March 19, 2010

Inside this Newsletter:

Spring is in the air and I have daffodils, hyacinths, and primroses blooming in my office. I’m actually sitting in the sun by Cherry Creek on Wed. (our 75 degree day!) and it feels like heaven as I write this, but it’s probably snowing by the time you receive it. That’s Colorado!

I’m 5 weeks out from my rotator cuff surgery now and hard at work in Physical therapy. The doctor says I’m ahead of schedule in my shoulder movement. I’ve been suffering some after effects of stomach distress, however, but getting that solved too. I have Dr. Gersoff, my ortho to thank, as well as Lori Schlotzhauer, my physical therapist, and my friend Bill Betts who turned me on to them – they’re the best! Also, I thank Dr. Guillory who’s taking care of my digestive system.

My KYGO 98.5FM radio show (on Thursday mornings from 7am to 9am) is going great, especially last week’s show on “It’s good to be a bitch!” The phone lines were lit up the whole time, as the women loved the topic, and the men…..well, not so much! Call in with any questions to 303-631-2985. After all, it’s free therapy!

If you’re married, be sure and read my article on “How Carolyn Saved Liz & Lynn’s Marriage.” It covers very common problems in many marriages. This article is my version, but see the editor’s version in First for Women Magazine on the stands now everywhere.
To see the actual article, click here.

If you’re single, be sure and read my Q & A on getting a woman to open up on the first date. Remember, I’m a dating coach, as well as a marriage counselor, and can help advise you on meeting potential mates, keeping them calling you, and how to seal the deal. Also, you can just schedule one session at a time when you have a question about dating, and even do the session by phone if you want.


How I Saved Liz & Lynn’s Marriage

Liz and Lynn were in their second marriages when they came into my Denver, CO office for marriage counseling. He worked at Coors and she worked as a real estate agent. They had been married only 8 years, but already had a lot of resentment built up. When they came in they were bickering at each other over trivial issues like his golf, changing TV channels, who's taking out the trash, who's supposed to answer the phone. That’s how their power struggle was playing out. But of course, the real issues were more about money and communication. Each one felt unappreciated by the other and didn't know where to go from here.

She Nags, He Withdraws

Liz's issues with Lynn: He doesn't speak up and tell me or anyone when he's upset, he's passive/aggressive and withdraws and I feel abandoned. He procrastinates, agreeing to move to California, but never applying for jobs out there.

Lynn's issues with Liz: She's controlling when she talks to me and pressures me regarding work, my kids, us, moving to California, and the house. She constantly criticizes me and has no appreciation for what I do.

He Makes the Money, She Spends It

Liz’s issues with Lynn: He's old-fashioned in that he expects me to do all the housework.

Lynn’s issues with Liz: She's totally out-of-control when it comes to money. I feel overburdened and like I have to handle it all. She needs to contribute financially.

Lynn eventually told Liz that she needed to contribute financially. She said how dare he insinuate that she didn't work hard when she had worked for the government for years and had tons of traumatic things happen and had just needed a break. Besides, she had received an inheritance and they were using a couple thousand a month from it for their bills. He said they should be investing that money and that she should be bringing in at least a couple thousand a month. She said she was. He said "Where is it?" He asked her to go through her books and show him. She brought the info to therapy and showed that she was spending (on business expenses) at least $1000/mo more than she was making. He said she needed to cut her expenses and stop giving away her services for free (which she was doing). She said he was enabling her because the bills always got paid and she didn't know it bothered him.

He Expects Her to Do All the Housework/She Wants Him to Stop Procrastinating

Liz told Lynn that she was tired of him procrastinating, i.e. agreeing that he wants to move to California, but never applying for jobs out there. She agreed to work on her naiveté about business if he would work on his resumes and send them to California, as well on taking on half the housework. He agreed but also said he didn't feel like he should be helping with the housework when she wasn't bringing in any income, especially since he often works 12 hours a day and she doesn't even leave the house until noon and seems to have all the free time in the world when he has none. She understood but said she was going to change that and needed him to help so she can.

Both worked hard in therapy working on the relationship and working on their own personal issues from their pasts as well.

Liz worked with me on her business issues, cutting expenses, learning how to make better deals with her clients so that she didn't help them until they signed contracts with her. She moved to a different, cheaper office, etc. I helped her with time management and organization. She also worked on her control issues and tried to stop criticizing Lynn.

Lynn began speaking up more, stopped avoiding conflict and started handling his adult kids, his boss, and Liz. He agreed to help with the housework, but told her that she needed to stop being so messy and sloppy. She had no idea he felt this way.

I helped them make deals. They worked out a housework plan of who does what, etc. She gained better control of her business and started contributing, he applied for jobs in California and after several interviews, he was hired. They moved and Liz connected with a realtor out there and got moving again on her business goals. The relationship became more equal and more respectful. And most importantly, their communication improved. As their issues got resolved and the resentments went away, the warmth came back. They’re working together as partners again and feeling supported by the other.

Also, see Liz & Lynn and the magazine article in First for Women written by an editor.

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Dating Coach Question


How Can I Get a Woman I Just Met to Talk More? I’m a guy in his late 30’s who wants to know what questions I need to use to get a woman talking more. I have found many women give short answers and the conversation goes nowhere. An example that is a composite of what I deal with: "I met a girl named Jenny who is an accountant, and says she likes travel to San Diego, walking around San Francisco, and Dance. When I asked how she got into accounting, she said "I'm good with numbers". What does she like about her job? "The people around her". Like about San Diego? Lying on the beach. What do you see when you walk around SF "Just people watching." Can you tell me interesting stories of people you've seen? "Not Really". . Like about Dance? "I like Salsa!"


It's not about the questions you're asking, it's that you're not sharing back to keep the conversation going, and not asking the question in a deeper way. She probably feels like this is an interview instead of two people communicating with each other. When she replies, "I'm good with numbers," you need to respond like, "I'm good with numbers too, but I didn't want to become an accountant. In fact, I'm doing quite the opposite, etc. (share some info here about your job)." Then go deeper: "So did you get into accounting by accident or did you really always want to be an accountant?" The same goes for all the other questions and responses as well. Good luck with Jenny!

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Love Him, Hate His Hobby

Carolyn was quoted in’s Newsletter “Happen.” To see the complete article written by an editor where she is quoted, click here.

1. If you love someone, should you take up their hobby if they want you to?

  • Yes if you think you would enjoy it

  • Yes if you have very few things you do together

  • No if you don’t want to

  • No because you need separate interests. Separate pastimes are actually healthy, even essential. Part of what creates a spark is bringing new interests into a relationship. When couples always do the same things, always together, that spark is more likely to fade.

2. Should you leave them alone about their hobby and/or support it?

Yes, unless there’s problem with:

  • Morals (it’s against your belief systems, i.e. hunting, gambling)

  • Money (it uses up too much of the joint finances, i.e. boating, cars, gambling)

  • Avoiding you (it keeps him away from you and any quality time, i.e. golf on weekends)

  • Addiction (it has become an addiction/obsession, i.e. computer game, gambling, etc.)

What to do if his or her hobby becomes a problem.: Communicate, Compromise, Make a deal.
If none of the above issues are a problem, then just be supportive, even if you don’t like his/her hobby. Ultimately, it’s not about the hobby itself, it’s about being happy that your partner has an outlet that he or she — not you — enjoys, which in turn requires healthy boundaries, compromises and expectations.” I myself am crazy for karaoke, but I make my singing-averse boyfriend join me only on my birthday. And his favorite hobby is golf, and I’ve ridden in the cart a few times when we have guests visiting, just to be a part of the group, but I’ve never played and doubt I ever will!

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Q & A: I filed for divorce, Now I regret it


I heard you on the radio this morning and I feel that it was an answer to my prayers. I have been married for a year and a half now (though together 4 years), and divorce papers have already been filed. We had a rushed, disorganized wedding because I was pregnant. During the pregnancy, he was not present at any prenatal visit and was a jerk. He also wouldn’t even tell his parents I was pregnant until I was at 7 months. He hasn’t been very supportive, to say the least. We also have excessive financial problems, along with the inability to trust one another. In July 2009, we had a falling out and I left for two weeks. There was another guy involved (a dear friend that has been in love with me for 10 years). I went back to my husband for the sake of our son, and then he kicked my out of our apartment November 23, saying that if I was going to be in communication with the other guy, I couldn't live in his house. I left and got a new place, and the other guy moved in to assist with rent. Now I am questioning myself. When we exchange our son on split days, I see the pain that I caused him, and it breaks my heart.

Where I am hung up is that no matter what decision I make I will hurt someone. On one side I have my husband, who I can see longs for his wife back, and on the other side I have a guy that has loved me from the start and I know would treat me right. Should I stop the divorce or move on?


You certainly have yourself in quite a dilemma. Your real problem, however, is not which guy to choose, but how to get your head on straight so that you know what you want. You are talking about what they want not what you want. It sounds like they are both in love with you, and that’s great. But I don’t think you are in love with either one of them. Your husband has treated you badly and I’m sure that killed much of the love for him. Don’t stay with him because he now “longs” for you. He made mistakes in the relationship and has to be held accountable. And it sounds like you are using the other man because he is convenient and makes for a good back-up plan.

Why do you think you need to choose between the two? Whether or not you put the divorce on hold or not, you need to find a cheaper apartment or get a roommate (female preferably) and live as a single woman for a while. You sound very needy and seem to be just jumping back and forth trying to decide which man loves you and will give you the most instead of who you love and what you want. You need to take a break from both of them and learn to be alone. Chapter 4 in my book Loving Him Without Losing You is titled “Withdraw, Separate, and Develop Your Own Identity,” and I think you need to read it. Break your dependency on these men by taking some time off from men in general, working the chapter, and figuring out who you are and what you really want. Then, if you want to work it out with your husband, get some marriage counseling.

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About Carolyn

Carolyn Bushong, L.P.C, is a Licensed Professional Counselor with 25+ years of experience working with people who want to solve personal issues, OR find a healthy romantic relationship, OR improve a relationship they are already in. She has authored and published 3 relationship books, and McCall's called her one of the top relationship therapists in the country.

Besides her successful private practice as a psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado, her credits include 4 appearances on the Oprah show, a segment appearance on the View (reviewing her book The 7 Dumbest Relationship Mistakes Smart People Make), and other television appearances too numerous to mention. Carolyn also has a radio show called Therapy Thursday on KYGO 98.5FM, Kelly & Rider’s morning drive time at 7:30 am in Denver, CO.

Carolyn helps 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. To find out more, go to her website at

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