August 23, 2019
Technoference & Cheating
How can you reduce the negative effects of technology on your relationship? And how can you move on and rebuild after you’ve cheated on your partner? Jess and Brandon share their thoughts in response to listener questions.
Oftentimes when we ask something of our partner, we need to begin with ourselves. Before you try to convince your partner to put down their phone, ask yourself if you need to do the same. Even if you allow it to interfere to a lesser degree, every time you’re on yours, they’re likely to pick up their own.
And when it comes to cheating: you can move on and have a happy relationship after an affair. Begin by taking responsibility, getting help, tracking your progress, and making space for negative feelings and interactions.
Please see some rough notes below…
How do I get my wife to put down her phone?
Great question! Oftentimes when we ask something of our partner, we need to begin with ourselves. I was working with a group of couples the other day and one group was complaining that their partners were always on their phones checking emails and working. They were really chastising them and the message was, “oh we’d have more sex if you didn’t work so much and you’d put down your phones”. This was directed specifically at entrepreneurs, because this was an entrepreneur group who brought their partners to my session. But then the entrepreneur group turned around and reminded their partners that they too are almost always on their phones — they’re scrolling through feeds, updating social media, reading articles — they may not be working in the paid sense, but they’re still allowing technoference to interfere in their connection.
So before you try to convince your wife to put down her phone, ask yourself if you need to do the same. Even if you allow it to interfere to a lesser degree, every time you’re on yours, she is likely to pick up her own.
Technoference is becoming the norm in relationship. Research shows that the mere presence of a phone detracts from concentration, presence, connection and trust. In one study, they compared interactions in three scenarios: phone on the table, phone in your pocket and phone outside of the room. The third scenario was associated with the highest levels of trust, empathy and intimacy.
And it’s not just about distraction. Blue light can interfere with sleep, which adversely affects relationships. The light emitted by phones, laptops and and tablet devices (even when set to silent mode) is “short-wavelength-enriched”, which means that it contains high levels of blue light which interferes with the sleep-supporter hormone, melatonin. When we don’t get a good night’s sleep, we’re more likely to engage in conflict with our partner, less adept at resolving these conflicts, more likely to made poor food choices and less inclined toward sex.
Minimizing technoference can be easier and more successful if you choose specific strategies and roll them out one at a time as opposed to trying to overhaul your entire lifestyle or trying to change everything at once.
I’m going to share some of the strategies that work for my clients, but you don’t have to do them all. I suggest you try one at a time.
1. Have a phone-free dinner. In the past, we didn’t have to go out of our way to take a tech-break, but leaving the phones at home (or in the car if you’re dining at home) is a simple way to ensure that you’re present and connected to your partner — instead of being connected to your 300 “best friends”.
2. Go for a walk, bike ride or drive without using your map app. Technology is grand and can help you to see more relevant places in a shorter period of time, but it can also detract from discovery and the excitement of the unknown. Once in awhile, whether you’re on vacation exploring a new city or simply wandering the streets of your own neighbourhood, opt to leave the map at home (or just keep the app closed) so you can discover new streets, cafes, parks and/or architectural features on your own. Spontaneity and unpredictability are key to lasting, passionate relationships, so the more you create opportunities for impromptu discovery, the more excitement you’ll feel in life and in love.
3. Ban electronic devices for the last two hours of the day. The light emitted by phones, laptops and tablet devices is “short-wavelength-enriched”, which means that it contains high levels of blue light which interferes with the sleep-helper hormone, melatonin. When we don’t get a good night’s sleep, we’re more likely to engage in conflict with our partner, less adept at resolving these conflicts, more likely to made poor food choices and less inclined toward sex.
If two hours isn’t realistic given your work responsibilities and lifestyle, set your own time boundaries and stick to them. Slowly add a few extra minutes each week until you become accustomed to a taking a technology break each evening. I’ve always made excuses for keeping my phone on my bedside table:
I use it as my alarm! Guess what? I have a perfectly reliable alarm clock.
Reading my emails helps me to wake up. Luckily I have running water, which is just as much of a pick-me-up early in the morning.
It helps me to relax at night. I may believe that the phone offers a dose of relaxation, but the science surrounding blue light says otherwise.
Stop making excuses and leave your phone in another room tonight. It may make you uncomfortable at first, but moving the phone out of the bedroom will work wonders for your mood, sleep and sex life. It’s time to break the habit of allowing our electronic devices to be the first and last thing we look at each day.
Don’t blame technology for relationship problems when it’s your behaviour that is ultimately leading to friction, mindlessness and conflict. You’re in charge of how you use your phone, so take control and make changes today if you feel your phone habits are interfering in your relationship or life satisfaction.
I’ve heard you talk about how to get over a cheater, but I’m the one who cheated. She knows and we say we’re working on staying together but I’m so afraid I’m going to lose her.
1. The first step you have to take involves taking responsibility. Acknowledge the wrong without excuses.
Oftentimes people will ask me how they can know if a partner will betray them (e.g. cheat) again and one of the most important indicators involves their reaction to their behaviour. Do they accept responsibility or do they try to deflect blame? The former is more likely to be a good foundation for cognitive and behavioural changes that will result in a lower likelihood of repeating the same mistakes. If you’re still making excuses, you’re less likely to make change.
2. Next, listen to your partner. Give them permission and support to express how they feel and what they think — no matter how outlandish. It’s important to understand how your behaviour made them feel. What are the underlying feelings that you’ll both need to address in order to move forward. Emotional reactions are not universal. One person will respond with anger where another feels extreme sadness, so you need to make an effort to understand their feelings.
3. Get help. You may not need months or years of counselling, but a few sessions with a good counsellor can go a long way. Consider what type of counselling is right for you — Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Brief Solution-Focused Therapy, Narrative Therapy — there are many approaches to consider beyond old-school psychotherapy.
Encourage them to get help too. They have a right to bring up how they feel about past behaviour when it’s bothering them; it is not helpful, however, to fling past transgressions at you during arguments about unrelated topics — a therapist or counsellor can help with this.
4. Track changes. Keep a diary (even point-form will do) of the way you’re working to change the way you think and/or behave so that you can check in and share your progress with your parter.
5. Check in with one another regularly. Plan monthly checkins so that you can talk about how you’re feeling individually and as a couple. Do not wait for tensions to rise before having important conversations.
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This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.
Technoference & Cheating
00:00:05 – 00:05:25
You’re listening to the sacs with dr jess podcast sacks and relationship advice. You can use tonight <music>. Welcome to the sex with dr just podcasts. I’m your co host. Brandon wear here with my lovely partner dr jess. Hey how’s it going. I’m great you. We are happy to be back in toronto this week after a week of work can play and family in jamaica but i unfortunately brought something home from jamaica makeup with me. What’s that dr jess. I brought a little case of i._t. S. what’s not s. It’s itchy tits syndrome. It’s a scientific term the scientific term. I tried to convince the doctor of it. I tried to convince the ultra ultra sinaga prefer of it. I think i tried to convince the chiropractor. It was a thing and no one believes me i._t. S itchy titi syndrome. Do you want to tell everyone why that happened edits while i spend a lot of time in the water i probably spend six seven eight hours a day in the salt water art and i do tricks on paddleboard. She follow along on instagram. You’ll see what she’s talking about. I do it for the graham. I do it for the fans. What can i say i i can tell you that when i do stuff for the grandma and breaking bones and hurting myself for weeks on end not me. I have a stronger core than this guy so i in playing in the lagoon soon and seawater. I had many many <hes> jellyfish. I guess they’re not really stings. Their little bites lights and it’s it’s actually the jellyfish larvae. It’s not a real jellyfish sting. I’ve had those before they’re painful. This is just super annoying where it almost looks like a rash ashoura. This little tiny mosquito bites all over your body and what they do. Is they get caught in your swimsuit so the parts that you’re swimsuit covers in my case this i wear bikini so just the top and the bottom that’s where they get lodged and so if you have a shower in your suit it makes it worse than i did that so anyhow. I’m super super super itchy. Although it’s been coming down i really wanted to try and make up a new term i._t. S rose lead ignited syndrome. It’s true. I don’t know if any of you out there have had itchy boobs. It’s the weirdest weirdest feeling because you’re just scratching scratching and you’re not used to. I guess guys you scratch your balls all the time. Sometimes you got to do a little judgment. You asked for a ball scratcher here for christmas. You’re going to exist and we are back at it happy to be here. Wanna give a big shoutout to you desire resorts and cruises for their ongoing support. We are heading out on a cruise very soon will be heading to niece to begin with and then we’ll be traveling around and we’ll probably be broadcasting casting from the cruise. It’s going to be awesome and definitely looking forward to it. It’s not it’s a hard job because it’s kind of twenty four seven honestly but i can’t complain. It’s pretty fun surprisingly a lot of fun work but <hes> a lot happening on yeah. There’s a lot happening. Hang on those ships. If you do listen and you’re coming on the cruise make sure you come say hi especially to brandon. He loves to be recognised yeah every now and then somebody recognized me. I’m kind of a big deal. One out of every ten million people knows me. I don’t think it’s that high. There are a lot of people on her so today. We’re gonna talk about a couple. The things one is a question that is really relevant to our life. This guy says to me. He gives a little bit of background about his wife about himself and then he basically says. How do i get my wife to put down her phone. Actually he used an expletive in there but i edited it out so he’s really mad that she’s always on the phone and and i think this is a really good question because i struggled with this. I’m completely addicted to technology. You actually addicted okay. I’m a used. The term addicted what i mean is. I’m i’m i’m stuck. I don’t know like i’m stuck in my ways where i’m like. I need to be on my phone or my computer or my tablet. An addicted is one of those words we often use to scapegoat our own behavior because you spend too much time on your phone and i’m not telling you do it any more than i do it because i definitely do. It and i think oftentimes when we ask something of our partner. We need to begin with ourselves so i was working with a group of couples. The other day and one of the groups was complaining that oh oh they’re partners. Were always on their phones. They’re always checking emails. They’re always working and they were really chastising them and the message was oh we’d have more sex with you if you didn’t work so much and if you just put down your damn phones and this was a group of entrepreneurs and their partners so this complaint was coming from the partners and directed specifically at the entrepreneurs nurse but then the entrepreneur group came in and they turned around and said hey you guys are always on your phones to your always scrolling through feeds and updating getting social media and reading articles so you may not be working in the paid sense but you’re still allowing this techno fearance to interfere in our connection and i find this happens in our relationship all the time if it’s late at night and i see you on your phone or get irritated with you.
00:05:25 – 00:10:00
I’m like come on man. Put down your phone but i do the exact same thing. So if i’m i’m on it. It doesn’t bother me but when you’re on it bothers me and that makes me. You know be a little hypocritical. I see that happening and like you said really it’s a it’s. It’s a criticism probably yourself. It’s easy to scapegoat and be gone addicted. I’m not addicted. I get that but i do see certain behaviors that i think we all for for a lot of us fall into you. Use your phone as you’re learning. You’re checking your phone. Your immediately connected. I’ve changed my routine a little bit where the first thirty minutes when i’m awake i don’t check my phone. The only thing i do is i turn on my coffee machine from my ipad but i make a concerted effort not a two but using your ipad to turn on the coffee machine downstairs. I thought you were using google home. I always hear yelling at google well. I don’t think it’s appropriate to yell on the morning of other. People are sleeping six o’clock in the morning. Hey google but i do. I make an effort not to check it for the first thirty minutes and to be more present present with some silly things that i’m doing like shaving. I know that sounds ridiculous but it’s like trying to be more present in the moment which is a difficult difficult concept for me to my mind around in the sensitive to be more mindful when you’re shaving or brushing your teeth. I don’t do it throughout the day but i am making an effort for to just be like okay so this is what i’m doing now focusing on it because the last few months i’ve been really more mindful of time wasted throughout the day now. You’re doing talk soon on time management. I am doing a presentation to my real estate company of the time management and i mean a lot of the information that i present is things that i’ve tried or i do on my own and i’ve just noticed how much time i waste on long social email web browsing and i think on the myth of multitasking. I think that we think we can be doing two things at once but apparently the research shows otherwise is gets really really interesting stuff about the amount of time that you spend on important tasks throughout the day so i made a list of things that i do throughout the day and it wasn’t a comprehensive list. It was a general list when i thought about what i’m working towards him. What i work on throughout the day i realized that eighty percent of what i’m doing isn’t really that urgent doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be done. It’s just not urgent. Terms of progressing towards the goals that i’m working towards and technology isn’t just an interference interfering element lemon. It’s also it’s a distraction and you were telling me the other day about how five minutes of distraction actually amounts to more minutes of distraction or something like that. I can’t quote the survey survey <hes> or sorry the study off the top of my head <hes> who conducted but it essentially was for every eight minutes of work <hes> you’re sort of every eight minutes. You’re distracted. There’s some form of a distraction and not distraction consumes five of those eight minutes from shifting your focus away from the current aren’t task at hand to dealing with the interruption and refocusing back on the initial task because every eight minutes of work because that’s how frequent and a disruption happens only three minutes or actually spent on the task which i found fascinating until i started realizing how much i am distracted erupted well and so we’re talking about here but if we bring it back to relationships i imagine that the same principles would would apply and you know when i think about my hypocrisy hawker sea and not wanting you to be on your phone but then sometimes on my phone. I just want to remind this person you know before you try and convince your wife to put down her phone. Ask yourself if you need you to do the same because even if you allow it to interfere to a lesser degree or a different time every time you’re on your phone. She is likely to pick up hers ars and techno fearance. This is a research area is becoming the norm in relationships and research shows that the mere presence of a phone detracts ex from concentration connection trust presence intimacy and in one study they compared the interactions in three scenarios so in one scenario you have your phone on the table where you can see it in the next you have your phone in your pocket and then in the third phone is actually left outside the room and no surprised the third scenario was associated with the highest levels of empathy intimacy and trust so it might seem like something very simple but the number one thing.
00:10:00 – 00:15:16
I believe you can do for your relationship. In in terms of managing techno is to take the damn phone out of the bedroom. Do not bring it in and you and i have had different periods reids. Let’s say over the last five years where we’ve been really good about this and we have i think reaped the rewards and then we fall into the bad habit of bringing it back in and and i hear people all the time. Tell me oh well. It’s my alarm clock. Please people stop making excuses. Put a dollar in a jar until you have enough dollars to go to the the dollar store and buy an alarm clock because it’s only one dollar court the dollar stores expensive now. It’s more than a dollar to this. This is a totally different gripe from me dollar. The dollar store should just be a dollar but yet i mean take your phones out of the bedroom and i know it feels really weird because you have become accustomed to scrolling and going asleep to you’re going to sleep to your feet and scrolling and waking up to your feet and i know this is a really bad habit of mine because i’ve i’ve been really tired the last little while i don’t know what’s going on with me. I’m trying to get checked out because i i usually don’t need a lot of sleep but usually have a ton of energy but i’m really retired and in the morning i don’t wanna get up and so what do i do. I go get my phone and i turn on my emails and that wakes me up right away and that’s a terrible habit that i need to break yeah i i i would agree with you. I think ultimately were guilty of doing things that we say we’re not going to do but it’s step one is catching yourself and if we can do it fifty percent of the time we’re better off than zero and if we can work our way up to eighty were still better off and you know it’s not just the distraction of cell phones in the bedroom. The blue light actually interferes with sleep which of course adversely affects relationships because the light emitted by phones and laptops and tablets even if you put it on silent mode it’s what they call short wavelength enrich which means that it contains high levels of blue light which interfere with the sleeps reporter hormone melatonin and and when we don’t get a good night’s sleep we’re more likely to fight with their partner. We’re less adept at resolving conflicts. If we do get in a fight were more likely to make poor food. Choices voices. Were less inclined towards sack so it’s this snowball effect so you know one. One thing is to not bring your phones into the bedroom and to model this. If you want your wife to put her down put your phone down and then the next is to suggest having a phone free dinner <hes> to really say we’re taking tech break. We’re gonna leave our phones in the car or in the closet or if you know wherever you are. I don’t care where you put your phone but can you go through dinner without your phone putting your phone away physically physically putting it somewhere like putting it in a drawer. I feel like made a big difference for me. Recently i’ve been taking my phone out of my pocket and putting it in my man bag congratule. The just calls my my immerse. I love when he carries his mercies. Because then i put all my stuff in it and i don’t have to bring one but anyway i had been putting my phone own in there and what i found was that accidentally realized that my stress levels were lesson throughout the day because normally when my phone one is buzzing. I have this immediate like anxiety spike and whether it’s good or bad anxiety in the senate i wanna check with the message from is everything okay everything the on point but not having my pocket but having a close by just removed it from that immediate sensation and then also realizing that hey an hour <unk> went by oh i need to check my phone and working away on my laptop or whatever it is and then you check your phone eric yeah. You’ve got a few messages to get back to you but the world has continued it has not burned to the ground right and when we think about anxiety oftentimes when you have anxiety you try and avoid the trigger and only serves to intensify the anxiety the way you addressing pressing zaidi is by exposing yourself to that anxiety so if you’re afraid that the world is going to end if you don’t check your phone you usually are inclined to check your phone to make sure the world doesn’t end but if you leave your phone for half an hour for an hour for a day for two days and the world still standing your anxiety is a sweijd and so another option shen and something we’ve done in the past is we’ve banned electronic devices for the last two hours of the day so we at one point it was eight thirty pm at one one point nine thirty p._m. And just that you know taking a break right before you go to bed and as you said for half an hour when you get up. I’d love to get it to <music> our when we get up. I know there’s people out there because i fell into this group that are going to say you know i i can’t do that. I’m too many important things going on and yes there are extenuating circumstances stances that require you to respond but most nights or i’m sure some nights you can shut it off and you can even just start there because his i’m. I’m not locking my phone away for a day at this point. I’m i’m lucky if i’m locking my phone away from away from my phone for more than an hour or not responding between the hours of what seven thirty in the morning and nine thirty at night yeah one thing that bothers me is this excuse of oh i can’t write my job is more difficult my businesses more demanding but the ultimate really if you don’t want to put down your phone it’s because you don’t want to you said something to me up months ago.
00:15:16 – 00:20:07
You said we’re not saving babies and to those of you that are saving babies season need to answer your phone or whatever it is that super important life saving lives is what you know what answer your phone. It’s life or death but when you you said that to me i i really took it to heart and i was like you’re right. This is very important what i do but if it needs to wait an hour or thirty minutes or two hours the world will not come to an end and when i started taking that approach i it really changed things for me and i’ve found i. I am able to focus more on being present. Yeah and you know another thing. We’ve we’ve tried and i really have liked this is going for a walk or a bike ride or some sort of exploration with out out bringing the phone without using the map app because technology is gran and can help you to see more relevant places and it can lead you to cool places that you have great coffee and great food but it also detracts from discovery and the excitement of the unknown so once in a while whether you’re on vacation exploring a new city or you’re simply wandering the streets of your own neighborhood. Can you leave the phone with the map app at home and just let spontaneity and unpredictability takeover takeover because these are keys to lasting passionate relationships so the more you create opportunities for impromptu discovery the more excitement you’re gonna feel in life and in love and with your partner and i don’t even know that you necessarily need to leave your phone at home if you’re not comfortable with that. Turn your phone off for those thirty minutes that it’s gonna take for you to get from point to point. Maybe brennan always puts his phone on airplane mode when he’s talking smack about people talk smack about just when we’re messing around and being goofy you’re like oh i got to put my phone mode people to know the stupid stuff i do behind the scenes like the other day when i stuck my face watermelon you know i’ve been itching to tell everybody so so the other day there was a watermelon on the counter and i said to brandon. Who do you think can take a bigger bite out of this watermelon without using their hands. It’s and then as soon as i turned on my camera performer brandon came on and shoved his face in that watermelon with a big bop any hurt his neck and now he’s seeking chiropractic treatment so i feel like you should just re post that video because it was awesome on so many different levels but just to give everybody some context hurt my neck before either recurring i this ongoing neck issue and i’d heard it about a week earlier but like you said suzie turned on that video. It was all or nothing and meant. Did i hurt my neck again gen. My doctor was a urine idiot. He just wants me to post this video because he thinks this video is so funny. Can i just tell you that while we were away for the last week. He was walking around with his phone phone showing everyone the video he was like hey i’m brandon. I’m not that great in person but please watch my watermelon video because it’s so funny anybody who watches the netflix show huge huge in france and that entertainer gad who walks around with the video of how important he is in france. That’s me yes so. The huge in france is a netflix show about a comedian. Who’s a a big name in france but when he comes to the united states to l._a. No-one knows who he is so he’s walking around saying hello. I’m glad that’s his name and here’s a video of me you being so famous so that is brandon with watermelon video. He’s so. I don’t have a magic pill when when we think about phones and techno fairmont’s it’s just a matter of choice. It’s just a matter of conscious choice because if you fall into the mindlessness of scrolling not be mindful and in the moment so i can’t really really tell you how to get your partner to put down her phone but i can suggest how you can model that behavior by either banning electronic devices for yourself before you go to bed waking up for half an hour an hour without any electronic devices not bringing them in the bedroom getting a box where you put your phones during dinner. You’re going for that map free walk. Those are just places to start. Obviously not using it as your alarm. Some people will say i need to read my emails to help. Wake me up and as i mentioned mentioned i fall into this but here’s the thing if you live in north america. You have running water. Most people have running water that i know so we’re very lucky to have running water by the way because is there are other people i know who do not <hes> so running. Water is just as much of a pick me up early in the morning. Some people say they like to scroll through their phone at night because it helps them to relax lacks and you know i believe that the phone offer some dose of relaxation but the science surrounding blue light actually says that it’s interfering with your sleep so let’s stop making excuses. Let’s leave your a phone in another room. Let’s set some rules for ourselves to follow and actually it’s a really good reminder for you and me because we need to keep up the habit and not break the rule of bringing the phone into the room because it it does make a big difference and you know you can blame technology for relationship problems but really it’s not technology.
00:20:07 – 00:25:29
It’s the behavior that’s leading to friction i and mindlessness and conflict because as humans the phone doesn’t control you urine charge of how you use your phone so let’s take control make those changes today way and hopefully you know you your phone habits. We’ll have less of a negative impact on your relationships or agree. So what are we going to do differently. I feel like when when we tell other people to make a commitment i i gotta leave my phone downstairs five to do a better job for me the game changer the last like i said handful of months is just focusing missing my time and being efficient because what end up doing is. It’s eight thirty nine thirty ten o’clock at night. All i need to send out a few more emails this or that. It’s like if i had been more efficient through the just. I’m i do do a lot through the day but i just noticed that it drags on be very refocused for me and that way i can turn the phone off knowing i’ve done everything i needed to do but more importantly if you don’t get it all done if you say you’re gonna stop at eight thirty. Stop at eight thirty and you’ve made that commitment an commitment to me in the past and you’ve broken it of course and i’ve done the same. I have a little more flexibility in my job because brennan works in a field where you know it’s highly competitive additive. His staff is waiting on him. You know people aren’t generally calling the next sexologist if i don’t reply within an hour but you have to also just make that commitment so what time you shutting your phone off tonight nine o’clock tomorrow nine thirty no just kidding the other way around. I actually set the screen time app on my phone which helps a lot too because it it reminds you. It says hey you’ve got five minutes left before your app. Shut down and you can actually shut your apps down and that made a big difference because even if you extend beyond it says. Are you going to ignore your your technological technology. Shut down so you set a limit on your use and then apple reminds as you to stop using it and if you override it they judge you that’s enough. I want to address another topic unrelated to technology but this this person says hey just i’ve heard talk about how to get over a cheater but i’m the one who cheated my wife knows and we say we’re working on staying together but i’m so afraid i’m gonna lose her so that sucks and i’m sorry and i appreciate that you’re being open and honest and looking to work on your relationship relationship and i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again that the world is not divided into just good people and bad people or cheaters and non cheaters. It’s a behavior. It’s something thing that you might have done once or twice or even ten times and it doesn’t mean you have to do it again. I do not believe that you know once a cheater always a cheater because you can absolutely change your behavior and i think the first step really involves taking responsibility so acknowledge the wrong or acknowledge your own behavior without excuses and oftentimes people will ask me how they can know whether or not a partner will cheat again or how they can know if they’re gonna cheat again and one of the most important indicators in my opinion involves involves your reaction to the behavior so do you accept responsibility or do you try and deflect blame and if you accept responsibility than you can make changes but if you wanna just blame someone else. It’s going to be hard to make those behavioral changes because you have no control over anyone else. When you talk about taking responsibility you’re not saying taking responsibility disclosing losing to your partner immediately. Say acknowledging your own behavior internally yes but you probably when you’re apologizing or talking to your partner. Also i want to acknowledge your role in this and accept responsibility because his wife already knows. It’s not like he hasn’t yet. That’s what he say there and then the next piece is is really to listen to your partner. Give them permission and and give them whatever support they need to express how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking. Even if how they’re feeling doesn’t seem very rational even if what they’re thinking seems outlandish. You know it’s important to understand how the the cheating or how your behavior made them feel. So what are the underlying feelings that need to be addressed in order to move forward because everyone’s reaction shen to cheating is different. You might think oh well. I would feel really insecure and someone else might feel something entirely different so emotional reactions just simply. I’m not universal. <hes> you know i might be really angry or someone else might be really jealous and so you want to make space for them to feel what they’re feeling and you can support them mm by really. I think you need professional support so get help. You may not need months or years and years of counseling. Some people do some people don’t but just even in a few sessions with a good therapist or counselor can go a long way and think about what might be right for you because you could. I do cognitive behavioral therapy you do solution focused therapy narrative therapy <hes> there are so many approaches to consider beyond the old school lie early on a couch psychotherapy so go get help on your own and encourage your partner to get help to <hes> and they have a right to kind of bring up how they feel about past behavior when it’s bothering them so let’s say you get over this and you work together and you have a happy relationship in two years from now.
00:25:29 – 00:30:08
Some some of those feelings come back up for them. You know they’re entitled to say you know what i’m feeling angry again or i’m feeling shameful again or i’m feeling insecure. Insecure again and ’cause ’cause emotion emotion is fluid and so they might feel okay for awhile and then not feel so okay now what they don’t don’t have a right to do in my opinion is to fling your transgressions transgression at you during arguments about unrelated topics topics moving forward and this is you know i think we would all be inclined to do that because it hurts when you cheat and so i think a therapist or a good counselor can help them to manage the desire to do this and in addition to seeing a therapist you might find that tracking your own changes ages will help so perhaps you keep a diary or journal even point form of the way you’re working to change the way you think and the way you behave save so that you can check in share your progress with your partner because just because you made this mistake as big and as you know challenging or devastating it can be doesn’t mean that you’re not entitled to self care and to be cared for you. <hes> you probably can’t ask your partner to be the sole support as you work through through this but you know you need to be taking care of two and i think that keeping track of how you’re feeling with some sort of a a journal can help and you’re gonna wanna keep checking in with your partner owner <hes> even let’s say you go to therapy for a few months and you’re feeling better and you feel you’ve moved on and maybe your relationship even improves because of the support you’re receiving i would suggest ask you keep checking in with one another to see how you’re feeling and talk a little bit more openly about probably about your sex life probably about your emotional no connection because usually one or both of those things are involved in in cheating on your interaction with partnerships that have had a partner who cheated. Do you think think most people take responsibility because i don’t think most people take responsibility for their own actions. Initially they find fault in somebody else’s behavior that justifies their decision which probably makes it even harder to overcome initially because it’s like well. I did this because you don’t give me sex or i did this because we’ve been distant or or whatever the excuse is rather than saying yo i i did this. This was my decision. This was my action. Are are you know this is how i’ve made my partner feel and then letting them feel and express it. I feel like the knee jerk. Response is almost like well. I did it because of this well. That’s normal because it’s a self preservation tactic. Nobody wants to say yo. I suck. I screwed up big time but let’s also remember that cheating. Eating is not necessarily the worst thing you can do in every relationship. I know that some people feel it’s the absolute worst transgression but not everybody everybody feels that way you know over the course of a relationship you will hurt one another at times because you’re human and cheating is one way you you can hurt your partner but there are other ways. We hurt one another and let one another down. I’m not saying that it’s okay to cheat and i don’t want to downplay the emotional and practical practical toll it can take on the individual and the relationship but we have created a culture in which eating is the ultimate relationship transgression and i i wouldn’t say that in terms of emotional stress and relationship strife it always is sometimes people come back stronger from i’m cheating. Let me be clear. I’m not suggesting you goad and cheat to improve your relationship. That’s not what i’m saying but i think we just treat cheating as special and especially damaging because there’s so much stigma. Do you think that in those instances where people do come back and repair or strengthen strengthen. Do you think it’s because they’ve been forced to have dialogue about something. That’s really been simmering for a long time and it’s been brought to the surface sure. I think that’s the case in some cases so for example. If it’s about sex it may be your first time speaking openly about sex around your desires around frequency around fantasy around graham proclivities around boundaries that that could be part of it. I also think it forces you to you know rockin with your own vulnerabilities and come come face to face with feelings and with experiences that are uncomfortable and that vulnerability and a willingness to open up and be intimate.
00:30:08 – 00:35:25
I think can can deepen in your understanding and your connections so i hope that i understand that you feel badly. I hope i’m not making you feel badly. I hope that you you know acknowledge and you’re able to move on and and be an even better partner and be more importantly. Be someone that you really like that. You’re really proud of the scent. We have love all done bad stuff. We have all done stuff that we regret and we have again created this stigma around sexual infidelity that is supposedly the worst thing you can do and you know i see people treat each other really terribly sometimes. It’s just the way you talk to your partner. The can be as hurtful but we don’t necessarily early see it as so traumatizing to the relationship and we just keep going so relationships back from cheating all the time. Listen the data suggests. If if you look at an aggregate of <hes> you know multiple studies on cheating over the years in north america. I think the data suggests that twenty four percent of people admit to having cheated i would say the number number is a lot higher than that. We still see that men cheat more than women but women are closing the gap and i do wonder if men are also more likely to admit in survey survey research that they cheat because the stigma is more intense for women and there’s this pressure to respond one way when your partner cheats you know some people feel feel pressure to hide the affair so that nobody finds out because the shame around being cheated on or being the cheater can be as intense as the act act itself. Some people feel they need to break up because they’re ashamed to stay and i think what you really want to examine is what is it you want in life. What is it you want in the long term. Do you wanna make a life with this partner. Do you want to keep this partnership. You know going to love this person like this person like spending time with this person you feel good about yourself with this is person because if you answer yes to all of those things than cheating surmountable again i’m not trying to suggest that people should have carte blanche to go out and and cheat when they’ve agreed not to and then the last piece i just wanna bring up of course is that not everybody wants to be monogamous and if you don’t want to be monogamous and if you find that you are cheating over and over and over again please consider whether or not you really are monogamous. Maybe you would be better off. Consensually non monogamous relationship and i want to be careful not to complete these topics because people often ask me what is the difference between cheating and consensual non monogamy meanwhile the differences consent the informed consent of all parties but if you do find your cheating over and over again this morning i was on global television talking about celebrity relationships and why we’re so affected by what happens in the lives of celebrities and what we can learn from them and one theme is i’ve i’ve seen in celebrity relationships not that well versed but what i see in the headlines is that there are these people who continue to cheat over and over and over again and i’m thinking now why sign up from monogamy if it’s not something that works for you give yourself permission to custom design your relationship in a way that works for you and your partner but and be open from the onset did just make so much more sense to go into a relationship where if that’s what you want that you had that discussion from the beginning because if i was a celebrity and that’s what i wanted to do i feel like you’re just asking to have mudslides lungs at you in the media because you’re going to be constantly doing something that one of your partner you know what i mean that society judges you. Are you talking about cheating or being in an open relationship. <hes> i’m i’m talking about somebody cheating and not being in a consensual non monogamous the relationship but it’s really hard. I think for a lot of people to ask for consensually non monogamous relationship because we have dictated monogamy as default and i think we need to break that down. Monogamy can be a wonderful beautiful thing but it is not for everyone and that is okay and if you look at the data consensually non monogamous relationships are as fulfilling as has long-term as loving as passionate and have basically similar outcomes to monogamous relationships. One is not better than the other but one might be better than the other there for you yeah i just i see people saying well. You know somebody celebrity status you know men or women are throwing themselves at you and like its justification for getting into a relationship with somebody else who wants perhaps a monogamous relationship only to realize that the other person doesn’t and it’s just you’re constantly in the headlines like we’ve. I don’t really to be honest. I don’t really care about celebrity relationships in the sense that it doesn’t impact my life like why do some people get so upset <unk> over what they read in the headlines well celebrity relationships. We were talking about this this this morning. Fulfil a number of important components of connection so when you follow a celebrity celebrity on social media they share what is perceived to be intimate relationship or intimate details so that’s the number one thing it feels intimate because you’ve got a behind the scenes means of their kids in diapers or what they’re eating for lunch or when they’re meeting their sister or something like that so it feels intimate number one number two you have an emotional national reaction to them because they’re attractive or because there’s something alluring about them.
00:35:25 – 00:38:51
So we’ve got intimacy and emotion. It tends to last overtime. You might be following a celebrity celebrity for a year two years three years even longer so we’ve got those three components and then there is a bit of mutual what’s perceived to be mutual support so you might brought by their <unk> products. You might like their post you might comment on their post and so you’ve got those four components of intimacy emotional response lasting assing over a period of time and some perceived exchange of support but here’s the thing it is only one way. They’re not following you you. They’re not having an emotional response to you. You don’t factor in their life so it’s what we call a para social relationship and then we care because as we idealize them. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the halo effect when somebody excels in one area or we admire them in one area. We spread that admiration into other areas so let’s say they’re really funny on t._v. All while they’ve gotta be charming and they’ve gotta be nicer. Let’s say they’re really skilled at acting and they’re really beautiful. We also assume that there are really nice person and they must be great at relationships so we give them this superhuman status and then when their relationships fail we we feel oh my gosh if the superhuman can’t make it work where where do i stand as just this regular mortal being and so that’s part of why people are so into celebrity relationships and i do think we can learn from them as well as more importantly from our reactions to them. I’m not super up on celebrity culture. I got a mini lesson this morning from the pop pop culture expert on t._v. ’cause i didn’t know who miley cyrus is. Husband’s name is liam liam hemsworth and i asked who it was and and she said it’s chris hemsworth brother has who’s worth so i had to do some learning to catch up but i hope this helps a little. I hope you don’t feel terrible about yourself. I hope that you feel good about yourself. Even if you don’t feel good about specific behavior because you cheated to you if you’re listening hopefully you’re listening. Because has you saw the question and i answered so you certainly can work through it. <hes> any relationship hiccup. I think almost any relationship issue can be overcome overcome. I believe the measure of relationship is how you feel about yourself in the context of that relationship yes. Your partner is going to make you feel great at times. They’re going to make you feel so badly at other times but overall. How do you feel about yourself. What is your self esteem like your sense of self in the context of that relationship. I think that’s a good measure. Whether you’re on your first date or you’ve been together fifty years through sony totally cheesy. I feel amazing with you. Thank you. I’m not gonna. I’m very emotional this week so so i’m not gonna say how i feel about you but you know i i was thinking of the song how sweet it is to be loved by. You can sing it because i can’t no i’m not going did to be <hes>. You know. You’re just making stuff up but it feels good to be loved by. You and i hope wherever you’re right. You’re feeling loved by yourself by the folks around you. Thank you for listening. Thank you desire resorts. Thanks babe and we’ll be back next friday with a whole. New episode have a great one. You’re listening to the sex with dr jess podcast improve your sex life improve your life.