February 13, 2011

Inside this Newsletter:


Message from Carolyn:

Happy Valentines Day!

We all look at our relationships during this time of the year – whether you’re married or single. If you’re in a relationship, be sure you let your mate know what you want for Valentine’s Day (see my article on What Women Want for Valentine’s Day). If you’re single and not dating anyone, be sure you spend Valentine’s Day enjoying it and nurturing yourself. Whether single and dating someone, or married, if you want to find a way to get closer to someone, see my article below on How to Bond with Your Lover.

Below you’ll see that I have some Special Counseling Deals. The phone and email deals are a faster, cheaper way to get your relationship questions answered. I’m also offering $30 off your next appointment, plus a free book, for all referrals for counseling.

Life & Style - January 3, 2011 - Sandra & Ryan: Over AlreadyWatch me on Denver’s Channel 9 on the 10 o’clock News this Sunday night, February 13th. TaRhonda Thomas interviews me in her special about Internet Dating. I’ll put a link to the interview and list all the information in my next newsletter.

Click here if you missed my quote in Life & Style Magazine on Sandra Bullock and want to see it. I’ve also written up more information on the topic below.

Click here to read Carolyn’s quote about celebrating Valentine’s Day when the kids have gone to bed in www.sheknows.com/parenting.

This month’s Denver Life Magazine’s E-Newsletter called e-buzz talks about my Dating Coach business in an article titled Love is in the Air. Excerpts of the article are below.

Be sure and forward this newsletter to a friend.


How to Bond with Your Lover

We see couples who’ve been together for years who are not only still in love with each other, but who seem so tightly connected that it would be difficult for anyone to tear them apart. And, let’s face it, that’s what we long for in a love relationship. We also know people who’ve had friends for life and wonder how it’s possible? These friends connected deeply long ago and don’t let their lives and differences get in the way of the connection they made. They’re able to pick up where they left off. You may even have some friends like that.

When trying to figure out what bonds lovers forever, people often say that having children together bonds you for life. In many ways that’s true, but that’s different in that it is an “obligation” bond, not the “forever in love” bond. Illness sometimes also brings people closer together, particularly if it’s shared illness, like cancer. But a mate’s illness does not necessarily bring the two of you closer, because that bond is again often about responsibility.

Let’s look at what does bond people together in a good way -- a way that makes them never want to let go of each other?

How to Connect or Re-connect with those you care about:

1) Share your similar experiences.

One reason people in AA often hook up is that they’ve had similar experiences (and I’m not suggesting you go to AA to hook up). Both understand how hard it is to break the alcohol addiction. They share similar experiences and failures. But the similar experiences don’t have to be negative. It can be that you were both cheerleaders or football players in high school. When Alan, my mate, meets another Marine, there’s an instant connection, and in his mind he is ready to like this person even if they haven’t said a word.

Sometimes sharing past positive experiences can even help a couple who’s grown apart re-connect, i.e. “Remember that night we took off and..., and when we promised that ‘nothing would come between us.’” It can even be something negative you both thought you would never make it through, but you did. I have clients who survived a hurricane in the Virgin Islands together and remind each other of that when the going gets tough.

That’s also why the bond is often so strong with sisters, and sometimes brothers. And if you wish your bond was stronger with a sibling, bring up those times when you were a child and went through things together, good and bad. My sister recently sent a birthday card that said, “I sometimes think of us as children and remember how important it was to have you as a big sister. I can’t imagine how it would have been without you there. Although we are so different in many ways, you do hold a special place in my heart. I love you!” That touched me.

Sharing experiences also helps, of course, when trying to connect with someone new. Alan and I bonded early on because we both hung out in Cherry Creek, but admitted to each other that we grew up poor. We both prided ourselves that our fathers were blue collar, yet we had become self-made business people.

2) Be vulnerable.

A woman crying usually attracts concerned people (although it can also cause a man who doesn’t know what to do to run away). Again, I’m not recommending that you cry just to bond with someone since that’s manipulation, but crying does tug at most people’s heart strings. Sometimes I’ll cry while watching a movie or TV show and I’ll tell Alan why it touched me so much. He looks at me so caring when I do this and we immediately feel closer. He’s even reciprocated with me a few times when something in a movie affected him, and it helped me understand him emotionally. I watched him as he was visibly upset watching a father struggle on TV with whether to leave his marriage or stay for the children. Then he told me this was something he struggled with for years. Being vulnerable and sharing these moments helps create a deep understanding of each other. Even with friends. Sometimes when I have been upset that a girlfriend has cancelled with me, I’ve told her, “Sorry if it seems like I’m overreacting, but my father used to cancel on me constantly when I was growing up, so I’m hypersensitive to it.” This helps friends understand you, hopefully not want to do it to you again, and maybe share back information about themselves, which creates a bond.

3) Enjoy similar things.

There’s nothing like cat lovers or dog lovers as far as bonding over something you both like. There’s a feeling that “this person ‘gets’ it.” Of course there’s bonding over sports, like golf, football, skiing, or hobbies like singing and dancing. I feel a closeness to the people who hang out in the karaoke bar I frequent, even though these are people I would probably never befriend otherwise. People who love what you love make you feel like you’re part of the same club. That’s why joining clubs is a good idea if you feel lonely.

But do not think that you and a lover must like all the same things. Having different passions in life, and bringing those into the relationship, keep the relationship fun and interesting, and keep the sparks flying. Alan hates karaoke and I love it; I hate golf and he loves it; but we’re supportive of the others’ passions. We agree on what’s important in life: spending time together, having fun, living with integrity, and the type of lifestyle we want for our future.

Bonding with someone takes quality time. If all your time is spent doing and going and handling, then the bonding doesn’t really happen. Bonding involves talking, taking down time,” openness and vulnerability, sharing present and past experiences, and creating goals together that are based on your similarities about life. No matter how bonded two people are, they’ll always have differences as well. But when you’re bonded, your relationship stays strong enough to help you work through those differences.

A special in Friday’s Denver Post entitled Love in her Lens, features an artist who specializes in photographing people deeply in love and bonded. Click here to see the article and photographs.

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Special Counseling Deals

1) A Valentine Special.

For Valentine’s Day (and through March 15), I am lowering my rates from $180/hr to $140/hr for new clients (and past clients who haven’t been in for at least 6 months). So tell him (or her) that what you want for this Valentine’s Day is a few sessions of counseling, and then call me and book the appointment. And if you’re single, call me and give yourself the gift of counseling and work on finding the love of your life before next Valentine’s Day!

2) Shorter, Cheaper Phone Sessions.

For years clients have asked me if I’ll do 15 minute phone sessions when they just have a quick question and don’t want to have to pay for a half hour or an hour. Because of this economy and the fact that people have less money to spend on counseling, I’ve decided to go ahead and offer this as an alternative to regular counseling.

You can book the 15 minute phone appointment for $45. You do not have to be “in therapy” with me, i.e. no regular commitment. You can just call in to schedule your 15 minute appointment, but I can usually fit in that amount of time in the same day.

You can ask a quick question or go over something with me that’s bothering you. If you aren’t a regular client, I’ll just need your credit card number when you book the appointment.

3) Cheaper email sessions.

You can ask a quick question (about 3 paragraphs) in an email for $25. You can go to my website and put your credit card number in there and send the email question OR you can put the credit card info in the email when you send it to me. You can even send me an email you got from a friend or lover or co-worker and I’ll help you figure out a response. That’s what one of my dating coach clients did. She summarized the situation, sent the guy’s email to me and asked what she should do next. She knew she had been coming across too “desperate” with this guy and I helped her take the “needy” sound out of her emails before she sent them to him.

With an email question, I’ll get back to you within 24 hours, and probably within that same day if I receive the question during regular office hours.

4) Referrals.

Get $30 off a future appointment and a free book for referrals for therapy.

The 15-minute sessions and email counseling work well for things like dating questions, simple marital issues, and problems at work. Here are several email questions I received recently:

Dating Question:

“I ran into a guy recently who I dated and he had stopped calling me. He was friendly, but he brought up the fact that I said I might pay him to fix my mother’s roof, and he seemed eager to get together and talk about that. I agreed to get together. Now he has sent me this email below and I don’t know how to respond to him since I want to discuss our relationship, not my mom’s roof.” Since he asked for the address of my mother’s house in his e-mail, I felt like I should have responded to that, but I didn’t. I just responded with some times we could meet. Now I haven’t heard back from him and at this point am not expecting to. So I’m thinking of writing him in an e-mail to say what I wanted to say in person, thinking maybe that’s better than never having a chance to try to express this frustration I feel about what happened in our relationship. What is your suggestion? Thank you, Carolyn.

His email to me on Monday:
It was good seeing you on Saturday. If you would like to give me the address to the house I could go look at the roof and take some measurements. That way when we get together I will have a good idea about costs of replacement and look at the estimate from the insurance company. Let me know what you think.

Start by sending him another email that is more honest, telling him that you really want to meet so that you can discuss what happened in the relationship. Let him know that you’ll decide about him doing the work after your talk. Wait a few days and see if he replies. If he still doesn’t reply, then write the longer letter/email of the things you have been wanting to say to him. And at that point, tell him that it’s obvious to you that he only wanted the job, but that you instead wanted closure and it looks like you’re going to have to get it through this email.

Marriage Question:

I keep getting angry at my husband because he still thinks that housework is a woman’s job. We both work, yet he never cooks dinner or helps me clean unless I nag him for days. Is there a quick, easy solution I can try without having to bring him into counseling for months to change his attitude?

I tell clients in couples counseling to make up a list of all the chores and sit down with their mates and divide them up. The only problem with this in your situation is that he has not agreed to work on the problem with you. Nagging of course doesn’t ever work. It just causes resentment between the two of you. To get him to want to work with you, you have to first stop doing it all. Tell him, “If you don’t want to work on this with me, I will stop making dinner and doing your laundry.” {You can choose other tasks, but be sure that what you stop doing will affect him.} Then you have to follow through for several weeks before he’ll get it. At dinner time, take the kids out and let him fend for himself. Do the laundry for you and the kids, but let him run out of underwear, etc. This usually gets a man’s attention. Hopefully he will realize there is a problem and work with you on solving it. If this doesn’t work, you will need to bring him into counseling for a few sessions.

Work-related Question:

I bring my lunch to work every day, and sometimes I keep things in the public refrigerator and in my desk just to snack on. Then I go to get it, and it’s gone. I think I know who’s taking it, but I don’t know what to do. Can you help?

Of course you can try hiding your snacks and marking your food with your name. You might even post warning signs or do tricks like put a blue food coloring in some of it and see whose mouth turns blue. But if you’ve tried some of these things, now it’s time to confront. Here are some ideas: If it’s someone you sort of like, you can say, “I see that you like the same food that I do, and that must be why you’re eating mine. Why don’t you give me $15 each week and I’ll just bring in 2 of everything. Deal?” If it isn’t a friend, yet you think you know who it is, say to that person, “Okay, I hope you’re going to the grocery store this week because here’s the list of food of mine that you’ve eaten that you need to pick up for me,” and actually hand the person a list. Or hand them a bill and tell them this is what they owe you. Even if they don’t pay you, hopefully it will make the person think twice before they take your stuff again.

What a new Facebook Friend Says About Carolyn:

“Hi! I have two of your books and have been getting your newsletters for a long time. You are the best therapist in the world, truly. I wished I would have read Loving Him Without Losing You, and learned that I didn’t have to give up me when I was dating in high school!!

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Denver Life Magazine’s E-Newsletter ebuzz talks about Carolyn:

Love is in the Air

When Carolyn Bushong moved to Denver in 1984, she was single and using some specific techniques for dating. Three years later she found the man of her dreams and has been with him ever since—23 years! What’s her secret? Well for starters, Carolyn Bushong, of Carolyn Bushong Psychotherapy Associates, Inc., is a professional relationship therapist (for both singles and couples) who has been featured on Oprah four times and The View along with having comments published in Cosmo, Complete Woman and First. This Denver-based therapist, who has also authored 7 Dumbest Relationship Mistakes, Loving Him Without Losing You and Bring Back the Man You Fell in Love With, offers a counseling program for both singles and married couples. Denver Life asked her some candid questions in honor of a month when many have love on their minds (especially on February 14th). Here’s what she had to say.....

DL: Who are your clients and what are they hoping to achieve when they come to see you?

Bushong: “My clients range in age from 20 to 60, but are mostly in their 30's and 40's. They are mostly successful career women and men—probably 60% women and 40% men. The married men and women usually have a certain situation that triggered a fight that they have repeatedly and never resolve or are unhappy in their marriage and have been for a long time. Sometimes they know why and sometimes they don't know for sure what caused it. My single men and women come to me trying to figure out why they haven't been successful in their relationships and seeking ideas about how to date more successfully.”

DL: How do you view the Denver dating scene/market?

Bushong: “The Denver dating scene is highly competitive. There are many young professionals in the downtown area and many middle-agers in the Cherry Creek area. I see both never-marrieds and divorced. Many singles in Denver feel discouraged and frustrated when it comes to dating. My clients say it seems to get harder and harder to meet someone they really like even though there are more ways to do it.”

Bushong’s latest ebook, How to Play the Dating Game is oriented toward women (but some men find it helpful too) and offers advice for women on how to deal with the men who are only seeking casual relationship so that they don’t get their hearts broken. For more information and to contact Carolyn, call 303.333.1888 or visit www.carolynsays.com

How to Play the Dating Game:  And When to Stop Playing the Game by Carolyn Bushong

How to Play the Dating Game:
And When to Stop Playing the Game

Learn how to make a man want you by rejecting him, the Dating Game: The program, how to handle the situation and how to know if he’s the right one.

  • Quiz: Does Your Dating Style Leave Something to be Desired?

  • The Dating Game: What to Do

  • When to stop playing the game

E-book (Instant Download) $19.95


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Should Sandra Bullock Be Dating?

(Information given to Life & Style Magazine for their story on this topic.)

When should someone start dating after a break up? And should they wait longer after a really bad break up? Should Sandra Bullock be dating Ryan Reynolds this soon? {See Carolyn’s quote in Life & Style on this topic.}

Certainly Sandra Bullock and others like Elin Woods, Tiger’s ex, have some things to think about after being married to, and trusting, their cheating men:

  • Why didn’t I see it?

  • What were the red flags I missed?

  • Am I too nice and trusting?

  • Did I give him too long a leash?

  • What does all this say about my choice in men?

  • Do I now have trust issues with all men? And should I?

  • How do I process my anger and embarrassment?

  • What would I do differently if I had it to do over?

These are all the issues that need to be evaluated and processed, and of course it’s best to do this with a therapist.

“Should I start dating or just work on myself?” is the question most recently divorced men and women ask themselves. Of course you need to work on yourself after a divorce instead of getting involved in a new relationship, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be dating. In fact, it can help if you go out and meet other men, as long as you promise yourself not to get involved.

Supposedly, Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds are just friends and hanging out together consoling each other through their divorces. One of my Denver clients did the same thing with a friend after her divorce. They went for a weekly hike together and it provided her with a distraction as she was trying to get over her husband and his new girlfriend. I had to keep reminding her, as her therapist, not to just replace her husband with this man, since it’s an easy thing to do. I told her to look at him carefully, faults and all, before she decided to get into a romantic relationship with him. She’s glad she did, as she soon realized that he had a serious alcohol problem and was financially irresponsible. You could say that she used him or that they used each other, like Sandra and Ryan may be doing. We hear a lot about “interim relationships,” meaning that if you hook up with someone too soon, it will probably end because you’re not ready yet. And it’s true.

It’s dangerous to “fall” for someone immediately after a divorce, as you often have blinders on. He may look really good to you in comparison to your ex, but, trust me, he will have other issues you will have to deal with. Sandra Bullock needs to be sure she gets into her next relationship with her “eyes wide open,” and doesn’t just fall for the next man who comes along. So, if you’re recently divorced like Sandra, date for fun and be sure and work on yourself before you fall in love again.

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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 more than15 years. She has been helping people like you improve your life and relationships for more than 30 years. Cosmo, US Weekly and other magazines quote her expert relationship advice, and McCall’s named her one of the “Top 6 Passion Doctors” in the country. 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 23 years.

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How to get Carolyn Bushong's Relationship Advice:

Individual Counseling: l hour or ½hr sessions in office or phone, Health Insurance covers a portion. Couples Counseling: 1 ½ hr. sessions, Health Ins. covers a portion.
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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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