Internet affairs

By David Joel Miller

Are internet affairs real affairs?

Cheating

Cheating
Photo Courtesy of Flickr (deanhatescoffee)

The internet has changed the way we interact with others forever. Social media, Blogs and member sites have opened up new possibilities for connecting with others. It has also resulted in a whole new set of conflicts for couples. Internet created or maintained affairs are one such problem.

The way in which one partner in a relationship uses the internet has serious implications for a couple’s relationship. The mental health profession is still sorting out the effects of internet issues on relationships. One area that is particularly troublesome is how far is too far when it comes to interacting with members of the opposite sex.

Some of the questions being asked are:

When does talking to others online slide over into a virtual affair?

Is it really an affair of they never get together and exchange bodily fluids?

Does it matter if the person you are talking to is real?

Can you fall in love with an avatar or someone that never exists outside the internet?

The internet has altered the affair landscape and has created a whole new set of problems for couples and families.

In the past affairs required two people to meet in real-time and space. The major places were affairs occurred were between two people who were working together, someone you might meet if you were out at a bar or things that might happen when a person was away from home for an extended time. So in the past either there was a high chance that the non-affair party would find out or might know the affair partner. Otherwise the affair would be a brief occurrence while one party to a relationship was away from home.

The internet has made it easier for people to meet, and to continue interacting with each other. It has opened up the possibilities for affairs for those who were predisposed.

The internet has also blurred the line on what constitutes flirting and when has it crossed over into an affair.

In person people are often deceived every day. The deceptions are different in kind and in magnitude from, the deceptions that are occurring on-line.

While someone in the bar may represent themselves as single and really be married, the online deceiver can misrepresent their gender, age, appearance and life story. People can and do fall “in love” with fictional characters that turnout to not be real people.

If you or your partner has had an internet affair, that does not need to spell an end to your relationship. What you need to do is to talk this out and find ways to be sure it has come to an end and that it is unlikely to happen again.

Marriage counseling can help med a damaged relationship before it becomes permanently broken. Sometimes individual; counseling is also helpful in helping the affair partner to understand why they did what they did. It can also be useful to help the injured party cope with all that anger and hurt.

If you think that you could use some help with internet usage issues or affair behavior issues please contact me and we can talk about how counseling might help you get through this situation.

Besides the posts here on counselorfresno.com you will find over a thousand other posts on the topics of mental health, substance use disorders, life coaching and life hacks on our sister blog counselorssoapbox.com

For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is here at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is at http://www.counselorfresno.com/recommended-books/

 

 

When life throws you a curve

David Joel Miller

David Joel Miller
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Life Coach

Sometimes life throws you a curve.

When you are dealing with emotional problems counseling can help.

Relationships are under pressure these days. Families struggle with many crisis, financial and career issues, affairs, poor communication or drug and alcohol problems.

Whether you are having problems in your relationship, difficulty with a child or family member or the loss of a loved one, therapy may be just what you need to get through this troubled time.

Counseling does no need to take a long time or be expensive. Going to see a therapist does not mean you are crazy, losing it or “Mental.” Not looking for help may be the foolish thing to do.

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, I am here to help you with emotional problems, relationship issues and the emotional part of those career changes and financial issues.

Feel free to contact me for an appointment to discuss these things that are bothering you and to see how counseling may be able to help. My services are covered by some insurance plans. For those things not covered by insurance or if I am not on your companies panel, a sliding fee schedule is available for those who need help but are financially challenged.

Sometimes as little as one or two sessions can help you get back on track. For those problems that need more time and work we can set up appointments on weekly, bi-weekly or whatever  schedule best works for you.

If life has given you challenges, why wait any longer to start creating that happy life you deserve?

For more about my counseling, therapy and coaching practice here in Fresno California and my background please check the “About us” page.  For those of you outside Central California watch for a book due out later this year on getting back on track after life knocks you down.

 

Besides the posts here on counselorfresno.com you will find over a thousand other posts on the topics of mental healthsubstance use disorderslife coaching and life hacks on our sister blog counselorssoapbox.com

For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is here at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is at http://www.counselorfresno.com/recommended-books/

Will your internet usage doom your relationship?

By David Joel Miller

Is the internet destroying your relationships?

Internet addiction

Internet addiction
Photo courtesy of Flickr (mandiberg)

Relationships seem to be in danger of extinction. Is it possible that the internet, or more precisely the way you are using the internet, is dooming your relationships?

Treatment for internet related mental and emotional problems is in its infancy but these issues are already bringing people to the counseling rooms and coming up in family and couples counseling.

The nature of relationships, romantic and friendship relationships, continues to change. More couples are choosing to live together without being married. More than half of all marriages now end in divorce. Many people come to counseling reporting “trust” issues and difficulty making and keeping friendships and romantic relationships.

In writing this post I have been extra mindful to avoid describing a particular client or couple I have seen personally. All these issues have been described in research articles and have occurred repeatedly in one form of other. Any examples are fictionalized or composite examples.

Here are three ways your internet usage may be impacting your real world relationships.

Internet addiction.

There does not need to be a drug for an addiction to develop. Anything that alters brain chemistry in a highly rewarding way can result in a process or lifestyle addiction. People get addicted to the rush of risk taking and to the turn of a card. They can also become addicted to the excitement of the online game or the virtual world.

If you or someone in your life is spending way more time online and less and less on real interactions with fellow humans than you may be developing an internet addiction.

We see this in online gamers, social media addicts and related activities.

Online addiction is not simply a preference or a hobby that someone enjoys. It becomes a reinforcing activity that people will continue to engage in despite negative consequences.

If you continue your online presence despite difficulties getting to work on time, if you neglect you partner or family to spend more time online you may be developing an online addiction.

Do you minimize your time online to others? Do you hide your usage, get up late at night or stay up after others are in bed? Do you sneak internet usage at work? Then you too may be developing an internet addiction.

Internet usage may distort reality.

Those things online are not real, not in the way we normally understand real. Some people and places exist only in fiction. We used to read books to find out about the lives of people who we wished existed or wished did not exist.

Today with virtual reality people come to life on the screen that never existed. People online can do and be things that could never happen in reality.

This is a particular problem with online pornography. It may be animation or it could be people paid to act out particular fantasies. What is not real is the belief that may form that this is the way many people are acting in the real world.

The internet has created options for people to behave in ways that would have been more difficult in the real world.

Internet sites and chat rooms have opened up an easier route to affairs for people who otherwise might have avoided affair behaviors. The relative anonymity may increase the chances that people will behave in ways that they might otherwise not have chosen.

It has also become possible to order illegal or illicit drugs online that in the past might have exposed people to more risk of arrest.

If you or someone close to you appears to have or be developing a problem with their internet usage consider getting professional counseling. There are counselors and therapists that can help.

In future posts here on counselorfresno.com we will talk about the topics of internet and virtual affairs, real life affairs, the cost of marriage counseling and why you may need marriage counseling even after that relationship is over.

If you are facing a problem, live in the Fresno California are and would like to discuss how counseling might be able to help you – feel free to call the office and set up an appointment. The office number is 559-412-7007. You can also email me at davidmillerlmft@hotmail.com or use the contact me form at the top of the page.

Besides the posts here on counselorfresno.com you will find over a thousand other posts on the topics of mental healthsubstance use disorderslife coaching and life hacks on our sister blog counselorssoapbox.com

For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is here at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is at http://www.counselorfresno.com/recommended-books/

If you are outside the Fresno area, consider checking with a counselor in your area.

There is also a list of books, especially self-help books on the resources page. Work continues on my book which is expected to be released later this year. Stay tuned for more on my books progress.

Here is wishing you all the happy, recovered life you deserve.

The road to success or failure

Do you have a good map?

In a previous post I wrote “Success or Failure?” about the differences in how men and women see success or failure. In a follow up post over at  http://counselorssoapbox.com/ post, another in my series about the Top Ten Men’s Issues is titled “How to Find Success & Avoid Failure.”

Readers of any gender are welcome to read and comment on how you get on and stay on the road to a happy successful life.

Besides the posts here on counselorfresno.com you will find over a thousand other posts on the topics of mental healthsubstance use disorderslife coaching and life hacks on our sister blog counselorssoapbox.com

For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is here at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is at http://www.counselorfresno.com/recommended-books/

Unemployment – the top “men’s issue” these days

Top 10 Men’s Issues – # 1 unemployment.

These days the number one issue that is driving men to counseling is unemployment. If they have a job they are afraid they will lose it. If they are out of work they wonder if they are ever going to find a new job. Some become so profoundly depressed that even getting out of bed and facing another day seems like beyond their ability.

Women certainly face the same issue. The difference is in the way that lack of employment affects them, though the gender gap for depression as a result of unemployment is certainly narrowing.

Men’s self-esteem has been so caught up in the whole “good provider” role that long periods of unemployment can shake a man’s concept of himself as an adequate male. I have had men who could face any amount of danger professionally, break down and cry in the counseling room because of how that lack of work has affected their self-esteem.

Telling them that lots of people are out of work, that they’re not getting the job is nothing personal, just does not ease the pain. They just keep saying they should be able to provide for their families.

One of the hardest things a man can have to say is that he cannot afford to give his children things they need. Most every parent has to tell their kids no some of the time. Not getting everything you want is needed to build character. What pains these fathers is that they are no longer able to provide the things their family has been used to having. They begin to have to take things away. It feels like punishing your family for your failings.

What can you do if you find yourself in this situation?

Work on your depression.

If you have become depressed over the loss of a job or a period of unemployment you need to get help for the emotional part first off. If you are too depressed to get up each day and look for work then you are going to stay stuck in the depression.

Not everyone has access to counseling these days. If you do have that option, make use of it before they opportunity closes. For more on finding help, see my post on 10 Ways to get Emotional help when you don’t have much money. 

Consider all your options.

Can you relocate? Sometimes there are jobs in other places that need your skills. But are you willing to relocate or have to commute? Could you work somewhere else for a while till your situation improved?

Could you switch careers? A career counselor can help you look at other possible careers and the skills needed to move to a new field. Employment Development offices may offer this service and there are online resources.

Reduce expenses any way you can,

Economic hard times can teach us just how much we really need and what we can do without. Too many times I see people wait until they are almost homeless and on the street before they accept that they can’t afford the things they used to expect.

Remember that the time you spend with your family will influence them more than the things you bought them.

Adults mostly talk about the times they spent with their parents not the things they bought them. When I do hear adults say that they feel their parents did not get things for them it is because they saw that parent buying things for themselves and leaving the kids out. Kids understand if you really can’t afford things.

Please don’t hide these things from the kids. They might get the idea that it is their fault, that you can’t afford them. Let them know that these are hard times. Teach them that a family pulls together when times are tough.
This whole discussion assumes that the man is still living in the home with his family. If you are divorced or living apart that creates an additional set of problems.

How do you stay connected to your children when you don’t have much of an income and every penny counts? The topic of what to do when you don’t live in the home is a whole nother subject. Unfortunately lots more men have to deal with both the unemployment and the parenting from distance problems these days.

If you are going through any of these problems consider reaching out for professional counseling, for depression, career choices or parenting issues.

You might also want to check out my post Top 10 Men’s Issues

For more on our counseling and therapy services in Fresno California see the David Miller Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist page at http://www.counselorfresno.com/

Besides the posts here on counselorfresno.com you will find over a thousand other posts on the topics of mental healthsubstance use disorderslife coaching and life hacks on our sister blog counselorssoapbox.com

For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is here at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is at http://www.counselorfresno.com/recommended-books/

Choosing Between Job and Partner

Do you have to pick between your job and your partner?

In these hard economic times people are putting more into their work life and their marriages are suffering. Hopefully you didn’t enter your relationship expecting it to be temporary but a lot of people treat their marriage as if it was a short term position. How do you keep your marriage healthy when the job intrudes?

Your career needs development and nurturing, so does your marriage. The same skills we use to further our career can be used to improve our relationships. Keeping your job skills up to par, working to improve your work relationships may be important but is your home relationship any less important? Do you have the skills to maintain your marriage?

Just because you have a job does not mean you are set for life. Over time that job may go away no matter what you do. Your company can downsize, lay you off or go out of business. Despite that, many people make their job the primary focus of their existence. They stay late at work go in early and generally wear themselves out expecting that if they work hard on the job the job will take care of them. In this modern world expecting to put in a life of work at one place so that you can have the life you want when you retire is becoming a very risky proposition.

Putting your effort into your relationship has its risks. You may be able to put in fewer hours at work. Do setting limits on your work hours really make you less productive? People who have happy relationships a t home report being more productive not less when at work.

Sure you might really try to work on the relationship and still your marriage could fail. But which is the bigger risk?

What happens to your relationship when you are missing in action for extended periods of time? Keeping your relationship thriving requires effort also.

Consider that the unemployment rate in most areas has been around ten percent at the time when the divorce rate is 50%.  Are you risking the happiness of your relationship because you are choosing your job over your family?

The idea that working furiously, sacrificing yourself and your family will bring you financial security is an illusion. Time after time I have seen people give their job their all only to have the company fail and then they lose everything.

It is unhealthy to become so invested in your work or your company that you sacrifice your relationship, your health or your peace of mind trying to win at a losing cause.

Many a man has sat in my office talking about the failure of his relationship and the loss of his job. Most people find a way to make sense of the job loss, they retrain, change professions or relocate, and eventually they find work or a source of income again. Most realize that putting in more time and hours at a troubled company would not have changed the outcome.

What men tell me more often is that they wish they had spent more time with their families. They see now that giving the family more things did not make up for not being there.

Many a man’s greatest regret is that did not spend enough time with their family and they missed out on being a part of their children’s lives. They regret sacrificing their relationship for a job that gave them money but then let them down emotionally.

What we learn from this is not that you should slack off at work or forget about starting that company of your own. When you are at work give it your all. Just be sure to keep your home life and your work life in balance and develop your relationships at home along with the ones you nurture at work.

If the time you need to put in a work is compromising your relationships at home – is there any amount of money that can compensate for the loss of a partner and family?

For more on our counseling and therapy services in Fresno California see the David Miller Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist page at http://www.counselorfresno.com/

Besides the posts here on counselorfresno.com you will find over a thousand other posts on the topics of mental healthsubstance use disorderslife coaching and life hacks on our sister blog counselorssoapbox.com

For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is here at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is at http://www.counselorfresno.com/recommended-books/

Work stress getting you? Is it you or the Job?

Are you falling apart at work?

Is it the stress at work that is causing your depression and anxiety?

So very many people come to me for counseling about their unhappiness on the job.  The problems at work spill over into their life at home. They wonder how much longer they can take it. They don’t know what they will do if they lose this job.

How did it get this way?

Early in your work experiences you look for work. You wonder what you should do, what you can do. Clients tell me they are looking for “anything.” I tell them I have never seen a listing in the want ads for a job doing “anything.”

How did you select that job? Was it something you always wanted to do? Your dream job? Or did you, like so many others, drift into a job because you needed one and then as time goes on you wonder how much longer you can stay on this job. You feel trapped.

Clients tell me that they were told they should take that job. Some relative told them “get it while you can.” Did your family tell you that you were too stupid to do anything else? That you should be glad you got that one?

Lots of people underestimate themselves. They were told that they were stupid or lazy or untalented and they started believing that stuff. They settled for the job they could get rather than pursuing the career they really wanted.

One student in my college class expressed surprise that he got an A. He had been told he was stupid, was not college material. He heard that so often he started to believe it. He had one of the highest scores on the test I had ever seen.

If you doubt your ability you may never try. People, who never try, never achieve. Their dreams pass them by while they settle for something they can do, rather than something they would like to do.

One client recalled starting out on his first job. He was excited to get that one. A cousin worked for a landscape company. The job was putting in sprinkler systems. Lots of hard physical work often in the hot sun. He didn’t have much education; he thought that was all he would ever do.

The years passed. Two, then three children arrived, they lived with relatives and there was never enough money to pay the bills. He grew to hate his job. He hated his life. He drank over his unhappiness. His family fell apart. Still he worked in the sun thinking that was all he could ever do.

We worked together on his drinking problem. We talked about how his unhappiness at work fuelled his alcoholism. He said he didn’t see how he could quit. He quit the drinking but he was miserable. It was the job he was afraid to quit.

One of the more satisfying things I have done in my counseling career was teaching a job skills class in a substance abuse recovery program. Helping people find meaningful, legal ways to earn a living gives them a chance for a new productive life.

Most Professional Counselors are trained to help clients with career development. Helping you find out what your true abilities are. What job would make you truly happy? Learning to set goals that are attainable but reflect your inner goals and values is something a career counselor can help you with.

What would make you happy in your work life? For some people they want to move up in the company they are in. To do that they need to work on themselves, get more training or education. Please do not say you are too old to go back to college. The community colleges in my area are full of people in their mid and later life who are back in class learning new work skills advancing their careers and are ready for a new exciting and productive phase in their life.

Other people are sure they do not want to stay where they are. They may need help in polishing up their interviewing skills or their self-confidence.

If you feel stressed out at work, seriously consider if you have settled for a job instead of the career you want. A good counselor can help you learn to manage your stress but they can also help you explore yourself and see if you just might be capable of a whole lot more than you have given yourself credit for.

If you live in the Fresno or Clovis area of central California consider meeting with me to explore your work stress and the possible career options. If you live outside that area check your local listing for a professional counselor who has experience in “world of work” counseling.

David Miller, LMFT, LPCC

Besides the posts here on counselorfresno.com you will find over a thousand other posts on the topics of mental healthsubstance use disorderslife coaching and life hacks on our sister blog counselorssoapbox.com

For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is here at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is at http://www.counselorfresno.com/recommended-books/

Are your feelings controlling you?

What role do feelings play in your life?

Do feelings help and improve your relationships, make you happier and more productive? Or are you like so many others constantly tripped up by negative destructive emotions?

Excess negative emotions can undermine all your efforts to have the life you want. Not being able to express how you feel is a major factor in couples having an unhappy relationship.

Not feeling feelings results in a joyless, unhappy life and may deprive you of just the insights and intuition you most desperately need.

For more on the topic of feelings and the role they play in success and failure see today’s post at counselorssoapbox.com   “How many feelings do you feel? The feelings problem.”

Besides the posts here on counselorfresno.com you will find over a thousand other posts on the topics of mental healthsubstance use disorderslife coaching and life hacks on our sister blog counselorssoapbox.com

For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is here at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is at http://www.counselorfresno.com/recommended-books/

Counseling helps the small business person

Don’t neglect the emotional side of your small business.

Being in business for yourself today is as difficult as ever. Makes sure you don’t neglect the role emotions, yours, your employees, your families and your customers, play in making your business successful.

You can spend money on advertising and marketing but if your work leaves you drained and depressed you won’t be at your best and your business won’t reach its full potential.

The majority of personnel problems many companies faces in the workplace have their origins at home. An employee who just had a major fight with a spouse and is worried about their relationship is not going to produce at peak performance. Neither will the boss.

Large and medium size companies have learned that the money spent on an Employee Assistance Program is a sound investment in keeping employees emotionally healthy and productive. Small business owners are just beginning to learn that money spent on counseling and coaching for the owner and his family is a sound business investment also.

Strategic planning for your business should include not just the production and the marketing plans but the emotional costs and benefits. Is this really the company you want to build? Or have you gotten trapped in a treadmill trying to keep more and more activates going without looking at what your real personal and business goals are?

Is your time at work stressing you out? Do you take your work home so much that you are sacrificing your relationships to make your company grow? Is all that effort really moving you towards your long term goals and are those goals consistent with your values?

Recently there has been an increase in business owners who come for counseling or coaching sessions recognizing that to perform best at their work they need to be clear on their values and goals. It is important to learn the skills needed to manage the manager’s stress.

If you have begun to think that your business can’t function and grow without taking over your outside-of-work life then it is time to seek professional help for personal growth, problem solving and learning additional life skills.

If you have problems at home with your relationship or children don’t use work as a way to avoid facing those problems. Solving those problems, improving family communication will make you a more effective family member and a more effective business manager.

Going to work in a bad mood can result in a manager who is curt and rude with customers and staff. Make sure you spend as much time and effort on nurturing your mental health as you do in maintain your psychical health.

There are more ways to measure success than by the bank balance. But from the experience of those I have worked with in my practice, happy business owners who are excited to go to work every day, have more profitable businesses.

Is your work life taking an emotional toll on you? Could you use some help in sorting out your goals and activities and becoming more productive and happy. Would learning some stress reduction improve you life’s performance?

You don’t need to wait until after the emotional breakdown to look for a counselor you can work with. A little preventative maintenance for your emotional health goes a long way toward making your business more profitable and your life in and out of work happy.

If you have questions about how counseling or coaching services might be able to help you and your company, please contact me.

David Miller, LMFT, LPCC

Besides the posts here on counselorfresno.com you will find over a thousand other posts on the topics of mental healthsubstance use disorderslife coaching and life hacks on our sister blog counselorssoapbox.com

For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is here at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is at http://www.counselorfresno.com/recommended-books/

Men’s issues.

What are men’s issues?

Are men’s issues in counseling really that different from women’s and children’s issues? A lot more men have been calling me for therapy recently. Specializing in Men’s issues was not something I had planned on. While I still see plenty of women and children in the counseling room, the calls from men have been increasing.

What exactly are men’s issues and how do they differ from other issues?

Check out my blog post at counselorssoapbox.com titled Top 10 Men’s Issues

If you or a man in your life might be interested in working on one of these Men’s Issues please contact me and let’s see what we might do to help you have the happy life you deserve.

Besides the posts here on counselorfresno.com you will find over a thousand other posts on the topics of mental healthsubstance use disorderslife coaching and life hacks on our sister blog counselorssoapbox.com

For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is here at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is at http://www.counselorfresno.com/recommended-books/