Dr. Glen Hong

  • 3 Steps to Get Over Resentment in Your Relationship

    Resentment is the number one indicator of divorce or separation in a relationship. Translation, the stakes are high! However, beyond the obvious consequence of your relationship ending, there are hidden costs of resentment in a relationship that couples are often not aware of, or do not acknowledge. The question is how do you identify and overcome resentment? Let’s explore all of it in this article.

    Listen/Watch this Article on the TWR Podcast

    If you’d prefer to watch or listen to the podcast, here’s How to Resolve Resentment in 3 Steps from the TWR Podcast.

    How Resentment Affects Your Relationship

    Chances are that you already know the emotional toll that resentments exact. You know the hours of time and energy lost in arguments. You’ve felt how your minds constantly ruminates over these underlying relationship issues. You’ve probably also witnessed the resentment cycle. The process of addressing an issue, only for it to get better for a short time, then resurface after a week or two. It’s common for couples to be stuck in the resentment cycle for months, or even years.

    But beyond affecting your mood and emotional health, here’s what you might not yet realize.

    Research has shown that couples who are resentful towards each other have weaker immune systems. Not only are they getting sick more often, but they also have a far higher chance of developing chronic disease. In fact, newer studies are showing the link between resentment in a relationship to autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s, as well as various forms of cancers!

    Being in a resentful and contentious relationship not only puts your relationship at risk but also compromises your mental and physical health.

    The bottom line, it is imperative that resentment in a relationship is properly addressed.

    3 Steps to Resolving Resentment

    When it comes to overcoming resentment, it may often feel like an impossible task. The reason is that no matter how many times you both have tried to work things out and no matter how many happy and intimate moments are shared, you both wind up back in the same space of resenting each other.

    The relationship then becomes anxiety-ridden as both of you feel like you are walking on eggshells around each other. It can often become so bad that you both just lower your standards in the relationship. Sometimes to the point where “not fighting” becomes your definition of a good day.

    So how can resentment be overcome?

    Well, the process is not that complicated. But it is challenging as it requires self-discipline on both sides.

    Here’s my three-step process that I use with clients.

    1. Define Resentment. Your first step is being able to define what resentment is. You both know the feeling, but in order to move on from it, you have to also understand what it is and why you feel the way that you feel.
    2. Learn How Resentments are Resolved. You need to gain an understanding of HOW resentments are actually resolved. This is a big one and though this step is simple in theory, it is very hard to put into practice.
    3. Identify What Gets in Our Way. Both people must be able to identify the unhealthy behaviors and attitudes that promote resentment and make the commitment to not engage in them.

    Let’s dive into each topic and break this down even more.

    Step One. Defining Resentment

    When it comes to defining resentment, what we’re looking at is the accumulated disappointment, frustration, and anger that is felt because of your partner’s inability to meet your expectations.

    More simply put, your partner is not what you want them to be!

    The assumption here is that you are meeting your partner’s expectations and so your question then becomes “Why can’t they meet mine?” As we take this moral authority stance, we are denying a truth when it comes to you and your partner’s needs; “You are not meeting their expectations either!”

    The truth is when resentment occurs in a relationship, it is happening on both sides. Both people are failing to meet each other’s expectations and that is why you both resent each other.

    You may know a lot about each other intellectually, but that is far different from being able to emotionally understand one another. Intellectual knowledge of your partner involves facts and characteristics about them like their favorite food, but emotional intelligence requires you to understand how to love, support and connect with them, especially when they need that support the most.

    This leads to the next point because even though you are aware of how your partner is disappointing you and vice versa, it is clear that you both do not know how to properly emotionally support each other.

    Ok, so understand where resentments come from. Let’s move to the process of resolving resentment.

    Step Two. Learn How Resentments Are Resolved

    When it comes to resolving resentment, you must be able to go beyond what you think you know about each other, and truly be able to emotionally understand one other.

    I know, you’re still asking, “OK, but how do you overcome resentment?”

    It is actually quite simple.

    When each partner can TRULY SEE the other person’s point of view away from your own perspective, resentment will magically go away. In fact, the resentments that have been built up over time can actually go away rather quickly.

    But you saw the magic word right? TRULY SEE…

    When you can put aside your view of your partner, and really begin to listen to them and to see them as they are, and your partner does the same for you, this begins the foundation for true understanding and acceptance of one another. That’s what it means to “truly see” each other.

    This is the real definition of emotional connection and intimacy.

    Because the truth here is that the expectations and disappointments that you have of each other, are clouding your abilities to truly see one other.

    This leads us to our next step!

    Step Three. Identify What Gets in Our Way

    In order to establish an emotional connection and to overcome resentment in a healthy way, it is important to STOP engaging in closed-off and defensive behaviors.

    When it comes to addressing resentments specifically, these are the 2 most common defensive behaviors to avoid.

    1. Listening to the recording in your head more than your partner

    You know, your partner is sharing their feelings and perspectives, and at the same time, you are kind of listening but more paying attention to your own thoughts of frustration about them.

    • “I can’t believe that they are saying that!”
    • “They shouldn’t have taken it that way.”
    • “What an idiot, this is crazy.”
    • “How did I pick such a dumb partner”

    At this point, you are more just looking to hear what you want to hear from them, rather than really trying to understand what is being said.

    And as your eyes roll and your body takes a more aggressive stance, both of you at this point can feel the discomfort and tension in the conversation.

    Instead of having an open and healthy dialogue, it is now only a matter of time before this conversation explodes.

    2. Acting like a judge instead of an advocate

    This is a common one where one or both partners will take a high moral authority stance of “Prove to me that I am wrong.”

    They will express their anger based off of their disappointments about their partner, and in their mind, this is being authentic and emotionally available. In truth, this just creates a contentious dynamic where the partner who is able to argue and prove their point better wins.

    But in reality, there is no winner.

    In these conversations, there is a lot of cutting each other off when each person is sharing, and common statements include:

    1. “That’s not what I meant by that.”
    2. “Show me where I’m wrong.”
    3. “It is your job to change my feelings.”
    4. “This is why I am on you because you can’t do anything right.”

    The goal here is to not have a productive and open conversation, but it is solely about having one partner take the majority of the blame for all of the relationship problems.

    And when these 2 common defensive behaviors take place, you have now been arguing for hours and hours, and the mental and physical toll of your resentments towards each other are being felt.

    This is not an easy space to be in, and this is not how a relationship should be.


    Dealing with resentment is not easy, and it can go sideways quickly. Overcoming resentments in a relationship requires a high level of guidance, structure, and tools to go from arguing with each other, to truly being able to connect and love one another.

    This is why we created Releasing Resentment: A Proven 12-Day Guide To Reconnect and Heal.

    Over the course of 12 days, you will be guided each day in video form, as well as being navigated through 12 days of workbook exercises.

    This program is not only a step-by-step guide, but it is designed to be completed in just 15-30 minutes each day. It helps couples:

    • Feel free again without the feeling of walking on eggshells around each other.
    • Be able to talk to each other and truly feel emotionally supported and understood.
    • Allow the love that you have for one another to be the focal point of your relationship again.

    While this program is incredibly valuable, we decided to price it at only $47 because we believe that this is a tool that needs to be accessible to EVERYONE.

    If you would like to learn more or enroll in this program, visit Release Resentment – 12 Day Guided Program.  I will see you inside!

  • What is Defensiveness and How Do I Change It?

    Defensiveness is a common reaction to criticism, where individuals become protective and guarded, perceiving a threat to their self-esteem or sense of identity. It is a natural response when feeling attacked, but if it becomes a habitual pattern, it can damage relationships and hinder personal growth. In this article, we will define defensiveness and discuss how to identify and change this behavior in relationships.

    Defensiveness Defined

    Defensiveness is an emotional response to feeling attacked or criticized, leading individuals to protect themselves and their self-esteem. It is often characterized by denying responsibility, blaming others, making excuses, or counter-attacking. Defensiveness often creates a barrier to communication. Not only does it prevent individuals from hearing and understanding feedback, but it can also create further conflict. It ultimately shuts down any ability for emotional connection and understanding to occur.

    This makes identifying and addressing defensive behavior critical to the long-term success of a relationship.

    How to Identify Defensiveness in a Relationship

    Defensiveness can manifest in various ways within our relationships Here are just a few examples:

    • Denying responsibility
    • Blaming one’s actions on someone/something else
    • Making excuses for their behavior
    • Interrupting or talking over the other person
    • Making negative assumptions
    • Using hostile body language
    • Counter-attacking and criticizing
    • Avoiding a topic altogether.

    These behaviors can make it challenging to have constructive conversations, leading to a lack of trust, miscommunication, and resentment.

    To identify defensiveness in a relationship, it’s important to pay attention to one’s emotional and physical reactions when receiving feedback, as well as the response to the other person’s emotions. People often mischaracterize their defensiveness as being emotionally expressive, when in truth, it is not.

    How to Change Defensiveness in a Relationship:

    Changing defensiveness in a relationship requires a willingness to reflect on one’s behavior and take responsibility for it. Here are some strategies that can help:

    Cultivate self-awareness: This involves looking inward and learning to manage emotions better, so they do not overwhelm the individual’s capacity to communicate effectively.

    Recognize the signs by starting to acknowledge when you’re becoming defensive. Common physical responses might include feeling tense, getting a knot in your stomach, or thinking about how to counter the argument.

    In such moments, reflect on your past behaviors. Think about instances when you’re defensiveness may have harmed your relationship. Understand the impact that you might have if you were to move toward defensive behavior in this moment.

    Practice Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, to stay present in the moment. Mindfulness can help you observe your thoughts and emotions without immediately reacting defensively.

    One thing that Pye often says and finds personally helpful is, “Remind yourself that this is likely not a life or death moment. And if true, it doesn’t warrant a life or death level of response.” 

    Practice Active Listening: This involves paying attention to the other person’s words and feelings, without interrupting or making assumptions. It involves acknowledging and validating the other person’s emotions, even if you don’t agree with their perspective.

    Focus on truly listening to your partner’s (or the other person’s) perspective without interrupting or formulating your response. Show empathy and validate their feelings, even if you disagree.

    Use reflective listening techniques, such as paraphrasing what your partner said, to demonstrate that you are engaged and trying to understand.

    Use “I” Statements: Instead of blaming or attacking the other person, it’s helpful to express how you feel about the situation using “I” statements. This allows you to express yourself without blaming or accusing the other person.

    For example, “I feel hurt when you speak to me like that.” This in turn also opens the door for the other person to share their feelings through “I” statements as well.

    Focus on the Facts: When you’re in the middle of a difficult conversation, rather than label the other person’s behavior, focus on simply the facts. This in combination with “I”statements can be a powerful tool that keeps the conversation focused on the actual issue.

    Here are a few examples:

    Instead of saying, “You’re being inconsiderate when you come home late without calling.”

    Try something like, “When you come home late without calling, I feel like I’m not a priority for you.”

    Or if dealing with a coworker.

    Instead of saying, “Why would you selfishly take credit for our work by not mentioning us in that presentation?

    Try something like, “When you forget or don’t mention all of us in your presentation, it makes us feel like we’re not valued, or maybe that you wish to take credit for our work. Is that what you meant?”

    Take Responsibility: When you make a mistake, take ownership of it and apologize. Avoid making excuses or blaming others, as this can lead to defensiveness and further conflict. When you learn to volunteer your mistakes and take ownership first, you’ll often see the other person naturally let down their guard.

    Identify the Wound: This is a big one. In many instances, our defensive behavior is triggered by an underlying wound or past pain. This is the entire premise of what I call “Trauma Triggered Therapy.” It’s using triggers to identify areas of personal healing that remain unresolved.

    For example, if you feel self-conscious about your weight, you might immediately become defensive when your partner asks you to join them on an evening run.

    If you feel insecure about the work you’re doing in the office, you might jump to defend yourself when someone offers constructive feedback.

    When your feelings of defensiveness are extreme and triggered by something seemingly small, look to see if there’s an underlying personal issue that needs to be addressed.

    Seek Feedback: Ask for feedback from the other person on how you can improve your communication and relationship. This shows a willingness to learn and grow, and can also help to build trust. Healthy feedback (both providing and receiving) allows for each individual to become more self-aware and less defensive. The result is that it opens the door for healthier communication.


    Defensiveness is a common response to criticism, but it can be damaging to relationships and personal growth. It’s important to learn to recognize defensiveness in oneself and others, and to take steps to change this behavior.

    If you find yourself stuck in this process, consider seeking support from a qualified coach or therapist who can help you work through underlying issues that contribute to defensiveness.

  • What is Emotional Attunement and How Can We Build It?

    Have you ever experienced a deep connection with someone, where you felt like they truly understood and empathized with your emotions? That’s what emotional attunement is all about. It’s the ability to tune in and connect with another person on an emotional level, creating a sense of understanding, validation, and support.

    In this article, we’ll explore what emotional attunement is, why it matters in relationships, and how you can cultivate it for more meaningful connections.

    Understanding Emotional Attunement

    Emotional attunement is the process of recognizing and responding to the emotions of another person in a way that validates and supports their experience. It involves being present and attuned to their emotional cues, whether they are expressed through words, body language, or facial expressions. When you are emotionally attuned, you are able to understand and empathize with what the other person is feeling, even if their emotions differ from your own.

    In essence, emotional attunement is about creating a safe space for emotional expression and connection. It allows individuals to feel seen, heard, and understood, fostering trust and intimacy in relationships. It goes beyond mere sympathy or surface-level understanding and delves into a deeper level of emotional connection.

    The Importance of Emotional Attunement in Relationships

    Emotional attunement is a vital component of healthy and fulfilling relationships. Here are a few reasons why it matters:

    1. Enhanced Communication: Emotional attunement facilitates effective communication by allowing both partners to express their emotions openly and honestly. When you are attuned to your partner’s emotions, you can respond in a way that shows empathy and understanding, leading to clearer and more meaningful conversations.

    2. Strengthened Emotional Bond: When someone feels emotionally attuned to, it deepens the emotional bond between individuals. It creates a sense of emotional safety and security, fostering a stronger connection and trust within the relationship.

    3. Validation and Support: Emotional attunement provides validation and support for the emotional experiences of both partners. It helps individuals feel acknowledged and accepted in their emotions, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness.

    4. Conflict Resolution: Emotional attunement plays a crucial role in resolving conflicts. When both partners are attuned to each other’s emotions, they can approach disagreements with empathy and compassion, leading to more effective problem-solving and compromise.

    Cultivating Emotional Attunement

    Now that we understand the significance of emotional attunement, let’s explore some strategies to cultivate it in your relationships:

    1. Practice Active Listening: Actively listen to your partner when they express their emotions. Give them your full attention, maintain eye contact, and show genuine interest in understanding their perspective. Avoid interrupting or dismissing their feelings.

    2. Empathy and Perspective-Taking: Put yourself in your partner’s shoes and try to understand their emotions from their point of view. Validate their feelings, even if you don’t necessarily agree or experience the same emotions. Remember, empathy is about understanding, not necessarily agreeing.

    3. Non-Verbal Cues: Pay attention to non-verbal cues such as body language and facial expressions. These can provide valuable insights into your partner’s emotional state. Be sensitive to their cues and respond accordingly.

    4. Validate Emotions: Validate your partner’s emotions by acknowledging and accepting them without judgment. Let them know that their feelings are valid and understandable. This helps create a safe space for emotional expression and fosters emotional attunement.

    5. Communicate Openly: Share your own emotions and vulnerabilities with your partner. By being open and authentic about your feelings, you create an environment that encourages emotional attunement and reciprocity.

    6. Practice Mindfulness: Cultivating mindfulness can help you stay present and attuned to your own emotions as well as your partner’s. Mindfulness exercises, such as meditation or deep breathing, can enhance your ability to attune to emotions in the present moment.

    7. Seek Professional Help: If you find it challenging to cultivate emotional attunement in your relationships, consider seeking the guidance of a couples therapist or relationship coach. They can provide valuable insights and techniques to enhance emotional connection and attunement.

    Emotional Attunement Takes Time and Effort

    Building emotional attunement in relationships is a continuous process that requires time, effort, and commitment from both partners. It’s not something that happens overnight, but with practice and patience, you can create a deep emotional connection that enriches your relationship.

    Remember, emotional attunement is about being present, empathetic, and responsive to your partner’s emotions. When you prioritize emotional connection and actively work towards attuning to each other, you create a foundation for a fulfilling and harmonious relationship.

    So, embrace the power of emotional attunement by no longer seeing your partner through how you want them to be, but by really seeing them for who they are. If you can give and receive that level of attunement in your relationship, you will see your connection with each other flourish with a deeper sense of understanding, empathy, and love.

  • Friends with Benefits: Exploring Casual Relationships

    Have you ever heard the term “friends with benefits” and wondered what it really means? Well, you’re not alone. In today’s modern dating landscape, this type of arrangement has become increasingly common. In fact, in 2013 a study showed that somewhere around 30-60% of university students engaged in a friends-with-benefits style relationship. But what exactly does it entail? How often does it end well for both friends?

    In this article, we’ll delve into the world of friends with benefits, exploring what it means, the potential benefits and challenges, and how to navigate this unique type of relationship.

    Defining Friends with Benefits

    Friends with benefits, often abbreviated as FWB, is a term used to describe a relationship dynamic where two individuals engage in sexual activities and maintain a friendship without the commitment of a romantic partnership. It’s a casual arrangement where the emphasis is on physical intimacy and mutual enjoyment, rather than emotional attachment or long-term commitment. Even though it is meant to be casual, it is important to know that there is a high level of commitment and care that has to be put in by both parties, in order for this FWB arrangement to work.

    In a friends-with-benefits relationship, the boundaries and expectations are typically established upfront, allowing both parties to engage in a consensual and non-exclusive sexual relationship while maintaining their autonomy and freedom. It’s important to note that the definition and terms of a friends-with-benefits relationship may vary depending on the individuals involved, as everyone’s preferences and boundaries can differ.

    The Benefits of Friends with Benefits

    1. Sexual Fulfillment: Friends with benefits arrangements can provide a safe and consensual outlet for sexual exploration and satisfaction. Both parties can enjoy physical intimacy without the emotional expectations or commitment associated with traditional relationships.

    2. Emotional Freedom: Unlike romantic relationships, friends with benefits allow individuals to enjoy the benefits of companionship and sexual intimacy without the emotional investment and potential heartache. It can be a desirable option for those who prioritize personal freedom and independence.

    3. Friendship and Compatibility: Friends with benefits arrangements often stem from existing friendships, where there is already a foundation of trust and compatibility. This can enhance the overall experience and make the encounters more enjoyable and relaxed.

    4. Learning and Growth: Engaging in a friends-with-benefits relationship can provide valuable insights about one’s own desires, boundaries, and communication skills. It can be an opportunity for personal growth and self-exploration in the realm of sexuality and relationships.

    All of this is to say that there are a number of benefits that go beyond physical intimacy. But how about the challenges of such relationships?

    Navigating the Challenges

    While being friends with benefits offers certain benefits, it’s important to acknowledge the potential challenges that can arise:

    1. Emotional Complexity: Despite the intention to keep emotions at bay, it’s common for feelings to develop over time. One or both individuals may start desiring a deeper emotional connection, which can complicate the arrangement and lead to hurt feelings or unmet expectations.

    It’s important to understand that when it comes to physical intimacy, the very act itself is designed biologically to promote partner bonding. The regular release of dopamine and oxytocin through pair bonding makes it that much more challenging to have sexual relationships without an expectation of a deeper connection.

    2. Communication is Key: Clear and honest communication is crucial in friends-with-benefits relationships. Both parties need to establish and regularly reassess their boundaries, expectations, and level of emotional involvement. Open dialogue ensures that both individuals are on the same page and can avoid misunderstandings.

    But again, there’s a contradiction here. The whole point of being friends with benefits is to avoid such relationship complexities. And yet, when it comes to friends-with-benefits relationships, we find a lot of complexity is created right from the beginning when it comes to establishing rules and boundaries.

    3. Jealousy and Exclusivity: Friends-with-benefits arrangements allow for non-exclusivity, meaning either party can engage in other sexual or romantic relationships. However, jealousy can still arise, especially if one person becomes romantically involved with someone else. It’s essential to address jealousy and establish guidelines for openness and transparency.

    4. The End of the Arrangement: Friends-with-benefits relationships can come to an end for various reasons, such as one person finding a romantic partner or one party desiring a more committed relationship. The transition from a friends-with-benefits arrangement back to a strictly platonic friendship requires sensitivity, clear communication, and mutual understanding.

    It may also be problematic when it comes to each person’s future partners. For example, your future partner might not feel comfortable with you remaining friends with someone that you previously had a sexual relationship with.

    Tips for a Successful Friends-with-Benefits Relationship

    1. Set Clear Boundaries: Establish boundaries and expectations early on to ensure that both parties are comfortable and have a shared understanding of the arrangement. This includes discussions about exclusivity, emotional involvement, and safe sex practices.

    2. Regularly Check-in: Regularly communicate and check in with each other to assess how the arrangement is working for both individuals. This allows for adjustments or changes to be made if necessary.

    3. Practice Safe Sex: Engaging in sexual activities always carries the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It’s essential to prioritize safe sex practices and use protection to ensure the physical well-being of both partners.

    4. Maintain Mutual Respect: Treat each other with respect, kindness, and consideration. Remember that even in a casual relationship, both individuals deserve to be treated well and have their boundaries respected.

    5. Be Prepared for Change: Friends-with-benefits relationships are not meant to last forever. Be prepared for the possibility that one or both individuals may develop new romantic interests or desire different types of relationships. Embrace the fluidity of the arrangement and be open to discussing the future.

    Friends with benefits can be a fulfilling and enjoyable experience when approached with clear communication, respect, and self-awareness. By understanding the boundaries, benefits, and challenges of this arrangement, individuals can make informed decisions about their own desires and navigate the complexities of a more casual relationship. Remember, it’s important to prioritize your emotional well-being and always engage in consensual and respectful interactions.

  • What is Emotional Cheating? Identify Emotional Affairs and Recover From Them

    In relationships, trust, loyalty, and emotional connection are vital components for a healthy and fulfilling bond. However, sometimes lines can be blurred, and emotional cheating can enter the picture, causing significant damage. Emotional affairs can be just as detrimental as physical infidelity, as they involve forming deep emotional connections with someone other than your partner. In this article, we will explore what emotional cheating is, how to identify emotional affairs, and steps to recover from them.

    Understanding Emotional Cheating

    Emotional cheating occurs when a person establishes a strong emotional connection with someone outside of their committed relationship. While it may not involve physical intimacy, emotional affairs often involve sharing intimate thoughts, dreams, and feelings that should be reserved for the primary partner. Emotional cheating involves confiding in another other person, seeking validation, and experiencing a romantic attraction that goes beyond friendship. It is the emotional crossing of an intimate relationship because it is often the reflection of what is not being experienced at home.

    Identifying Emotional Affairs

    Recognizing the signs of emotional affairs is crucial for addressing and resolving the issue. Here are some indicators that emotional cheating may be occurring:

    1. Emotional Withdrawal: If your partner becomes emotionally distant, shows a lack of interest in your life, or starts withholding their emotions, it could be a sign that they are seeking emotional fulfillment elsewhere.

    2. Increased Secrecy: If your partner becomes secretive about their interactions, hides messages or phone calls, or guards their privacy more than usual, it may indicate that they are engaged in an emotional affair.

    3. Excessive Time and Attention: If your partner is consistently spending a significant amount of time with someone else, whether in person or through frequent communication, it may be a cause for concern.

    4. Heightened Emotional Intimacy: Emotional affairs involve a deep emotional connection. If your partner shares personal details, dreams, or intimate thoughts with someone outside the relationship, this is a strong warning sign.

    5. Loss of Intimacy: Emotional affairs can lead to a decline in physical intimacy within the committed relationship. If your partner is emotionally invested elsewhere, they may become less interested in maintaining a physical connection with you.

    Recovering from Emotional Affairs

    Recovering from emotional affairs is a challenging process that requires commitment, honesty, and open communication from both partners. It also involves individual accountability of honestly identifying where the emotional connection was lost in this relationship. Here are some steps to navigate the recovery process:

    1. Acknowledge and Validate Feelings: Each partner needs a safe space to express their emotions, including anger, hurt, and betrayal. The partner involved in the affair should acknowledge and validate any feelings from their partner and take full responsibility for their actions.

    2. Open and Honest Communication: Both partners must engage in open and honest communication to address the emotional affair. The partner involved should explain their motivations and reasons behind the emotional infidelity, while their partner should express their pain and concerns. This will naturally open the door to discuss where and why intimacy became lost within this relationship.

    3. Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries within the relationship to prevent future emotional affairs. This may include setting guidelines for appropriate communication with others and being transparent about interactions. Boundary setting goes beyond just correcting wrongs, but it is more about identifying and maintaining real intimacy within the relationship.

    4. Rebuild Trust: Rebuilding trust takes time and consistent effort. The partner involved needs to demonstrate trustworthiness through their actions, being accountable and reliable. Their partner should be open to trusting again, albeit cautiously. It is also important for the partner who was cheated on to be accountable for where they may not have been emotionally available themselves. This level of accountability does not negate or excuse what has been done to you, but it opens the door for you and your partner to really grow from this experience.

    5. Seek Professional Help: Emotional affairs can be complex, and seeking the guidance of a professional therapist or counselor can be immensely beneficial. A trained professional can facilitate healing, guide discussions, and provide tools for rebuilding the relationship.

    6. Focus on Self-Care: Both partners should prioritize self-care during the recovery process. Engage in activities that promote emotional well-being, such as exercise, therapy, meditation, and spending time with supportive friends and family. This simple actions lead to amazing results on the journey to healing.

    7. Reinforce the Relationship: Engage in activities that strengthen the emotional bond within the committed relationship. Plan regular date nights, engage in shared hobbies, and express love and appreciation for each other. This is where the rekindling of the relationship begins again.

    Remember, recovering from emotional affairs takes time, patience, and effort from both partners. It is essential to address the underlying issues that led to the emotional infidelity and work together to rebuild trust and emotional connection.

    Moving Forward

    Emotional affairs can be devastating to relationships, but they can also serve as a wake-up call to reevaluate and strengthen the bond between partners. By identifying emotional cheating, acknowledging the pain, and taking proactive steps towards recovery, it is possible to rebuild trust and create a healthier, more fulfilling relationship. With open communication, commitment, and professional guidance if needed, couples can overcome emotional affairs and emerge stronger than before. In fact, it can become a blessing in disguise.

  • How to Build an Interdependent Relationship

    Have you ever wondered what it takes to build a strong and healthy relationship? One key ingredient that often gets overlooked is interdependence. While the concept may sound complex, it’s actually quite simple. Interdependence is all about finding a balance between independence and emotional connection in your relationship. It’s about fostering mutual support, trust, and cooperation while maintaining mutual individuality. In this article, we’ll explore how to build an interdependent relationship that thrives.

    1. Cultivate Open and Honest Communication

    The foundation of any successful relationship is communication. When it comes to building an interdependent relationship, open and honest communication becomes even more crucial. It’s essential to create a safe space where both partners can express their thoughts, feelings, and needs without fear of judgment or rejection. Practice active listening, empathy, and effective conflict resolution skills. Encourage each other to share openly and respectfully, fostering a deep understanding and connection.

    2. Foster Mutual Respect and Independence

    Interdependence does not mean losing your sense of self. It’s important to honor and respect each other’s individuality. Encourage your partner’s personal growth, dreams, and ambitions. Support their interests and give them space to pursue their passions. Similarly, maintain your own independence by nurturing your hobbies, friendships, and personal goals. By fostering mutual respect and independence, you create a solid foundation for interdependence to flourish. Remember, a healthy dynamic balances the relationship and all of the other various components of one’s individual life.

    3. Build Trust and Reliability

    Trust forms the cornerstone of any healthy relationship. To build an interdependent relationship, trust is paramount. Be reliable and consistent in your actions and words. Keep your promises and follow through on commitments. Trust takes time to develop, so be patient and demonstrate your trustworthiness through your actions. Avoid secrecy, dishonesty, or manipulative behavior, as these erode trust and hinder the growth of interdependence. Real trust allows your partner to know that they are loved and accepted for who they are, and that the relationship itself is emotionally secure.

    4. Practice Emotional Support and Vulnerability

    Interdependence thrives when partners provide emotional support and are willing to be vulnerable with each other. Create a safe space for sharing emotions, fears, and insecurities. Offer empathy and understanding when your partner is going through a difficult time. Encourage each other to express emotions freely without judgment. By being emotionally supportive and vulnerable, you foster a deep connection that strengthens the interdependent bond. It is in these vulnerable moments, where you are genuinely showing love to your partner, because you are allowing them to be all of who they are.

    5. Collaborate and Share Responsibilities

    In an interdependent relationship, both partners actively participate and contribute to the partnership. Collaborate on decision-making, problem-solving, and goal-setting. Share responsibilities and tasks, both in the household and in other areas of life. Avoid falling into traditional gender roles and strive for equality and balance. By working together as a team, you build a strong foundation for interdependence. In our 12-Weeks program, we define this as a healthy counterbalanced effort, where there is mutual support both in terms of responsibility and emotionally within the relationship.

    6. Embrace Interconnectedness and Interests

    Interdependence involves recognizing and appreciating the interconnectedness of your lives. Find shared interests, activities, and experiences that bring you closer together. Create rituals or routines that strengthen your bond, such as date nights or shared hobbies. Embrace the notion that your lives are intertwined, and make a conscious effort to nurture and cultivate that interconnectedness. It is vital here that interconnectedness is truly stemming from the love and appreciation that each person has for their own independence and the independence of their partner.

    7. Practice Forgiveness and Growth

    No relationship is without its challenges and conflicts. In an interdependent relationship, it’s essential to practice forgiveness and focus on growth. Learn from mistakes and use them as opportunities for personal and relational development. Avoid holding grudges or dwelling on past grievances. Instead, communicate openly, seek resolution, and work towards continuous improvement. It is fine to discuss the past, as long as it is about trying to grow the relationship. Oftentimes, partners will bring up the past to win an argument and to try and coerce their partner to do what they want. This should not be the goal. By practicing forgiveness and growth, you create a resilient and evolving interdependent bond.

    8. Seek Support and Learn Together

    Building an interdependent relationship is a continuous journey. Seek support and resources that can help you grow as a couple. Attend relationship workshops or therapy sessions to enhance your communication and problem-solving skills. Read books or listen to podcasts about building healthy relationships. Remember, learning and growing together is an ongoing process that strengthens the foundation of your interdependent relationship.

    In conclusion, building an interdependent relationship requires a combination of open communication, mutual respect, trust, collaboration, and emotional support. It’s about finding the delicate balance between individuality and togetherness. By cultivating these qualities and practices, you create a relationship that thrives on interdependence, where both partners can grow, support each other, and achieve greater fulfillment together all at the same time. So, embark on this journey of building an interdependent relationship and watch it flourish in ways you never thought possible.

  • How to Repair a Relationship After Cheating | Healing the Wounds

    Infidelity is a deeply painful breach of trust that can shatter even the strongest of relationships. However, with sincere effort, commitment, and a willingness to confront the issues head-on, it is possible to rebuild and repair the relationship after cheating. In this article, as a clinical psychologist, I will guide you through the steps necessary to embark on the healing journey together. Let’s begin the process of restoring trust, fostering communication, and rebuilding a stronger foundation for your relationship.

    Face the Truth

    The first step in repairing a relationship after cheating is acknowledging and accepting the reality of the betrayal. Both the cheater and the betrayed partner need to confront the truth, no matter how painful it may be. Honesty and transparency are essential during this phase, as minimizing or avoiding the truth will only prolong the healing process.

    Open and Honest Communication

    Rebuilding trust requires open and honest communication. Both partners must be willing to express their feelings, fears, and concerns without judgment. The betrayed partner needs to feel heard and have their questions answered, while the cheater must be willing to listen empathetically and take responsibility for their actions. Establishing a safe space for dialogue is crucial in rebuilding the foundation of the relationship.

    Seek Professional Help

    Consider enlisting the support of a qualified therapist or relationship counselor experienced in infidelity recovery. A professional can provide guidance, facilitate effective communication, and offer tools to navigate the complex emotions involved. They can help both partners process their feelings and work towards forgiveness and healing. Make sure that both of you feel comfortable with the professional that you will be working with.

    Rebuilding Trust

    Rebuilding trust is a gradual process that requires consistent effort from both partners. Trust is not easily regained but can be rebuilt over time. The partner who cheated must be patient and understanding, realizing that rebuilding trust is a responsibility that they must take very seriously. Transparency, accountability, and consistency in words and actions are key. The other partner, on the other hand, needs to be open to trusting again, albeit cautiously. Trust-building exercises and joint activities can also aid in the process.

    Address Underlying Issues

    Infidelity often stems from underlying issues within the relationship. It is crucial to address these issues openly and honestly. Identify any unresolved conflicts, emotional needs that weren’t being met, or areas where the relationship lacked fulfillment. This is where it is vital to address resentments that each partner has towards each other and about the relationship as a whole. Both partners must be committed to working on themselves and the relationship, addressing these issues collaboratively. If you are working with q professional, this may involve a combination of individual therapy, couples counseling, and/or workshops focused on healing and restoring the relationship.

    Practice Empathy and Forgiveness

    Forgiveness is a challenging yet transformative step in the healing process. The partner who feels betrayed must eventually find a way to honestly work through the pain and resentment. The partner who cheated needs to demonstrate genuine remorse and work hard at making amends. Beyond the infidelity, it is also have the discussion about what is actually missing in the relationship that is not being properly addressed. Cultivating empathy for each other’s experiences and emotions is vital in the journey towards forgiveness. This is where oftentimes it will feel validating to blame and point fingers, and even though it may temporarily feel good, in the end, no one wins and the suffering becomes worse. This does not mean forgetting the past or not addressing what has taken place, but rather putting more effort and energy into creating a future where trust and emotional intimacy can be restored and rebuilt.

    Patience and Time

    Healing and rebuilding a relationship after cheating takes time. It is a gradual process that cannot be rushed. Both partners need to be patient with themselves and each other. Expect setbacks and emotional ups and downs along the way. Remember, healing is not linear, and setbacks are an opportunity for growth. With perseverance and dedication, a stronger and more resilient relationship can emerge. It is possible.


    Repairing a relationship after cheating is an arduous journey that requires immense effort, honesty, and commitment from both partners. Through facing the truth, fostering open communication, seeking professional help, rebuilding trust, addressing underlying issues, practicing empathy and forgiveness, and allowing time for healing, it is setting the foundation for rebuilding a relationship that is stronger and healthier than before. Remember, the path to healing will be extremely challenging, but the rewards can also be great.

  • Understanding Emotional Flooding: Navigating Overwhelming Emotions

    Emotional flooding is a phenomenon that can affect individuals in various aspects of their lives, including romantic relationships and parenting. It refers to the experience of being overwhelmed by intense emotions that can inhibit one’s ability to think clearly and cope effectively. In this article, we will explore the symptoms of emotional flooding, examine its impact on romantic relationships and parenthood, discuss prevention strategies, coping mechanisms, and provide related terminology for better understanding.

    What is Emotional Flooding?

    Emotional flooding is a state of being overwhelmed by powerful emotions, such as anger, sadness, fear, or anxiety. It often occurs when the emotional response surpasses an individual’s capacity to manage or regulate it effectively. During an episode of emotional flooding, the rational thinking part of the brain is hindered, leading to impulsive reactions and an inability to effectively communicate and problem-solve.

    Symptoms of Emotional Flooding

    Recognizing the symptoms of emotional flooding is crucial for individuals to gain insight into their emotional state and take appropriate action. Common signs of emotional flooding include:

    • Intense and rapidly escalating emotions.
    • Physical sensations like a racing heart, shortness of breath, or tense muscles.
    • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
    • Heightened sensitivity to stimuli, such as noise or touch.
    • A sense of being out of control or overwhelmed.
    • Impulsive or reactive behaviors.

    Examples in Romantic Relationships

    Emotional flooding can significantly impact romantic relationships.  Below are just a few examples of emotional flooding in romantic relationships:

    1. During an argument, one partner may become flooded with anger, leading to shouting, insults, or even physical aggression.
    2. Feeling overwhelmed by jealousy, an individual might engage in controlling behaviors like constant monitoring of their partner’s activities.
    3. Emotional flooding can also result in withdrawal and shutting down emotionally, making it challenging to address relationship issues constructively.

    Examples as a Parent

    Parents can experience emotional flooding when confronted with challenging situations involving their children:

    1. A parent might become flooded with fear and anxiety when their child is in danger, resulting in overprotective behaviors that limit the child’s growth and independence.
    2. Feeling overwhelmed by frustration or stress, a parent might lose their temper and react impulsively, resorting to yelling or even physical punishment.
    3. Emotional flooding can hinder effective communication, preventing parents from understanding their child’s perspective and responding empathetically.

    Ways to Prevent Emotional Flooding

    While it’s challenging to completely eliminate emotional flooding, there are strategies that can help manage and prevent its occurrence:

    1. Self-awareness: Developing emotional self-awareness through practices like mindfulness and introspection allows individuals to recognize early signs of emotional arousal.
    2. Establishing boundaries: Setting and respecting personal boundaries helps regulate emotional responses and prevents situations that may trigger flooding.
    3. Effective communication: Learning and practicing healthy communication skills can minimize misunderstandings and conflicts that may contribute to emotional flooding.
    4. Self-care: Prioritizing self-care activities, such as exercise, adequate sleep, and stress reduction techniques, enhances emotional resilience and reduces vulnerability to flooding.

    Strategies to Cope with Emotional Flooding

    When emotional flooding does occur, implementing coping strategies can help regain emotional balance:

    1. Take a break: Remove yourself from the triggering situation temporarily to allow emotions to settle and regain clarity.
    2. Deep breathing: Focus on slow, deep breaths to activate the body’s relaxation response and calm the nervous system.
    3. Self-soothing techniques: Engage in activities that promote relaxation, such as listening to calming music, journaling, or practicing mindfulness.
    4. Seek support: Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist who can provide a compassionate and nonjudgmental space for processing emotions.

    Related Terminology

    To further enhance understanding, here are some related terms:

    1. Emotional regulation: The ability to manage and modulate emotions effectively.
    2. Triggers: Stimuli or situations that elicit intense emotional responses.
    3. Emotional intelligence: The capacity to recognize, understand, and manage one’s own emotions and those of others.
    4. Cognitive distortions: Irrational and negative thought patterns that can contribute to emotional flooding.


    Emotional flooding can disrupt personal well-being and strain relationships. By recognizing the symptoms, understanding its impact on romantic relationships and parenting, and implementing prevention strategies and coping mechanisms, individuals can regain control over their emotional responses. Cultivating emotional resilience and seeking support when needed are essential steps toward navigating overwhelming emotions and fostering healthier connections with others.

  • Does Couples Therapy Work?

    If you’ve been in couples therapy for any extended period of time, you’ve no doubt asked yourself the question, “Does couples therapy ACTUALLY WORK!?”

    You know the feeling right?

    You’re in session. You share your concerns and frustrations about the relationship. Your partner shares their concerns and frustrations about the relationship. Then the both of you look to the therapist for the solution…

    They respond with something typically cliche like, “You both need to communicate better with each other.” And as unsatisfying as this answer is, both of you push through because you want to make the relationship work.

    With time, you both learn how to communicate your anger more effectively. Several years pass by, one session after another. Sure, you’ve both learned new tools and insights that have helped with day-to-day interactions. But when it comes down to the things that truly matter in your relationship, nothing has really changed for the better.

    It’s in such moments that we rightfully ask, “Does couples therapy work?”

    Because you’re right to be frustrated, and you’re absolutely right to question the process.

    In this article, we’re going to talk about the effectiveness of couples therapy. I’m going to present you with a reality that’s most certainly going to shock you.

    Couples Therapy Fails 85% of its Clients

    I know that section heading is frustrating to read, but it’s true.

    I feel your frustration because I felt the same damn thing.

    Once we get off the hamster wheel and assess how much therapy has worked for us, most of us will conclude that “it has simply failed.”

    Yes, there were some insights and there was a place to release concerns, but ultimately, it never reached the core issues of our relationship problems. And if this is the destination that you arrived at, you most certainly are not alone. Not by a long shot.

    Research from Roesler (2020) shows that couples therapy fails 85% of the people that it serves.

    Yes, friends. You read that correctly.

    Conservatively speaking, traditional therapy and couples counseling will fail FOUR out of the FIVE clients that it serves in creating lasting change. 

    The question then becomes “Why?”

    Why Does Counseling and Couples Therapy Fail?

    Just like you, we wanted to know why this was happening.

    Through the TWR Institute, we gathered a research team and ended up compiling 75 peer-reviewed research articles. Within the piles of research and data, we arrived at two primary factors that answer the question, “Why does couples therapy tend to fail?”

    1. Treatment barriers on behalf of the therapist
    2. Treatment barriers on behalf of the client

    More simply put, couples therapy tends to fail because of the lack of expertise on behalf of the therapist, or problems that the clients have in implementing the solutions.

    Let’s get into each factor and break it down even more. We’ll start with data pointing out issues in terms of the therapist and the treatment they provide.

    Treatment Barriers on Behalf of the Therapist

    From all of the articles we gathered, we found five primary barriers or problems on behalf of the therapist that affects positive client outcomes.

    We’ll discuss each of these below.

    1. Couples therapists are underqualified.

    Research from Pentel and Baucom (2021) found that 95% of the therapists who graduated from an accredited graduate counseling program, did not feel properly trained to provide treatment to couples.

    Meaning, while they graduated and had the appropriate credentials and hours, these therapists still felt as though they didn’t have enough tools in the clinical environment. Responding therapists even went on to say that they would often rely on “self-guided” techniques that they believed would work. In other words, they’d often default to giving their clients advice from their own personal experiences.

    2. Couples therapists do not follow a guided framework.

    A study by Carrol et al (2021) found that each couple’s treatment would often include short-term solutions like improving communication, rather than focusing on the long-term problems. But in order for treatment to be effective, therapists must focus on the concept of Long-Term Conditions or LTCs.

    Meaning rather than focusing on providing solutions to short-term symptoms, therapists need to be focusing on long-term change which requires deep-rooted emotional work.

    Unfortunately, clients are often never getting to this place in their treatment because therapists fail to follow a consistent guided framework. Instead of following a proven and consistent framework for treatment, the therapist is going “off script” to treat problems that they feel are the most significant.

    What the therapist tends to deem “significant” are simply the symptoms or problems that are most visible. But these surface-level symptoms are rarely ever the root problem, but rather just a manifestation of that problem.

    3. The power of the therapist is too high.

    Findings from Janusz et al (2021) discuss how the therapist will often take on a judge’s role during a couple’s session. This eventually leads to the therapist taking a side rather than having the ability to mediate and solve problems.

    The term for this is known as a “split alliance”, meaning that once one partner gets the therapist to side with them, it leads to dysfunction within the session, and eventually, the couple will end up dropping out of treatment.

    4. There is no set definition of intimacy or how to approach it.

    Rober et al (2015) discussed the complexity of couples therapy and the many variables/challenges that need to be implemented for healing to take place. Their research cites the need for being able to emotionally hold space, set boundaries, and distinguish between individual and couple’s issues, All of this must happen while being able to push the session forward.

    The problem is there is no clear and set direction of how or where the direction of intimacy is.

    5. Therapists often overvalue the progress of the couple.

    The work of Owen et al (2019) found therapists often focus on reducing negative communication with couples. When they did, it would be treated as a huge success. Their research went on to show that the reduction of negative communication with couples actually leads to greater emotional disconnection because the root of their problems was not properly addressed.

    This again goes back to the problem of therapists tending to focus on the most visible symptoms, rather than on the source of those symptoms. Because the therapist sees the couple communicate more effectively and argue less, they’d think it their treatment was working. But in reality, the couple’s issues were still right there under the surface, they had simply become more adept at hiding it.

    Now let’s talk about client-side issues that prevent treatment from being effective.

    Treatment Barriers on Behalf of the Client

    1. Couple’s treatment does not address Attachment issues.

    Siegel (2020) discussed the concept of predictive processing, which basically means that your attachments or baseline behaviors as a child determines your construct of love when you become an adult. According to Mcnelis and Segrin (2019), their research found a 92% correlation between divorce and the insecure attachments that come out during a marriage.

    Translation, your past dictates a lot of what you do in your current relationships, and they need to be addressed. Most often times, the individual will blame their partner for not meeting their emotional needs, when in truth that perceived emotional need is a wound that their partner cannot solve. It is a childhood wound that they are asking their adult partner to solve for them! Let that sink in. This is why individuals will often cycle through relationships over and over because they are incorrectly labeling their childhood wound as an adult emotional relationship void.

    2. Couple’s treatment does not address trauma issues that each partner has.

    Hubbard and Harris (2020) found that many in relationships suffer from trauma or severe mental health issues, and the likelihood of having it addressed properly within a couple’s relationship is often not done. This means that in treatment, the couples’ issues and the individual partner’s issues are all treated separately, when in truth, all of it is connected to one another.

    For example, if someone is suffering from PTSD, the usual intervention is to make sure that this partner is getting the individual treatment that they need, and from a couple’s standpoint, only couple’s issues are only addressed. This sounds good in theory but the truth is, if your partner is suffering from a mental illness or trauma, that is directly going to affect the relationship and that needs to be discussed and addressed. To treat it as if the problem is separate is providing an emotional disservice to the partner who is providing support, and an overall dishonesty to what needs to be addressed relationally.

    3. Treatment does not address the crisis of the couple.

    The research of Fraenkel (2019) found that couples often come in for treatment when divorce or the relationship is at its breaking point, and the truth is, many couples’ therapists do not have the skills nor the ability to effectively handle the crisis. And instead of dealing with it head-on, the therapist will often treat the couple as if there is no crisis. This level of denial eventually causes the couple to terminate treatment and most likely end the relationship.

    I can speak on this firsthand. The majority of couples that seek our services are coming because they are on the verge of divorce, or if not married, they are deciding whether to stay or leave the relationship. It is in these moments that each partner’s hurts, frustrations and resentment all come out. As any crisis negotiator will tell you, when addressing a crisis, it is not about solving all of their problems, but it is about getting them back to their previous level of functioning before the crisis occurred. To do that, it requires being able to navigate all of the emotions that each partner is feeling, holding emotional space, and at the same time providing a structure so that a healthier level of coping can take place. Bottom line, if your therapist cannot address your crisis when it is required to do so, they are not equipped to help you.

    4. Couple’s treatment does not match the evolution of the couple.

    The work of Carr (2019) found that couples’ therapy requires the use of multiple forms of treatment and being able to use them at the appropriate times. Some of the modalities required include brief-oriented models, family therapy models, attachment work and understanding of the medical model.

    What this means is that treating a couple involves many stages. It involves each partner being accountable for what they bring into the relationship, it requires addressing the actual couple’s issues that need to be addressed and it involves being able to see their current life circumstances and being able to integrate all of it for them. This requires as a therapist, being able to navigate the many emotional stages they will go through, and help them to progress and move towards having a healthy relationship. Carr’s work points to the fact that most couples’ treatment will reach an emotional end point of progress, because in truth the therapists capacity to improve it is limited.

    5. You do not know who you are going to get!

    Banham and Schweitzer (2016) in their findings reported that not all therapists are equal. The truth is there are some really good ones and a lot of bad ones out there. Also, their work pointed to the fact that couples therapy in general has no real fluidity or standardization in terms of treatment and approaches.

    This is why it so important to be mindful and proactive when it comes to finding the right therapist. The truth is, if your marriage is on the brink, a bad therapist over a few sessions can ruin your relationship and send you to divorce immediately. Even if the relationship can be saved, the wrong therapist can do irrevocable damage. This work highlights the danger of working with a bad therapist.


    So, to sum up, if you are having or have had issues with couples’ therapy, it is our hope that this provides you with a form of validation and understanding. When we began this project, the goal of our research was never about bashing or pointing the finger at this industry, but it was truly about just wanting to find answers.

    We feel that we have done so and we are very proud of what we created with 12-Week Relationships!