Episode 117 | May 22, 2018

Couples Communication, Trust, ​and Infidelity with Idit Sharoni


A Personal Note from Orion

Infidelity can happen even to the best relationships. And yes, it is possible to recover the relationship even after such a betrayal.

It’s scary to think about, but if you are prepared and have a desire to put in the effort, you can face these problems head on and maybe even prevent them from invading your relationship.

My guest, Idit Sharoni, is a marriage and relationship expert. Her interview on this week’s Stellar Life podcast episode is full of tips and tricks you can use to reconnect with your partner.

If you are in a place where there is something missing in your relationship, or you and your partner are having a hard time connecting, you need to listen to this episode.

About Today’s Show

‏‏As a love coach myself, I enjoy talking to other coaches, psychologist, therapists, and I love the idea of communication. I love talking and teaching about how to be better together and how to attract your soulmate and all that and so I invited a wonderful person today to talk about couple’s communication. What I was not really aware of is that she also deals with infidelity and how she helps couples recover from something like that. As for me, it wasn’t really in my consciousness, this whole idea of infidelity—I just got married 1 ½ year ago—and nothing like that even crossed my mind. It was a little bit alarming but it’s also good to be aware of whatever can happen. You can cherish what you have in a relationship. In this episode, we talk about how to improve communication, what happen when normal couples—and she said something that really surprised me—was that she said, “Usually, it’s the couples that you would not believe something like that would happen. It’s the people that love each other and have a good relationship. Then something happens and somebody cheats.” It is scary but I guess this is the reality. It’s good to know how to cherish what you have, what it’s like to make your partner feel enough, so they don’t feel the urge of going with somebody else. Also, if something like that happens, it’s good to know that it happens, and this is life, shit happens. I hope that if it happens to you, your relationship is strong enough to survive it. Sometimes it’s good to build a new path out of what doesn’t work anymore. We talk about lots of things. We even talked about polyamory, and dating other people, open relationships, and all that. Of course, we talked about monogamy and how to keep your relationship juicy and alive. My guest, Idit Sharoni is a relationship expert and a licensed marriage and family therapist in Miami, Florida. She loves helping couples in committed relationship who desire step-by-step plan to strengthen their relationship or to rebuild trust and heal after infidelity. I am very excited to bring you to listen to that. If you’re in a place where you’re having a hard time with your partner or there is something missing, listen to this episode, and I really hope it will help you. Now, without further ado, onto the show. Hey, Idit. Welcome to Stellar Life Podcast.

‏‏Thank you. I’m happy to be here.

‏‏I’m so happy that you’re here. One thing we have in common, we are from the same original place. We’re both from Israel, that’s pretty cool. We have a similar accent.

‏‏Yeah.

‏‏Yeah, it’s so cool. Before we start, why don’t you just share a little bit about yourself and why you do what you do?

‏‏Sure. I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and I’m the owner of a boutique private practice for couples in Miami. I specialize in affair recovery, in communication issues, and in lack of desire or drifting apart between couples, all of those. I would say that I really love working with couples that are in committed relationships and who are in desperate need of help to save their relationship or heal after infidelity. That’s what I do. That’s what I love doing, actually.

‏‏What brought you to do this? Did something happen that made you think, “Oh no, I want to help couples,” or what made you have that desire to help couples?

‏‏I guess therapists are divided into two groups, those that something happened to them, and they just want to go back to their own traumas, or things, and fix and help people from their own experience. The other half—or maybe I don’t know if it’s a half or maybe less of the half—where it’s people that didn’t go through anything traumatic that is specifically connected to what they’re doing. I guess, for me that’s where I’m at.

But if anything happens to me, thank God. I am in a very long-term relationship that I would say I think is a wonderful relationship. I come from that place. If I’m going to try to tell my friends, “Oh, you should do what I do. It really works great for me,” not at all. But I come from a place where I’m in long-term relationship, I know what it’s like, I know all the issues, the problems, and the fears, and what can happen when you’re with the same person for a long time. I’m coming from a place of knowing but I also come from a place of knowing how to get over things and how to I guess make lemonade sometimes when we have lemons. That’s where I’m coming from.

‏‏What do you think is the main obstacle that people are encountering in their relationships?

‏‏I think that the main thing usually from what I see from the cases that I handle is drifting apart. I would say it’s something that we don’t even pay attention to until we hit rock bottom or until something happens. Usually people will not come to me and say, “Oh, we drifted apart,” usually they’ll come and say, “Oh, my God. There was a huge fight,” or, “We can’t stop fighting,” or they’re going to say, “We’re thinking about divorce,” or they’re going to say, “We had infidelity.” All of those are just symptoms usually of some kind of drifting apart that was happening before that nobody paid attention to. I guess that’s the main thing for me.

‏‏Let’s start with the worst—what I think is the worst—which is infidelity. I can’t even imagine being cheated on with my husband. We are in such an amazing relationship, we’re very much in love. If somebody does that to me, this is the final frontier. If somebody went with somebody else, this is like the depth of the depth of the pain or in suffering that somebody can have in a relationship. How do people deal with that?

‏‏They are shattered, so many times I have to pick up the little pieces of what’s left of a relationship and put them all together. It is shattering, it is life shattering, it is horrible. I haven’t seen one couple that took it lightly. It’s not a coincidence. Today in the modern relationships, we’re not going to meet a lot, we put all the eggs in one basket when we choose one partner. When that partner goes and cheats on us, it’s all of a sudden, “Oh my god. The whole basket is gone. What are we going to do?” We don’t even know ourselves anymore, we don’t know our partners anymore. It’s like the whole world revolves around that partner and now when they betray us, it’s like our whole world is shattered. That’s in a nutshell.

Today in the modern relationships, we’re not going to meet a lot, we put all the eggs in one basket when we choose one partner. Click To Tweet

‏‏First, do men cheat more than women or is it the opposite?

‏‏It used to be more men than women. But now we are closing the gap rapidly. More and more women are betraying in the last few years and it has a lot to do with women going out to work. We are connecting this phenomena with the fact that women are more active in work places and meet more people.

‏‏Yeah, more equal. It’s easier if you suppress a woman and keep her at home, she’s just cooking, and taking care of the children, and in her “right place.” She will never go. Life changed now, women speak up, women are in positions of power, and the temptations are everywhere especially now that we are with the Instagram, Facebook, and there is this ideal of perfection, ideal of beauty. The gap between what people expect and what they have at home sometimes is very big and they feel like they don’t have enough, they feel lonely, and they go and look somewhere else.

‏‏There are different reasons to why people cheat but mostly they can be divided again into two.

‏‏Sure, yeah.

‏‏Sometimes it is about the relationship. If something is going on in the relationship that is making the person go outside, and sometimes it has to do with the person. The person who is going outside the relationship, something that they need to find out about themselves, something that is personal. That’s actually a very small number but we tend to think that most people are like this. But sometimes it isn’t coming from personal disorders like something that the person has within themselves that they can’t really change or something that happened to them in their childhood, some had a trauma. But again these are very, very small numbers. Usually it will be something that has to do with their relationship, something that is missing in a relationship—by the way, even when something is missing in the relationship, this could be a very good relationship—we tend to think, “Oh, he cheated on you, you probably don’t have sex or there’s probably a real big issue in your relationship.” No. Most couples that I see, it’s not about that. There is something going on that the person is not maybe happy with or maybe is not even aware that they’re not happy with, but it doesn’t have to mean that the relationship is not good or that there’s a major issue in a relationship.

There is something going on that the person is not maybe happy with or maybe is not even aware that they’re not happy with, but it doesn’t have to mean that the relationship is not good or that there’s a major issue in a relationship.

‏‏What are some case studies and reasons why people did that that you came across?

‏‏I’m having so many cases running through my head right now. Sometimes it will be a really good relationship, nothing’s wrong with their relationship. Let’s say the person started a friendship with someone. In the beginning, the friendship was a very supportive friendship. Somebody all of a sudden talks to you at work and they’re saying, “Hey, you’re really great. I love that how you said that or how you did that, I really like that.” You knew how you kind of feel good about yourself, “Oh, that’s nice that somebody noticed.” This person is really becoming someone who is constantly giving you positive reinforcements. Then you say, “Hey, let’s go for lunch,” or you start talking to that person, maybe not intending to have an affair or anything like this, it starts as a friendship. But then at some points, if you continue this type of relationship while at home with your husband or with your wife, you are not sharing the same information, you are not self disclosing like you would with the other person. It’s easier to self-disclose with people that maybe support us a little bit more than what our spouses do, than how our spouses do. If this equation is happening at home, you’re not self disclosing as much or not at all, and outside with that person you are self disclosing because this person is just simply more supportive, then there’s a chance that a slippery slope would happen and you’re going to end up in an affair. This is all the couples that come into, “I don’t know how it happened, I didn’t mean for it to happen.” This is one case that I can think of, there is many, many, many more.

‏‏Yeah. I think it was a few months ago, I went with my husband to a conference. There was this lady who always talk to him, always looked to him like—he’s an expert in SEO—and she was excited about his technical knowledge. But it was something more than that, I was looking at her body language, I was looking the way she was talking to him. We walk together and she looks at him, she smiles at him, she ignores me, and I’m like, “What’s going on? He’s with his wife and she’s flirting with him.” That’s not cool. For me as the wife, I felt very irritated, I didn’t know what to do about that. What would you suggest?

‏‏First of all, unfortunately, there are people out there that are looking for relationships that they are not supposed to have and there’s not much that we can do about them. But there’s a lot that we can do about our relationships. I don’t want to ask you specifically about what you did but I think it’s worth mentioning it, and talking about it, and being open about it. I guess in our society, we tend to think that jealousy is really bad and you should keep it to yourself because you’re going to look so bad if you’re jealous. I don’t see jealousy as necessarily a bad thing as long as it’s in its limits. I believe that it’s worth mentioning, “Hey, did you see this woman? Did you see her body language? How come that she made me feel a little jealous?” Just talking about it lightly and making sure that your husband paid attention to it because sometimes you are oblivious to those things. Just make sure, “Hey, I’m here. We’re the couple and she’s an outsider, just making sure,” kind of thing.

‏‏Yeah. I’m Israeli, I’m very direct, and I I told him exactly what I was thinking about it, and how I am very annoyed. He was like, “No you’re just imagining. It’s nothing happened,” then we meet again and he offers her a book to sign and she’s like, “Oh, let’s take a photo together.” She hugs him. It’s always like it’s so annoying. My husband is very faithful, very kind, very sweet, it’s just he wants to please everybody. I’m like, “Hmm.” I feel like a guard dog, I don’t want to feel like that. I don’t want to feel like that jealous wife.

‏‏I think that that’s something that I guess our society kind of—when I said our society, not so much the Israeli, I would say it’s more of the American-type society—where we tend to think that being a jealous wife is really, really bad and you should stop doing that immediately, that if you do feel jealous, just hide it as much as you can. Whereas I think a little bit differently. Jealousy is a very natural part of relationships. It is there so you might as well talk about it. If it goes to the extreme where you put a GPS on your husband, that’s when I would say, “Hmm.”

‏‏Oh, wait, I have to take out the microchip I implanted in his neck. Okay, I’ll do it.

‏‏Yeah. But the good-old jealousy, I don’t see anything wrong with it as long as you share it, as long as you can talk about it. I think it’s healthy, but I do.

‏‏I feel better about myself now, thank you. I appreciate you. I want to go into the more when something does happen. I bet for everyone, people don’t expect it. Probably 90% of the cases people are like, “No, it will never happen to me. We are good together.” How do you help couples heal? Do people really heal from that or do they just say, “Okay, I’m okay with that,” and they keep the relationship, and move on, but have this bitterness in their heart. How do you heal something like that?

‏‏I’ll answer the first question.

‏‏Did I ask too many questions?

‏‏No, no. The first one is the shock. It’s shocking. My message to people—and that’s not my message to people that come into my office that already experienced infidelity. The message that I’ve sent to them is very different—but the message I send to people generally is please don’t think that infidelity is something that can never happen to you. Because if you believe that, then you are in La La Land. We know that at least a third of every couple experience some kind of infidelity, and this is what we know. There are a lot of cases where we don’t know because that’s like a taboo, nobody talks about it.

Please don’t think that infidelity is something that can never happen to you. Because if you believe that, then you are in La La Land. Click To Tweet

‏‏Yeah, nobody talks about it.

‏‏We know those that go to therapy but how about those that haven’t? We think that anywhere between 30%–60% and maybe even 70% of relationships experience some type of infidelity. It’s anywhere between having an online affair where the couple never meets, or watching porn, all the way to having a full-blown affair story. It’s really prevalent. This is not something that doesn’t happen to me. I would say please, if there’s anything that you take from today, don’t think that it can’t happen to you because you have an amazing relationship or because you have an amazing wife or husband. It happens to amazing relationships and it happens to amazing people. I am the witness of meeting these people on a daily basis. The times that I met couples that I’d said, “Oh, wow, you probably thought it was going to happen,” is probably a very, very small percentage. Most of the couples that I see are great couples in really good relationships and are great, honest people. You can find it to anybody. I would say just think about that, and stop taking your relationship for granted, and your spouse for granted. Do something to make the relationship, check in with your partner, and see what’s going on more often than you think. That is my answer to the first question. Now how do people heal? Do people heal? Surprisingly, most couples do stay together after infidelity. I think most of the people that I know, I’m talking about friends, they said, “Oh, I told my husband that if he’s going to cheat then that’s it. We end the marriage. I’m not going to be there anymore, forget about those types of things.” But then when you look at research, you actually see that most couples do stay together after an infidelity. If they do the right thing, then they end up sometimes even happier with a stronger relationship then they had before.

‏‏What’s the right thing?

‏‏The right thing basically, if you go through the healing after infidelity, there are three phases. The first phase is the crisis, the shock phase, this is where all the emotions are heightened, this is where you want to divorce, this is where you hate, this is where you love, this is where there’s a lot of conflicting emotions, your trust basically is not existent. There’s a lot of things that are going–it’s a crisis. But this is a phase and if you go through the phase doing very specific steps, then you’re able to get to the second phase where basically after you’ve been through the crisis, you go through a re-attaching type of phase where you learn to talk about the things maybe in a different way than you did in the crisis phase. You communicate, you learn how to communicate differently. Then you also learn to ask questions that give you an answer to why all of this happens to you. This is highly important because sometimes you go, “I don’t even know why, why did this happen?” I have a few couples that came in years after the infidelity and they still ask, “Why did you do that?” Then if you go through that stage, you can get to the third phase which is the rebuilding up the relationship or like a restart of the relationship. This is where you open a new chapter in your relationship. What most people do—usually if they don’t go to therapy or if they kind of try to do it themselves—is they skip phase one and two, and they rush to phase three, and they say, “You know what? It happens, there’s nothing we can do about it, I can’t change the past, let’s just forgive and forget, let’s put the past in the past, and let’s start a new chapter.” Sounds great. Especially if you are the person that was betrayed because you feel like, “I’m in such a”—can I say a bad word?

‏‏You can say.

‏‏Okay—“I’m in such a shitty place right now that all I want is to start a new chapter.” They kind of make themselves forgive, forget, or whatever they think it is, and they move and they start a new chapter. Quickly enough they find out that they can’t really do that because the emotions, and feelings, and all the other stuff that was going on before is not going anywhere and sometimes even becomes worse.

‏‏Because it’s like putting a band-aid on a really bad wound. It won’t work, it needs some healing. You need to experience the pain, you need to experience the emotion, you need to go through it. There are no shortcuts. Because if you do the shortcut now it’s going to bite you, how does it bite you in the rear?

‏‏Right, exactly. But even if you do experience and sometimes people do let themselves cry, yell, and scream, it’s not enough, it’s not enough. There’s really a lot of work that you need to do as a couple in order to get to that place where you say, “Okay, restart button.” Before you go through all those, I wouldn’t suggest doing it.

‏‏Idit, what are some of the steps you give people to work on it as a couple?

‏‏The steps that I’m talking about are normally steps that either we do in therapy. I’ve been working on an online course for couples because not everybody wants to do therapy, not everybody is willing to face another person and tell them what happened, I get that. Some people, when they read a book, because there are a lot of self-help books out there, and some of them are amazing, and they really give you the steps, but I think that it’s not as helpful as having someone explain it to you and tell you how to do them. This is my kind of idea was to create an online course where I talk to people, I explain all the steps, and I give you all the materials, and it really becomes somewhere between a self-help book and a therapy session without the therapist being right next to you.

‏‏Do you have some steps you can share now with the audience?

‏‏Sure. I would say that the first thing that needs to happen is some kind of remorse expression from the betrayer.

The person that stepped outside of the marriage—even if it’s not a marriage—outside of their relationship, has to become the strong person that’s going to save the relationship.

They need to first understand it, we need to understand that right now you have to be strong and you have to become the soldier that basically does whatever it takes to heal this relationship. It’s going to take a lot. One of the first things that you have to do is express remorse. I’m saying express remorse because I don’t want to say, “Say sorry,” because a lot of people tell me, “Oh, but I said sorry. I said it so many times.” Saying sorry is not enough. There’s a whole process of expressing remorse in a way that can be accepted by the hurt partner. I would say that that’s one of the first steps in the first phase. Then maybe another step which would be in the second phase is asking the right questions. It’s not my idea, it’s an idea from a wonderful, amazing therapist in New York City, her name is Esther Perel, she’s very famous, she has TED Talks and a book—

‏‏Esther is my friend. I actually spent time at her house in SoHo a long time ago. I saw her speak.

‏‏You must know how amazing she is.

‏‏Oh, she’s incredible. I saw her speak in the Bulletproof Conference last year. She is extraordinary.

‏‏She is. She talks about interrogative questions versus investigative questions. She says—and I believe she’s absolutely right because I experience that in my practice all the time—what the betrayed partners tends to ask questions that give them images that will never leave their mind or are just going to cause trauma. They want to know, “Where did you have it? Which positions? How many times? Did you go to this restaurant or that restaurant? Did you go to this hotel or did you do it in our house?” They want to know specific details because that’s our nature. We want to have an image of what happens. She calls those interrogative questions, like an interrogation. What she says is that the answers to those questions leave more damage than good because personally you have images that you will not be able to erase from your mind forever. Second of all, they don’t give you any information as to why all of this happened and what is the meaning of that infidelity in your relationship and your partner’s relationship. She suggests a different type of questioning which is called the investigate questions. These questions are not about details as much as they are about the meaning of why all of this happened. The answers to these questions would give you information, would give you insights. This is what you want to be looking for. This is the why that people always ask, you get answers to why. I work a lot with my couples on how to ask these questions, which questions they want to ask. Sometimes we have a full session of asking the right questions.

‏‏It’s so true, it’s also true in life because everything that you ask, if you ask yourself, “Why am I so stupid?” Your brain will come up with an answer to why am I so stupid and if you ask yourself, “How come I’m so smart?” Then you’ll get answers for that because our brains always want to give us the answer. The qualities of the question we ask determine the quality of our life, determine the quality of our mindset. Also what Esther is doing makes a lot of sense to me as far as—when I work with my clients, I use some neuro-linguistic programming and I do a lot of visualizations. When there is a traumatic event, we take a vivid picture, we shrink it, and we make it in black and white, and we make it as a still frame instead of a movie so that the subconscious mind, the brain remembers the trauma in different way. But when a couple asks each other for details, then they just bring the trauma to the front and it’s bigger, it’s more colorful, and then it’s just overwhelming, I can’t see anybody communicate well having these type of images in their mind or see their partner with compassion and love. Even if they try to communicate, it’s excruciating when you have those images in your mind.

‏‏It is and it sometimes becomes PTSD so people will have nightmares, and intrusive thoughts, hypervigilance, then really have to go through therapy to get those…

‏‏You have to go to therapy for another therapy. Double therapy, yeah. That’s wonderful. I love what you’re doing with couples. Let’s shift gears here, I know that you probably have like 1,000 steps on how to heal trauma. But everything that you shared so far was beautiful and very valuable. For people who are together for a while, let’s say they’ve been together for a decade, I think infidelity—this is just my hallucination—starts after the couple has been together for a few years and they, like you said, take each other for granted, and they drift apart, and they go into their routines, they take each other for granted—not always like roommates because like you said, they can have great sex and all and still cheat on each other. What are some tools for good communication so we are reducing the chances of something like this happening?

‏‏There are literally a lot of rules but I would say start with communicating period. How many times do we go through our days and then at the end of the day we think about—I know I do that sometimes—I think about, “Wow, did I even communicate with my husband today in a meaningful way?” Many times the answer is not really. Not that I didn’t communicate with him, I probably called him and I said, “Hey, did you remember to do this?” Or I would call him, “Did you send this to the tax person?” We would communicate and sometimes we’ll ask how was your day but not in an intentional and meaningful way. If we don’t do that once a day or once every other day, then we are really losing touch with our partners although we are with them in the same house. It’s unbelievable but you can lose touch, you can drift apart without even noticing because the person’s right there, you can watch TV and not be in the same world. I would say that’s probably the main thing.

‏‏Something that my husband and I learned from Harville Hendrix—who’s the creator of Imago Therapy which I highly praise, and believe in, and I think it’s amazing—is that every night before we go to sleep, we tell each other three things we appreciate about each other. We take those five minutes before we go to bed and we look at each other in the eye and we say, “Hey, I thank you for doing this for me. Thank you for doing this for me, thank you for doing that for me.” Having that is so important. We are looking forward to it each night because like you said, we get so busy, we work, but we get distracted, we get text messages, and sometimes we just go inside our little world and we forget that we are in a relationship with someone that we love dearly and we chose to be with, and we don’t take that time to really be present with them. I think it’s about being present. It’s not always about it’s quantity versus quality. I think even taking a shorter amount of time where you’re really present with the person is better than just being with them 24/7 and not really connect.

‏‏Right. I absolutely agree. I think that what you’re talking about is creating the rituals of connection.

‏‏I like that, tell me more.

‏‏Yeah. [inaudible [00:37:48]. This is from Dr. John Gottman.

‏‏Oh, yeah, I’ve been to his seminar too.

‏‏Creating rituals of connection is very, very important. We do that sometimes without noticing. Everytime we go somewhere and we celebrate our anniversaries or we celebrate birthdays. Everything that is done together, every period of time, everyday, every week, every anniversary,  is called a ritual. When it’s combined with connection, then a ritual of connection is one of the strongest things to maintain a good connection. What you described before you go to sleep is a ritual connection. Kissing in the morning and hello, how many times do people come home after work and we say, “Hey,” and you lift your eyes and you go back to your phone or something. A ritual of connection would be get up, hug, say, “Hey, how was your day,” connecting and doing it every time. That’s a ritual. These are very important, absolutely.

‏‏Yeah. What are some rituals of connection that you can recommend?

‏‏I would say, like I mentioned before, once a day, and like you mentioned, before you go to sleep, greeting—I know that for me, but that fixed in my relationship—I don’t know if it specifically works for anybody else but I’ll offer it, why not? I have followed it for us. When my husband would come home and if I’m home, I would just be very, I don’t know, just mellow and I would be like, “Hey, how are you,” or just, “Hey,” would drive him crazy. It would make the whole evening after sour. “Hey,” he told me, “I don’t know why but I really need you to greet me when I come home,” I said, “Okay, no big deal, I’ll do it.” I definitely make sure to do it and it changes the whole mood. Actually whatever I do, I get up and I say, “Hi,” and I give him a hug, and a kiss, and we talk for exactly one minute. If I’m busy, then he knows, I’ll have to go back to whatever I was doing. But for him, that makes his evening. Why would I not do that? I had a couple that have a really cute ritual which they invented in the session and they kept doing it. They both were teachers, they would be home around [4:00] PM everyday. I said, “What can you do when you come home—”

‏‏Have hot sex. Okay, another.

‏‏They have three kids around the house, I don’t know if they would be able to do that right then and there.

‏‏In the basement.

‏‏Maybe. But they created tea-time. They would come home, they make tea, and they would sit down for 20 minutes just talking about the day. John Gottman actually talks about one of his rituals of connection with his wife Julie and what they do is that every anniversary, they go to the same place where they celebrated their first anniversary, they spend a whole week there in the same room, in the same hotel, and they just disconnect from the world and connect with each other which I think is beautiful. If you do that, that’s amazing.

‏‏Yeah, it sounds really good. It sounds amazing. What are the most surprising rituals you saw people do?

‏‏Surprising rituals?

‏‏Hm-hmm, of connection.

‏‏I can’t think of anything surprising.

‏‏I think we have one, I think we have one. We sometime tend to greet each other like a puppy that greets its owner. Honestly, I’ll come and he will be like, “Baby,” and we will run to each other. Even yesterday in the middle of the street—I’m in Israel right now at my mom’s place. But we are at an Airbnb nearby and we just met in the middle—he saw me from the other side of the street and he started running toward me. It was so freaking cute. We do that, we do that. It’s either me or him. It’s just when you make this extra effort to really show them how much you love them, we love to see those viral videos where the soldier comes home and the puppy is just jumping all over, “I’m so crazy and happy to see him.” I would actually recommend, greet your partner like a puppy, like a super excited puppy with a really short-term memory like the puppy forgot that he saw his owner that morning, but he sees its owner again and he’s like, “Oh!” You could be each other’s owner, it’s not a power play. It’s just like every time you see your partner, whoever you are, the man or the woman, or the man or the man, or the woman or the woman, whatever it is, just greet your partner with tons of excitement and tons of love even if it looks silly, even if you think to yourself, “What am I doing?” It’s so much fun. When he does that, he makes me feel really happy. When I do it to him… Last night when we said our gratitudes I was like, “Oh baby, when you did that in the street and you went toward me, I felt like I was in a movie. It was so cute. I appreciate you so much for doing that.” It’s silly but it’s so great. It’s so great. It’s okay to not take ourselves so seriously.

‏‏Exactly, exactly. But every couple is different, some are more comfortable with being silly and stupid next to each other and they have no problem. Others are more reserved and that’s okay. Do whatever works for you, for your relationship, but don’t avoid rituals of connection because you feel like that would be so stupid to do that or the other thing. Just choose the ritual that works for you if you’re not a person that likes to be silly next to your partner, then do something more serious, it’s fine, just do it.

‏‏I would add get out of your comfort zone and do the things that you’re not comfortable doing with your partner. Push the limits in reality and also in the bedroom. Allow each other to explore things, be open, take a course about sexuality and sensuality, learn new things even if you think you know everything. I think the most important thing is the awareness and the focus on, “I want to make my relationship better everyday,” just like you brush your teeth everyday to keep them healthy, you want to take care of your relationship everyday so your relationship is healthy and vibrant, full of passion, full of love. Don’t wait for the other person to do something for you, be the change you want to see in the world. If you want your partner to change, you need to change, you need to bring the passion. Instead of just waiting for him or her to do this for you, bring it, bring it, and come up with all kinds of creative things, and learn from people like you, and learn from people like the Gottman Institute, Esther Perel, whatever information there is out there, consume it because we’re not born knowing how to have relationship. The only model we have for relationships is what we see in the movies and that’s bullshit, that’s not real. You have to either go to an expert, or learn from an expert, and make sure that just the way you have to learn about how to manage money, to make money, you have to learn about how to manage your mindset because it does not come natural to you, you have to learn how to be organized. Nothing in this life is a raw talent, you can learn everything in relationship like everything else is a skill.

‏‏Amen.

‏‏What do you think about polyamory or open relationships?

‏‏What do I think about it?

‏‏Is it healthy?

‏‏It depends on who it’s for. Is it healthy for a couple who is completely not ready for it? Is it healthy for a couple who is not ready for this type of relationship? No. But is it healthy for a couple that is absolutely ready? Absolutely yes. There is no—at least I’m not going to be a person who is going to say it’s good or not good—I think and I’ve seen enough relationships where it worked really great, it still is working. I’ve seen relationships where opening the relationship when they weren’t ready for it, or completely ready, or didn’t really know what to expect and just decided to do it was very destructive to the relationship. I don’t know to tell you if I’m for it or against it. I really am not either. I just make sure that when couples come to me and they say, “We want to open the relationship,” I say, “Okay. Tell me more, tell me why, tell me your thoughts about it.” I find out a lot of information and I make sure that the couple is ready, that it’s not done when one partner wants it or the other one is completely against it. I try to find out as much information as possible and to help the partners be more prepared. Sometimes people are really happy with the results and I don’t have to tell you, there’s a lot of people that talk about it.

‏‏Yeah. How do people know if they’re ready or not? Is there a quiz that people can take online, “Okay, now I’m ready for polyamory.” Like it’s human mind, the human heart, it’s so sensitive and delicate, and sometimes people think they’re ready but then, “No, no,” and they get hurt. How does it all work?

‏‏I don’t know of a quiz or I don’t know if there would be a good point.

‏‏I was joking.

‏‏I think there’s a lot of different cases here. If you are in a closed relationship, monogamous relationship, and you want to transition into an open relationship, then I would suggest maybe talking to someone before you do it because there’s a lot of things to consider. If you’re not in a relationship and you’re looking for an open relationship, that might be easier because you’re already looking for someone who’s in the same mindset as you are. But most couples, when they want to open their relationship, there is the one who wants it more than the other person. Sometimes if both of them wants to open it and they are ready, they’re going to do it, they don’t need me or anybody else. But if one is more into it than the other, then definitely finding out what’s behind this need, can it be solved without this? Is this the only solution? If so, are you ready for it? Are you ready for the outcome? Are you ready for things like that? This is what I hope couples do.

‏‏Yeah. Before we finish, what are your three top tips to living a stellar life?

‏‏I think that it’s no secret that the quality of your relationships determines the quality of your life. I think that once you have a good relationship that is working, that you are happy with, that makes you happy, then all the other problems in the world become smaller. Whereas if you’re in a relationship that’s a little unhealthy or even toxic, then every other issue that happens to you, whether it’s work, whether it’s your with other relationship, becomes all of a sudden huge and a burden. The number one tip is to really make sure that you’re doing everything you can to make your relationship thrive—I’m saying thrive, I’m not saying just be okay—really thrive, whether it’s improving the communication, whether it’s making sure that you’re connecting, whether it’s taking care of the passion in your relationship—and passion goes to erotic passion, or just passion to your partner, liking them. It’s not enough to love your partner, you need to also like them. Why? A lot of people say, “Oh, I love him,” or, “I love her,” do you like them also as a person? Do you really like how they are and what they do? Even the annoying things that all of the partners sometimes do, you have to learn to accept those things, and not just accept them, but accept them with a smile, “He’s done it so many times, at this point, I’m laughing.” Put humor back into your relationship, allow yourself to make fun of the stupid things and annoying things that you do to each other.

Even the annoying things that all of the partners sometimes do, you have to learn to accept those things, and not just accept them, but accept them with a smile. Click To Tweet

‏‏For sure. This was a beautiful interview and I really appreciate all the wisdom you shared with us. For people that want to connect with you and work with you, where can they find you?

‏‏The best place to find me is my website, you can find me at iditsharoni.com. For every person that’s going to go on my website, on my homepage, you have two freebies, you have a guide for couples that are wondering, “Can this relationship be saved?” I have seven signs that your relationship can be saved. Then for couples that experience infidelity and want to learn more about the myths of infidelity and how to avoid them, there is another freebie. As you look at my website, that’s usually the first thing that you will see. Feel free to download those. Another way to connect with me is through my podcast, Relationships Uncomplicated, where I talk a lot about different issues. I guess these are the best two ways.

‏‏Perfect. Thank you so much, Idit. I appreciate you coming on the show.

‏‏You’re very welcome. I appreciate you inviting me and I was a very happy to be here.

‏‏Thank you.

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

✓ When dealing with infidelity, first gather your strength and then pick up the pieces of what’s left in your relationship. Don’t do something irrational that may harm you or your partner.

✓ Communicate openly and in a meaningful way. Be aware of how you both are in the relationship by letting each other know how you truly feel.

✓ Talk lightly to your husband or significant other if you sense another woman casually flirting with him.

✓ Don’t suppress jealousy because it’s normal in every relationship as long as there are limits.

✓ Consider getting therapy if you’re running out of ways to handle or improve your situation with your partner. It is not as much of a taboo now as it was before.

✓ Take time to heal. It’s okay not to be okay. Spend time alone or with friends who can help you mend your broken heart and be patient with yourself.  

✓ Live a life with high standards. The quality of your life determines the quality of your relationships.

✓ Create a relationship ritual of connection, something that only you and your partner are accustomed to. These rituals strengthen trust and bond in a relationship.

✓ Do everything you can to make your relationship thrive. Make sure that you are investing in something that helps you grow and learn.

✓ Don’t take your partner or the little things for granted. Show appreciation even in the simplest of ways.

Links and Resources:

About Idit Sharoni

I’m Idit Sharoni, Relationship Expert and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. My passion is helping modern-day committed couples save their marriage in the most effective way possible.

 

 

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