December 2016

Inside this Newsletter:


Message from Carolyn:

Happy Holidays! Weíre having cooler weather down here in Tucson (60ís & 70ís), but I hear itís snowing a lot in CO and other places around the country. I picked up a funny holiday card that says on the front, ďItís 80 and sunny somewhere,Ē and inside it says, Oh yeah, thatís here. Happy HolidaysÖ..there.Ē I do love still having my flowers in bloom at Christmas time, being the avid gardener I am. We did put up a tree this year, but Christmas does seem weird down here after being in Colorado in the winter so long. And so does women wearing boots in the 70 and 80 degree weather.

No matter which side you were on, I think weíre all relieved to have the election over! I was so tired of the nasty ads and accusations.

Sorry I havenít sent many newsletters lately, but weíve really been enjoying our time down here this fall and winter. Iím enjoying being semi-retired. I am still conducting phone counseling on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays though, but have more time to have fun. Alan is playing golf 3 times a week, and Iím still going to karaoke, gardening, and lots of lunches with friends. Alan & I both had birthdays recently, and had dinners with friends. Weíre going to the casinos (they give veterans free rooms) and gambling. Not that this is fun, but weíve had bobcats relaxing in our backyard, seen one rattlesnake (on the other side of the fence) and a 4 foot bull snake in the yard.

Weíre spending the holidays down here. Both our families are doing well. My mom and sister are pretty healthy at this point. My great nephew, Cameron, 15, just created a computer game and got tons of internet hits on it. Our 4 Ĺ year old grandson is now in nursery school.

I will have a new website some time in January. The website lady insisted that I do a real photo shoot for the website. You might have noticed my new picture on the newsletter and the one below of me and Alan (taken in part of our backyard).

Hope youíre having a great holiday! Instead of holiday tips this year, I decided to concentrate on couples creating healthier relationships by negotiating fair deals. See my article below appropriately titled: ďThe Art of the Relationship Deal.Ē Also see the Q&A: ďAm I Suffocating Him?Ē Have a great 2017!

Carolyn

The Art of the Relationship Deal

Why does it seem like couples often constantly bicker? We had friends visit recently who continually bickered over things in front of us. She kept telling him that the details in his stories were wrong and he kept telling her that she shouldnít smoke. I finally interrupted and said, ďWhy donít you both make a deal to have the other one stop treating you that way? She can stop interrupting and telling you youíre wrong, and he can stop nagging you about smoking. Then youíll have a win/win deal.Ē They thought it was a great idea. But they would never have thought of it themselves. Couples donít seem to know how to resolve issues by making deals. They think they just have to put up with it the way it is. Negotiating what I want in exchange for what you want is so simple. Nagging each other will never change a thing except cause you to resent each other which damages the relationship long-term.

Negotiating Fair Deals ( excerpts from my book Bring Back the Man You Fell in Love With, pp 83-94)

A healthy relationship is not based on one person winning and the other losing, but instead on compromise; that is, both people win something in the deal.

Mutual respect is necessary for compromise, because it's difficult to compromise if you don't have respect for your mate's right to a different point of view. Differences are part of what attracts us to our mates. Donít try to change them, just negotiate a fair deal.

There are times you may want to agree to disagree. When you agree to disagree, you make a pact not to let this difference upset your relationship.

There are other times when one of you should simply give in, letting your mate know it will be his or her turn to give in next time. Because couples are so used to fighting for their own point of view, they seldom remember to look for a compromise, a deal that's fair for both of them.

Once you get into the habit of compromising

to find a solution, you have a model for all future problem solving. The two of you can become so adept at negotiating that when facing an issue, you both automatically think, "Let's handle this the way we
handled that last problem. Deal?"

Five Steps to Successful Negotiations

  1. "I feel _______ when you ."
    Tell him or her what you're feeling about the behavior.

  2. "I want ___________."
    Tell him or her clearly what you want.

  3. "Will you negotiate this with me?"
    Get a commitment from him or her to agree to negotiate with you.

  4. "Let's make a deal: you do _______ and I'll do ______."

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Q&A: Am I Suffocating Him?

Question:

Several months ago, I decided to make some changes in my life. I lost some weight and changed my hair color, etc. My husband of 11 years (20 altogether) didnít handle it well. He got very upset and jealous because I made a bunch of new friends too, so he decided I was cheating, which I wasnít. He was screaming and yelling and calling me names, and so one night I just decided I would see what I was missing. I was sort of attracted to this one man and went ahead and had sex with him. And of course, in the last four months, Iíve fallen for him. I now realize there were issues that Iíve always turned a blind eye to with my husband, so I filed for divorce. The problem is now that the new guy says he doesnít want anything more than a friendship. I think he feels overwhelmed with me because Iím a fly by the seat of my pants person and donít play games. So I tell him how much I care for him. But he is hot and cold with me, and I get hurt. I know Iíve read in your writings that people should not chase and should sometimes pull away when people donít reciprocate their feelings, but I donít want to. And what if he pulls away more if I pull away? I canít remember why you recommended pulling away. It doesnít make sense to me. But if you think it will help, Iíll try it.

Answer:

The fact that he is hot and cold since you filed for divorce is not unusual. People who date someone who is married often have intimacy issues of their own. They often date someone who is married so they wonít ever have to commit to a relationship again. I think that you getting a divorce and becoming available has scared him, especially when youíre telling him how much you care. First of all, I recommend that people go slow when meeting someone new, which you have already rushed it. Going slow means donít text or call every day, see him once a week at the beginning, etc. So now that you have chased him, you certainly do need to pull away. I know you donít like to play games, but you donít understand that when you are too available, people devalue you and lose interest. You are being ďtoo easy.Ē And Iím not just talking sex, but that too. When someone is too available and caring when they donít know us that well, we think they arenít important and are just desperate. But you can change this. It will be hard because you sound addicted to him. You need to tell him that you know you guys have rushed this and that you need to slow down. Then give him time to miss you and do other things like see your friends and tell him you are busy. Any time he is being cold, pull away for at least 5 days and/or until he warms up and starts chasing you again. And yes, he may not chase you. But if he doesnít, then heís really not that interested and it wasnít meant to be.

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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 McCallís named her one of the ďTop 6 Passion DoctorsĒ 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 29 years.

You can find articles by Carolyn on her website and Examiner.com.

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