. And by the way, growing up with his mom as a therapist often screws people up worse than having normal parents, so not to let that intimidate her.

  4. Speak up Telling Him What You Want, and also What Is Not Okay With You. She said she would, and after she did, she sent this email to me:

So, I confronted Peter (Mr. Big) tonight on the phone. I told him that I've come to the conclusion that the reason I feel insecure in this relationship with him is because he never expresses his own fears and vulnerabilities to me, AND because he doesn't tell me he loves me. (That it's not just me feeling insecure because of my past, he plays a part in my insecurities.)

I told him that I feel that the "L" word has become taboo in our relationship. I told him that I can't make him have love for me. I can't change his feelings. Then, he said, "Sandy, I love you. I love your personality. I love everything about you. Love is a very big word for me. The Big Love is marriage. And, I'm not quite there yet. But, I'm getting there. I just want to grow this slowly. I know it's been a year. I just don't want this to be like my old relationships that I've rushed into only to see it fail. I am enjoying the FEELING of growing this relationship. It's the best I've ever had. It's a new feeling. It's real." He said all o f this so matter of fact, Carolyn! It was incredible!

Then, he said, "As a matter of fact, over the weekend I had to hold myself back from saying it. You were having a melt down and I was holding you, telling you everything is going to be okay. It just seemed to want to flow out of my mouth that I love you, but I held back because I didn't want you to think I said it because I feel sorry for your situation. I want marriage, Sandy. I just want to pace it and smell those roses. Even going through this tough time with you is another way that our relationship is growing." Geesh! He just kept spewing!

Then, he said, "Well, I guess I just expressed some real emotion there! Wow! That wasn't so bad! I guess you just had to ask me!"

I told him that I'm happy with where we are at and that growing something so sweet and real is what I want, too." You know, I feel so peaceful right now, Carolyn. Once I started talking, and then listening to him spew his emotions made me feel at peace. I had been upset because I want children and marriage and couldn't think straight because I've been so frustrated. I still want marriage and babies. But, love comes first. And that has been confirmed for me tonight. I can be patient now and let this thing grow. Not too long, of course! But, it's been a year and he's on his way. Maybe he'll stop being so wishy-washy now that we've broken a little more ice...

Damn I feel good!

A few more months went by where Sandy and I worked together and all was going okay in her relationship with Peter and she felt really good. Then she came in and told me that Peter has just spent 6 out of the last 9 weekends traveling (for fun) and only been home with her 3 weekends, and that she again felt like she was losing the relationship. And no she hadn't told him that. I told her that she doesn't speak up to him any better than she does with her mom, and reminded her that she hadn't finished her deeper work with her family (everybody fights me on this!) We then finished the work with her mom and then she was able to stand up to Peter again (and I believe will not have trouble standing up to him in the future). She emailed me back once she did it.

I just got off the phone with Peter. I told him that his excessive travel is too much for a relationship to grow. I told him I'm comfortable with 1 x month and special trips, but will not let myself be in another relationship with The Invisible Man again. He said he loves me and wants our relationship to grow and "can't I just continue to travel up until Spring and Summer?" I told him it's fine for him, but it doesn't work for ME. I told him that I am not intending to take away his adventurous spirit and that if I had the opportunity to spend the Winters in California, I would.

He was surprised that I would back out of the relationship if he continues to travel like this! He said he needs to re-arrange his travel schedule. Then, he again said he loves me and wants our relationship to grow, but told me he needs to digest this and call me in the morning. Here's hoping for the best!

He called the next day and said that he realizes that he almost screwed this relationship up and that he's driving his car back home today, with a possible stop in Phoenix to visit a friend he planned to see on Leg #3 of the Journey from Hell. Ha! I think there's hope for us yet!

Thanks again, Carolyn! I think "Mr. Big" is changing!!! Our sessions are the BEST! You are the Miracle Therapist! Seriously! You're worth EVERY PENNY!!! Keep up the good work!

:) Sandy (Carrie)

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10 Ways to Improve Your Relationships & Your Life

  1. Find Your Own Voice and Speak the Truth without worrying about other people's approval of you.

  2. Don't avoid conflict. Confront issues as soon as possible so you can move on to resolution and happiness.

  3. Give up "shoulds" in your life. Don't let others judge you and don't be self-righteous with them. Accept people's differences.

  4. Find more people who are like you and spend lots of time with them.

  5. Make sure you have as much fun in your life as you do work and responsibility.

  6. Stop trying to get your mate or friends or family to think like you. And stop thinking that to be compatible with a mate or friend, you must enjoy all the same things in life. Variety truly is the spice of life.

  7. When feeling guilty, make amends ("I'm sorry and I won't do it again") as soon as possible and move on. Holding onto guilt is as destructive as holding onto anger.

  8. Don't waste time playing victim and/or whining. Injustices happen to everybody, not just you. The difference in successful, happy people and those who remain victims is in how they handle the injustices. (Do what you can to confront and get the justice you believe you deserve and then make a new plan as to how to make sure this never happens to you again.)

  9. Stop putting so much effort into trying NOT to be emotional or in not letting others know how you really feel about them, good or bad. You can't get what you want without first deciding how you feel and why you feel that way.

  10. Don't let your past predict your future. Look back and see what you've done wrong in relationships, etc., what your patterns are, where they came from (probably parents), and work on stopping the repetition.

If you can follow these 10 Rules, you'll have happier, more productive, fun relationships which will create a much happier, more productive, and fun life!

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Carolyn's Quotes in National Magazines

I had a request from a realtor for a real estate magazine:

How Does Rejection in Relationships Relate to Rejections People are Not Feeling When They Can't Sell Their Houses?

This was my response:

In relationships, I advise clients to try to get out of the hurt stage as soon as possible and go to the angry stage. I ask them to start thinking about that person's negative traits and even write them down. Their thoughts need to be "He was no good for me anyway because he was such a control freak or perfectionist or whatever." This is called "Cognitive Dissonance," or talking ourselves out of something. Also, I tell them they have to have hope for the future, i.e. "Besides, I'm sure there will be someone better come along." I also have them look at the reality of the situation, such as "This guy just got divorced, so he really isn't good relationship material right now anyway."

In transferring this to real estate, the reality of the situation is obvious, but people do need to remind themselves of this: "This is a bad market. Even million dollar houses aren't selling, so how do I expect someone to appreciate my $400,000 house that we just remodeled." But more importantly, in using Cognitive Dissonance, they need to be telling themselves, "I really didn't like those people anyway, I don't think they would have taken good care of this house. And what about all those dogs - they would have destroyed this beautiful house we love. Even though we need to sell it soon, I'm glad they didn't get it! I think we'll find a buyer who really appreciates what we've done -- someone who won't complain about all the decks we put on the house, but who will appreciate them! Besides, they were trying to low ball us and I just hate people who do that!"

The Editor of the WBO Digest www.wboamericandream.com wanted information for Women in Business and how they spend their "Girls Nite Out!" She used my info about going out to karaoke bars and being silly as we sing!

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What This Economy is Doing to Dating?

In general, single women (especially those who don't date a lot) seem more eager/desperate to find someone. These women haven't lost their jobs and aren't trying to quit them. Instead, I think it's because in hard times, they want a partner. When the economy was great and they were single independent career women, they hoped to find a man some day, but there was less of a rush. Most people are scared, and when we're scared, we prioritize differently. In fact, several of my female clients have told me that they are going back to old boyfriends and ex-husbands who want them back -- just because they are so afraid in this economy. So some single women are "settling" out of desperation. I believe that single people are still looking for love, but they are sometimes settling for "security." The men don't seem to feel this way, and maybe even feel the opposite. One male client of mine who habitually seeks out younger women (and then, of course, always pays for everything) recently broke up with a younger woman who not only refused to pay for anything after 3 months of dating, but kept upping the ante for what she expected him to pay for (i.e., expenses for her child with another man, taking her whole family out to dinner, a diamond ring, etc.). He called her greedy and a gold digger. He told me that he just couldn't keep up with all the expenses since his sales are down and he's not 100% sure he'll have his job next month. {Of course I told him he needs to stop dating the young girls who can't be partners with him anyway, and date someone his own age and try a more equal relationship. He probably won't, but for the first time, it made sense to him}. My clients who date a lot and do internet dating don't seem to be affected too much - they're still dating a lot and still frustrated.

Would love feedback from any of you out there with different or same opinion! Also, what the economy is doing to couples in relationships as well!

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Little Love Rituals to Start with Your Guy

(From Carolyn's Quote in Cosmo)

  1. Sunday morning "Stay-in-Bed-Love-in," which may include sex, but must include emotional catch-up, such as asking how the week has gone and how certain issues are coming along (like that fight with your boss or did you ever call your mother back). Also needs to include any small issues like, "You seemed a little upset when I went out Wed. night, were you?"

    Don't bring up huge issues you fight about all the time, remember, it's a love-in! But be sure you don't for get to say something wonderful and nice to him/her, like "You looked so hot when we went to that party Friday night!!"

  2. Both of you always check in with each other to say, "I love you," and/or "Have fun honey!" if you or he is going out with friends.

  3. Protect Saturday Night as date night, and discuss that both of you will always plan to be together that night (without having to plan it), and promise to never break it without checking in with the other.

  4. Before Going out Kissy Face. When the two of you are preparing to go out to meet others or to a movie or whatever, be flirtatious before going out. If you live together, get ready in plenty of time and tease him and/or touch him as he puts on his pants, etc. and let him know he can do the same with you. If you don't live together, meet at a bar before meeting the others and focus on only each other and play a little kissy face. Build up some sexual tension and keep it until the end of the evening when you come home.

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What People Are Saying

Hey Carolyn,

Just thinking of what a better father I have become since you're helped me regain much-needed focus. The boys and I just had two productive, enjoyable and very affectionate evenings together this week. Just an idea but:

"I treated my two children to a great night out to dinner last night to one of their favorite restaurants. We talked about school (a little), their friends (a little more) and the fun that the three of us have all rediscovered in recent months. Carolyn, thank you for helping me focus on the importance of the beautiful gifts I have in my life." Can't stop smiling this morning and I hope you and Alan have a great weekend.

~ W,Denver

You are amazing and I appreciate your aggressive therapy. There may be hope for me yet.

~ :) L, Denver

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Kitty Korner

I am the Cat Whisperer!!!

As you may know, I have a lot of cats. 2 that I purchased a few years ago when one died: Precious and Cuddles (the one that has only 3 legs because of a raccoon attack). Then Tommy (the one I found in my shed the day it was born & raised him from birth who is 2 years old now). Then I had 3 ferals: Larry, Curly, & Moe (Moe died and I've moved the other 2 inside for the winter). Curly is tamed and loving, but a little schizy, and Larry - a male feral who can fight off wild animals - is intimidated by little female 3-legged Ragdoll Cuddles! {I guess it's not so strange - sometimes you big men get scared of us small women too!!} Anyway, now I have a 6th cat -a stray living in my shed (cute, gray tiger-stripped, young, sweet, but afraid) that I am cat-whispering to and who is becoming my friend. I don't know yet if it's male or female and I don't think it's feral since it's warming up to me really fast. If anyone is in the market for a young cat, it is available since, as you can tell, I already have plenty of cats. If not, you I will keep it and welcome it to the brood!

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About Carolyn

Carolyn Bushong, L.P.C, is an expert on relationships and a licensed therapist. She is known for being one of the top relationship therapists in the country and the author of 3 relationship books. She has appeared on Oprah, the View, and many other TV shows, and she has been giving relationship advice on Denver radio for 10 years. She has been helping people like you improve your life and relationships for more than 25 years. Cosmo, US Weekly and other magazines quote her expert relationship advice, and she writes articles for on-line article banks. Carolyn Bushong always has fresh, up-to-date, hot information on topics that will inspire you and change your life and improve your relationships. She has clients all over the country, some who come into her office and others who receive Carolyn's expert advice through phone counseling. Carolyn Bushong is an excellent psychotherapist, but she also lives what she teaches, as she is in a happy, healthy relationship with Alan, her mate of 21 years.

Email me your Topics & Ideas for the newsletter at Carolyn@carolynsays.com

How to get Carolyn Bushong's Relationship Advice:
Individual Counseling:
l hour or ˝hr sessions in office or phone, Health Insurance covers a portion. Couples Counseling: 1 ˝ hr. sessions, Health Ins. covers a portion.
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Purchase Carolyn Bushong's books: for sale in her office, on her website or B&N.com.
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Phone Counseling is a great way to do therapy, especially for the really busy person who's constantly on the go, or the person who is shy or hesitant to talk about their problem, or when the weather is bad and you don't want to drive to a therapist's office. It just makes sense in this day and age to be able to call and discuss a problem and get advice on a situation with having to leave work and drive to my office.

Email Advice: Visit Carolyn's website for more information.

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