What Toxic, Stagnant and Good Relationships Have In Common

By | Committment, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Creating More Passion in Marriage, Great Sex, Healing, Intimacy, Long Hot Marriage, Love, Love advice, Marital Advice, Marital Problems, Romance, Sex, Sexy, Successful Marriages, Todd’s Thursday Thought, Toxic Relationships | No Comments

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I have been writing about toxic relationships. These are relationships where you are negatively affected physically, emotionally and spiritually because of the cruel, self-absorbed, neglectful or dependent behavior of an intimate partner. Stagnant relationships can also affect us in negative ways by leaving us bored, frustrated and less emotionally alive. So what do these 2 kinds of relationships have in common with good relationships? In all three, there is room for improvement.

It is easy to see how the first two kinds of relationships can improve. Maybe the partner who is “toxic” can grow up and become more kind and sensitive, more interested in the partner’s welfare, more engaged and more independent, (maybe with the help of a skilled therapist). The stagnant partners (maybe with the help of a skilled marriage therapist) could learn how to leave their comfort zones and create the passion and excitement they once had (or even more). Now here is the most important sentence of the article. Good relationships can always get better. Think of relationships as any other arena where you need to develop some skills and some aspects of yourself. Professional athletes who are on the top of the game still practice, do drills and learn from coaches. Doctors, psychotherapists and other healthcare practitioners, many of whom have many initials after their name go to conferences to learn more. Personally I recently went to the first of several three-day trainings to learn EMDR, an effective approach to treat trauma. I can always become more effective to help clients towards positive change and eliminate blocks.

Relationships are no different. You and I can always learn how to create more aliveness, more passion and better communication. You and I can always learn how to be more interesting, sensitive and adventurous lovers. I cannot tell you how many formerly toxic and stagnant couples that I have helped to have good relationships stopped the therapy prematurely. The idea they lived by was- being out of crisis is as good as it gets. But being out of crisis and having a good relationship is the best position to launch into an even better relationship. Don’t stay too comfortable for too long. Keep on risking, keep on learning, keep on making sure the relationship is fresh and that you are interpersonally creative. And most of all- keep increasing your capacity to give and receive love to and from your partner! Your relationship can continue to get deeper and more satisfying even through the inevitable ups and downs of life and intimacy.

Seven Steps to Ending a Toxic Relationship

By | Coping, Counseling, Creating More Passion in Marriage, Dysfunctional Family, Family, Family Relationships, Healing, Intimacy, Love, Love advice, Marital Problems, Successful Marriages, Toxic Relationships, Uncategorized | No Comments

Toxic Relationship: Couple Quarreling

1)   Become aware of the toxicity.

To help you asses your relationship, check out my previous blog article.

2)   Write down what you get out of the relationship.  

Is it financial security, intermittent compliments, sex, close relationships with his or her family members and friends?  There are almost always pros to staying in a toxic relationship.  That is what makes leaving so difficult.

3)   Ask yourself how you would like your relationship to really be.  

Find positive role models of relationships you know or even healthy relationships through media such as books, movies, etc.  Create a clear vision of what you would want from a partner.  Get deep into the imagery, the positive emotions and the pleasant sensations AS IF IT WERE HAPPENING NOW.  This is very important because often people in toxic relationships were surrounded by toxic relationships from a young age.  Their psyches and even their neurobiology adapted to these kinds of painful relationships and it starts to feel ‘normal.’  By consistently focusing on your positive relationship vision, you give your psyche and, yes, even your brain, a chance to change and rewire.  You want the positive, nurturing relationships to feel more and more normal and the toxic ones to feel like they don’t fit for you anymore.

4)   Create an exit plan.  

Be willing to lose the good of what you have (see # 2 above) to get something far better that enhances and does not diminish your sense of self-worth.  Make a detailed, reasonable plan and feel empowered by your plan.

5)   As you practice # 3 and the # 4 above- from a position of strength, set boundaries with your partner, friend, etc who is toxic.  

Put out an ultimatum- change or I am going to end this relationship.  Insist on an inner change from the partner who probably needs a good, skilled therapist to assist him or her in becoming more grown up, thoughtful and less self-centered.  Keep your boundaries firm.

6)   If this other person starts making some positive changes, show appreciation and give positive feedback.  

Keep the incentives coming.  If the partner refuses, follow your word and exit the relationship.

7)   Do the grieving and celebrate your self-worth if you need to leave.  

If you stay, celebrate your self worth there as well and enjoy the healthier relationship that would never have reached that point if you had not set those boundaries.

I am here to help whether you are the victim of the toxicity, you are the one who is toxic or if you both are toxic to each other.  Do not settle for less.  Relationships can be a source of good feelings, love and aliveness.

Building Confidence Starts Here!

By | Healing, Relationships, Teleseminar, Thriving | No Comments

quality of life

I want to take just a minute today to talk about negative self-talk…that voice inside of your head that reminds you what you can’t accomplish. Do you ever hear it?

Usually it is expressed as a voice, a thought inside your mind speaking your limits to you. Self-talk sets your capabilities and, in the longterm, defines what you are capable of accomplishing.

Athletes actually talk about it a lot and there’s a good chance you consciously noticed negative self-talk if you’ve ever gone to the gym (or created an excuse not to go). Sometimes it’s expressed as “I can’t” or “that’s something that’s impossible for me.” Other times, it’s more subtle – maybe an excuse for not doing something – “I’ll get that done tomorrow.”

One of the keys to accomplishing your goals is mastering self-talk and generating a positive, in-the-moment attitude that guides you toward success. Coaches, therapists, psychologists – experts in all areas of goal achievement and personal development agree on the importance of self-talk. Positive self-talk is one of the primary traits of successful people in all areas of life – from business to relationships to sports.

The reason I decided to introduce this concept today is because I was invited by Estela Rodriguez-Jebril to participate in an exclusive confidence boosting interview event called: Unstoppable Confidence: Tips, Tactics and Strategies for Loving Yourself To Live a Happier Life.

In addition to self-talk awareness, this event will feature interviews with self-love and psychology experts who will show you how to find balance in your life, identify how your thoughts create emotions, discover self-acceptance, and move forward in your life without worry, stress, frustration or pressure.

I’m also excited because, as a speaker at this virtual event, I can invite you for free!

This is your invitation to attend!

>>>>> Click here to learn more about the speakers, topics and schedule for Unstoppable Confidence telesummit interview series.

I’m eager to share my perspective or confidence with you and I’m excited to hear from the 20+ experts who will be sharing their insights. Click here to register for free and I’ll see you there!

>>>>> Click here to register! 

Todd

P.S. Yes! This is a completely free event! Register today to secure your “seat” at this virtual confidence-boosting telesummit.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself if You’re in a Toxic Relationship (and TODAY’S free teleseminar info below)

By | Cheating, Coping, Counseling, Dysfunctional Family, Infidelity, Marital Advice, Marital Problems, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Marriage Problems, Relationships, Toxic Relationships | No Comments

3 Ways - Relationship

If you find yourself feeling consistent pain in your relationship, you need to investigate where the pain comes from. Does it come from your past and you are being triggered?  Is your partner mistreating you, controlling you, abusing you or neglecting you?  What do you need to take responsibility for and what responsibility do you need to punt over to your partner?  Some partners who are in unhealthy toxic relationships take the blame way too quickly and make excuses for their partner.  Here are 3 questions to ask yourself if you are in a seemingly toxic relationship.

1) Do I feel better about myself when my partner is not around and if I do, is it because of me and my issues or him (or her)? If you dread seeing your partner, it may be because your self-esteem is lowered in his or her presence.  Now, we cannot make this too simple; every situation is different.  For example, you may be around a really good person and you may not feel you deserve him or her and feel inadequate.  That is not a toxic relationship.  But if you take a look at it and decide that you feel less than okay because of your partner’s treatment of you, then I would follow that up with question # 2.

2) How can I change my behavior to challenge my partner and see if he or she has the potential to shift to healthier patterns?  Sometimes it means you need to be more assertive or possibly get more support from friends and family. Change yourself first and see what happens.  If you discover your partner is unwilling or unable to shift, here is another good question to ask yourself:

3) If you leave the relationship, what might your life look like and feel like one or two years from now?  Does it feel freeing?  Find ways to motivate yourself to take the courageous step to leave and of course you want to learn how to attract a different kind of partner in the future.

Remember that I am always here to help (live or via Skype) because these shifts in yourself and/or your relationship have a much better chance of happening when you have professional support.

TONIGHT’S NO-COST EVENT:

Do you know ANYONE who is experiencing the pain of a recent or even not so recent infidelity? If you or someone you know is dealing with this painful issue, I have a free call coming up that can definitely help you (or whomever) get on the path of healing and recovery.

What happens when partners cheat?

Partners cheat for a variety of reasons in a relationship…

An important thing I do is to help people do is decipher the message of the affair. Once we understand the message, we can look at possible solutions that make sense to help the couple heal and rebuild their relationship.

On this call I’ll cover the 5 things you need to know in order to recover from infidelity:

  • What makes people cheat
  • How to begin the healing process
  • How to get the trust back
  • How to go from surviving to thriving as a couple
  • How to prevent infidelity in the future

I’ve had a 90% success rate helping couples recover from infidelity so you’ll definitely want to join me for this call. I’ll share my sure-fire tips to prevent infidelity happening the first time or again.

Register and join me live for the call. Ask me your questions, you’ll be totally anonymous.

When Partners Cheat

Free Call

Thursday May 7th

7:00pm PT | 8:00pm MT | 9:00pm CT | 10:00pm ET

Sign up here and you’ll get the phone number and access code. Don’t worry if this date doesn’t work for you, I’ll be sending you the recording of the call.

 

F-R-E-E Teleseminar on Healing and Thriving After Infidelity

By | Cheating, Healing, Infidelity, Marital Problems, Marriage Problems, Relationships, Teleseminar, Thriving, Todd’s Thursday Thought | No Comments

cheating

Do you know ANYONE who is experiencing the pain of a recent or even not so recent infidelity? If you or someone you know is dealing with this painful issue, I have a free call coming up that can definitely help you (or whomever) get on the path of healing and recovery.

What happens when partners cheat?

Partners cheat for a variety of reasons in a relationship…

An important thing I do is to help people do is decipher the message of the affair. Once we understand the message, we can look at possible solutions that make sense to help the couple heal and rebuild their relationship.

On this call I’ll cover the 5 things you need to know in order to recover from infidelity:

  • What makes people cheat
  • How to begin the healing process
  • How to get the trust back
  • How to go from surviving to thriving as a couple
  • How to prevent infidelity in the future

I’ve had a 90% success rate helping couples recover from infidelity so you’ll definitely want to join me for this call. I’ll share my sure-fire tips to prevent infidelity happening the first time or again.

Register and join me live for the call. Ask me your questions, you’ll be totally anonymous.

When Partners Cheat

Free Call

Thursday May 7th

7:00pm PT | 8:00pm MT | 9:00pm CT | 10:00pm ET

Sign up here and you’ll get the phone number and access code. Don’t worry if this date doesn’t work for you, I’ll be sending you the recording of the call.

How to Spice Up Your Relationship; Add Some Naughty to Your Nice

By | Creating More Passion in Marriage, Great Sex, Intimacy, Long Hot Marriage, Love, Love advice, Marital Advice, Marital Problems, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Relationships, Sexy, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Even if you have the sweetest, most tender relationship, it is possible that one or both partners feel there is something “missing”. They might not be able to name it exactly, but something feels not entirely satisfying.

Having seen many couples in this situation, I’ve discovered the most common issue.

More often than not, what’s “missing”, is the spice of being naughty.

We are complex, sexual beings that enjoy a full spectrum of sensations and emotions. To have only sweetness is to limit ourselves from our full expression.

So, how do you add some naughtiness? Watch this video and get some ideas on how to spice up your relationship tonight!

How Porn Really Affects Relationships

By | Creating More Passion in Marriage, Dysfunctional Family, Great Sex, Intimacy, Long Hot Marriage, Marital Problems, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Marriage Problems, Porn, Pornography, Relationships, Sex, Successful Marriages, Toxic Relationships | One Comment

Todd - Reasons to Have Sex

This is my last piece on porn for this month’s theme.  I am a marriage and sex therapist, as you know.  I am open-minded, relatively liberal when it comes to sexual matters and I live very much in the gray.  But I work with people daily who are having relationship challenges.  When porn is being viewed regularly, it becomes a negative force the great majority of the time.  When it comes down to it, porn just does not seem worth it.  Now, there are exceptions; I have worked with couples where porn has enhanced their already dynamic and connected sexual relationship.  It is just one more way the couple plays with each other.  However, far more of the time, there is secrecy, shame, disconnect, regret and guilt; definitely not a potpourri of pleasant feelings!

Worse yet, I have seen wives traumatized by the partner’s use of porn, possibly due to her own beliefs or early childhood issues.  I have seen compulsive porn users have porn interfere with their health, their work and most definitely their marriage.  So, for most of us mere mortals, it is better to become aware of what drives this behavior and find healthier solutions.

As I have said recently, porn often leads to secrecy where the man acts and feels like a guilty little boy when caught. This mother/son pattern is destructive to healthy attraction and sexuality.  If a couple wants to use porn, I say by all means enjoy it; however, get educated, be aware and for sure- be transparent with each other.   What I have seen far more often is that when a partner ceases to use porn, his (usually it is a his and not a hers) willingness to be a sexual initiator and sexual responder with his partner significantly increases.  When one closes all solo sexual exits, it can help push the person to have that duet sex which may require more work, more attention and more flexibility but can be far more rewarding.

One more thing I would like to let you know about:

You are worthy of love, happiness, and a beautiful life. Today, I’d like to give you the chance to listen in on one of the most transformational conversations on love and happiness that I am a part of this year.

My friend, Cole Bombino, an international Self-Love Coach and Yoga Teacher, has invited me to the The Self-Love Secret! The Self-Love Secret is an incredible special collaboration of experts who want to support you.

Cole asked me and over two dozen others (authors, speakers, thought leaders and experts on love) to join in on a conversation that will show you exactly how you can create a life filled with confidence, freedom, and loving relationships this year using out greatest tips to cultivating self-love and trust.

The Self-Love Secret

And guess what, I’m inviting you to join The-Self Love Secret for Free : http://theselflovesecret.com/ToddC

You’ll get special access to some of our lifetimes greatest leaders chat about cultivating:

  • Confidence
  • Happiness
  • Freedom
  • Loving Relationships
  • And MORE!

If this resonates with you, I encourage you to listen in. There is no better mission than the one to spread love.

This is our gift to you. Say yes to yourself, and join me for this transformational free event. Your life is sure to shift into that love you have always known was possible.

Play a Sexy Game with Your Partner

By | Creating More Passion in Marriage, Great Sex, Intimacy, Love, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Relationships, Romance, Sex, Sexy, Soulmate, Todd’s Thursday Thought | One Comment

This is recycling of a previous Thursday thought. I chose this one because I feel that it is very important to be playful and adventurous with your partner.

Sexy Game

 This weekend, play a stripping game with your partner.

Come up with some trivia questions what you each believe your partner has at least a chance of knowing the answer to.

Make sure that you know the answer.

If your partner answers the question right, you take off an article of clothing.  (Make sure you have enough articles of clothing to make the game last a while).

If your partner gets the answer wrong, he or she has to take off an article of clothing.  What you do when one of you is totally naked is totally up to you!

And one more thing I would like to let you know about:

You are worthy of love, happiness, and a beautiful life. Today, I’d like to give you the chance to listen in on one of the most transformational conversations on love and happiness that I am a part of this year.

My friend, Cole Bombino, an international Self-Love Coach and Yoga Teacher, has invited me to the The Self-Love Secret! The Self-Love Secret is an incredible special collaboration of experts who want to support you.

Cole asked me and over two dozen others (authors, speakers, thought leaders and experts on love) to join in on a conversation that will show you exactly how you can create a life filled with confidence, freedom, and loving relationships this year using out greatest tips to cultivating self-love and trust.

The Self-Love Secret

And guess what, I’m inviting you to join The-Self Love Secret for Free : http://theselflovesecret.com/ToddC

You’ll get special access to some of our lifetimes greatest leaders chat about cultivating:

  • Confidence
  • Happiness
  • Freedom
  • Loving Relationships
  • And MORE!

If this resonates with you, I encourage you to listen in. There is no better mission than the one to spread love.

This is our gift to you. Say yes to yourself, and join me for this transformational free event. Your life is sure to shift into that love you have always known was possible.

Here’s to Getting the Love You Want!

 


Five Ways to Keep Porn from Damaging Your Relationship

By | Communication, Creating More Passion in Marriage, Great Sex, Long Hot Marriage, Love, Love advice, Marital Advice, Marital Problems, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Marriage Problems, Porn, Pornography, Relationships, Sex, Sexy, Successful Marriages, Toxic Relationships | One Comment

keep porn from damaging relationship

Those of you that are reading my blogs regularly can see that in the month of April, I am writing about porn and its affect on relationships. It is a “juicy” topic that evokes a lot of reactions in people. Today, I will list the 5 ways to keep porn from damaging your relationship. First, I want to include much of what I wrote in last week’s blog as a prelude to my list.

I am a sex therapist. I do not believe that we should demonize the shadowy sides of our psyche including our collective desire to view porn. The porn industry is doing just fabulous and probably will continue to flourish. Here is the problem with porn. Life and committed relationships in particular beckons us to grow up. Growing up involves discriminating– including what we focus on and what we put in front of our eyes. I am all for enjoying porn with your partner if it is a mutually agreed upon venture. Being a prude does not make for a good sex therapist or a good lover.

However, let’s put our relationship first. Let’s do the harder thing and share our fantasies with our partner. Let’s decide to be big people who can discuss the tough, uncomfortable subjects and decide as a couple WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT. Secret porn leads to shame, a parent/child dysfunctional pattern and even porn addiction. In addition to putting your relationship first, put your emotional wellbeing first.  If one let’s porn pull him in, what he is focusing on is not leading to the emotional and spiritual development that one can achieve in life.

If porn is used by the couple as dessert, that is fine. When porn becomes the sexual entrée that is problematic especially when done in secrecy. Discriminate what you put in front of your eyes and be careful with porn if you do utilize it in your sexual relationship with your intimate partner.

Here are the 5 ways to prevent porn from damaging your relationship:

1)    Treat porn like getting food at McDonalds or Jack in the Box. It is easy, convenient and quick; however, it can fill up your stomach with non-nutritious food and make healthier food (that also can taste real good), less desired. Personally, I eat at those places if I am in Banning on the way to Las Vegas or if I am in a real pinch for time.  Otherwise, I will take Whole Foods any day!

2)    Appreciate the way your neurobiology works. If you continually expose yourself to porn, your neural pathways in the brain will get accustomed to that stimulation and possibly could make your ability to enjoy natural sex with your intimate partner decrease.

3)    Make your connection to your partner more important than immediate gratification. As long as this is your priority, porn will not be the damaging influence if this were not your priority. What we decide to value, we put our energy, focus and attention on.

4)    Find creative pursuits and make sure that these pursuits (or your work) are something that feels compelling to you. I have seen over and over again that when people find their life’s passion and go after it, they are less likely to delve into addictive type behaviors including compulsive porn watching and masturbating. Boring lives can be a risk factor for going after this type of instant gratification. (You do not need have an addictive type personality in other areas to get hooked on porn. Its easy access and powerful neurochemistry effects can hook a person who does not have an overall addictive nature).

5)    Understand, accept and embrace the flawed human sexuality we all have. Most if not all porn depicts the sexual characters as amazingly easy to arouse, to have orgasm and to do “it” for hours on end. In real life, sex can be a beautiful way to focus on the inner and outer beauty of ourselves and our partner with all our flaws- pimples, cellulite along with a whole lot to learn about sex. Myths of sexuality that lead people to feel very judgmental, a need to perform well and feel inadequate can be supported by porn. Challenge this societal ignorance by reading about what healthy sexual attitudes, expectations and behavior are out there. One of my favorite books I recommend to men is “The New Male Sexuality” by Bernie Zilbergeld. There is a lot of other excellent material out there as well. Also, check out some relevant blog articles on my website- www.toddcreager.com.

How to Porn-Proof Your Marriage

By | Cheating, Committment, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Coping, Intimacy, Love, Love advice, Marital Problems, Marriage, Marriage Advice, Marriage Problems, Porn, Successful Marriages, Toxic Relationships | One Comment

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My attitudes have changed through time about porn.  I would never say I am “anti-porn” but I would say I am against a porn-centered sexuality for anybody. So, even though I do not take an extreme position on this subject, I like where my heart and mind is going regarding this challenging area of life.  This comes from years of experience with couples as well as my own relationship.

I am a sex therapist. I do not believe that we should demonize the shadowy sides of our psyche including our collective desire to view porn. The porn industry is doing just fabulous and probably will continue to flourish. Here is the problem with porn. Life and committed relationships in particular beckons us to grow up. Growing up involves discriminating– including what we focus on and what we put in front of our eyes. I am all for enjoying porn with your partner if it is a mutually agreed upon venture. Being a prude does not make for a good sex therapist or a good lover!

However, let’s put our relationship first. Let’s do the harder thing and share our fantasies with our partner. Let’s decide to be big people who can discuss the tough, uncomfortable subjects and decide as a couple what we want to do when it comes to our sexual practices including the use of porn. Secret porn leads to shame, a parent/child dysfunctional pattern and even porn addiction.

In addition to putting your relationship first, put your emotional well being first. If one let’s porn pull him (or her) in so that it becomes too much of a focus, it is not leading to the emotional and spiritual development that one can achieve in life.

If porn is used by the couple as dessert, that is fine. When porn becomes the sexual entrée that is problematic especially when done in secrecy. Porn-proof your marriage by:

1)  discriminating what you put in front of your eyes and give your precious energy to and

2)  decide to be brave and open up with your partner (and hopefully vice versa)  (NO SECRETS!)

If you need help with this problem, I can help. Feel free to contact me so that we can make sure that porn does not infect your committed relationship. I will be writing more on this topic in the near future!