Sometimes you may just need someone far away to talk to – 8 Sep 15

I was talking to a friend on the phone recently. He lives in Austria and we met when I was giving workshops there about six years ago. We have been loosely in touch over the course of years and updated each other on what was happening in our lives. Last week he called me, not for just asking about the weather but to ask for the help of a friend.

Everyone always says friends are there for you when you need them. There are situations however when you cannot show your close friends this need, where you hesitate to share with those who are nearest. In those times, it is good to have a friend who is a bit further away and can see the situation from a distance. This was the case with my Austrian friend.

When I got to know him, he had just moved into his own house in his home village with his wife and two small sons. They were happy to start a new chapter in life, their elder son was about to start school and everything was good.

On phone, he told me that the situation had changed drastically. He had found out that his wife had cheated on him, over years, with a common friend. He thus wanted to separate and get a divorce. It was something he was heartbroken about but he had already taken his decision: he could not forgive her, he needed to break this relationship.

In order to understand why he could not speak about this with his friends, you need to know two more details: my friend lives in a small village where literally everybody knows each other. Any such news as a breakup or even problems in a marriage make the rounds in the marketplace and everyone immediately knows about it.

The second detail is that his wife has an alcohol problem and has had that for a while. My friend has tried to help her but has always actually made every effort to cover it up, to avoid letting the whole village know. He wanted to protect his wife, their reputation as a family and their sons as well.

And he was still doing that now. He did not want to share his heartache with his friends, he didn't want to talk about his relationship problems, simply because the whole village would know right away. The next problem however was that he didn't want to leave his sons with his wife due to her alcohol problems! This again he could not tell anybody without harming her, at least from what he thought! Everyone would know – something which he had been trying to avoid for so long!

That's how he called me to ask me what to do.

First of all I told him to stop worrying about what everyone else would think about him and his soon-to-be ex-wife! It didn't matter. What mattered was his heart and feelings and his children! It didn't matter what everyone else said or thought, his children had to be safe! So while stopping to worry about that, I suggested him to go find a good lawyer and first of all talk to him.

After that, he should go and talk to his best friend. You have to share what is inside you! His wife needed help for her alcohol problem and that would not happen by hiding it any further. So it would not be a favour to try and keep it quiet – and his sons need him now!

I explained him how it would not be a big issue to move to another town either, to start over new and just get out of the gossip for some time. Everything would cool down one day and those who are his real friends will stay with him!

He was happy, most of all that he had been able to share with someone. And I am happy that I have friends who call me when they really need someone!

Is your Peace of Mind more important than Property and Money? – 30 Nov 14

In 2007, I again travelled for a few weeks through Australia. When I had been there the year before, I had been with a couple who had been fighting constantly. I was amazed at how they could still be together! While they were both happy that I was there, I connected more with the man and had some talk with him about his relationship as well. He was determined not to break up and explained me some strong reasons. When I returned in 2007, I found that he had given up.

I was actually really quite surprised about the reasons my friend told me for not breaking up. He had been with this woman for five years. After a year of their relationship, she moved in with him. It was his house and he owned a good piece of property around it as well. I had seen several such places in Australia, with fields and meadows around the house. A lot of space, too much for one person. That’s how he had initially been happy that his girlfriend had moved in.

After about two years however, problems started. They had discussions about little things. They stretched to fights about bigger things as well. When I came, in 2005, they had been living together for four years and were fighting every day about small things, adding up to big questions and remarks that referenced previous fights, increasing tension even more. I actually had the feeling that they were very bitter with each other, too bitter to have space for love.

When I carefully voiced this in front of my friend, I had the impression that he knew this very well. He didn’t keep back and so I asked him straight-out: ‘So why don’t you two break up?’

I got to know then, that there was a law in Australia, according to which a couple didn’t have to be married for having rights on each other’s property. My friend told me that even though the place was his, a part of it would now belong to her, because she had lived with him as his partner for more than two years. So even if they separated and she moved out, she would own a part of his property.

Upon my question whether it was worth living in constant fight and thus sacrificing your peace just for a property and, ultimately, money, he sat silent for a few moments. Decidedly, he finally answered however: No, it is not only for money – maybe it is a phase and we will find back together again!

As I said, when I arrived at his home in 2007, he had given up. They had broken up, she had moved out, he had sold a part of his property and had paid her money. Money for his inner peace – and he was really a happier man after it!

It confirmed my conviction that nothing, not even money, should stand in the way when you are trying to make changes to find happiness.

The Cheater’s Rule: You are allowed to cheat others but not me! – 7 Jul 14

I was telling you of counselling sessions that I recently had and of which I thought they could be interesting for you because you might find yourself in the same situation. For this one, I hope you will never come in this situation and if you do, I hope you won’t feel the same as the lady who had come to me. Mainly because I would recommend you not to cheat your partner. Or become the one with whom someone is cheating his partner! But let me explain this to you from the beginning.

A woman came to me with her relationship problem. She warned me right away that it was a bit complicated and that she would need a while to explain it to me. She had been in several relationships in the past and had one child from one of those which lasted longer. For the past four years, she has had a steady partner though – but he was married! So she actually was having an affair,

Her lover – as you can hardly call him ‘partner’, can you? – told her in the very beginning that he would never leave his wife. It was a very clear message from his side: we can have fun in bed, have a relationship on the side and I will cheat on my wife but never expect me to move in with you, leave my wife and other life and just be with you! I don’t want to and I will not! She agreed.

I have mentioned many times in my blog that you cannot be close to someone physically over a longer time, share a bed many times, ‘make love’, as it is so nicely called in English, and not develop any kind of attachment. She said she had developed something like love and was happy with the way things were going. Then however she found out something that changed it all for her: he had another affair with another woman!

Call it strange but she now very clearly had one strong emotion: she felt cheated! Yes, this man was cheating on his wife with her, she was cheating with him on his wife but he should not cheat on his wife with any other woman. He should not cheat on her with another woman! She felt jealous, was angry with this third woman and most of all was sad, as if a relationship had broken. It had, even though it never had a future.

It is a story of a movie – but the only person who got a benefit from this scenario was the man! He told his lovers clearly upfront that he would never really make a commitment. That’s how he could neatly have sex with at least three different women without any problems up to this point.

I told her that she now needed to allow the anger for this man with whom she had wasted the past four years. He obviously was not in love with her and she knew beforehand that nothing would come out of this relation. You have to go through the anger and then let him go, find someone who loves you!

Seeing it from the point of the observer though: isn’t it wonderful how the human mind can deceive its owner? How you can cheat yourself into believing that it is okay when you do something and then get incredibly hurt when someone else does the same?

Relationship Problems: Completely different Interests than your Partner – 18 Dec 13

Day before yesterday I described how it may happen that your friends or family members have a completely different opinion than you do. Yesterday I wrote that you may just need to accept that, even if it means that your friendship cannot go as deep as you would like it to be. When you change, people may not change or change in another way. The worst case however is if your life partner is one of these people. What can you do if that person with whom you really want to spend the rest of your life doesn’t change the way that you do?

I unfortunately know many friends who are in this situation, whose thoughts have changed over time but whose life partners did not develop in that direction. Then you have this person by your side to whom you vowed that you will be together until the end of your lives, whom you really wish to love more than anybody in this world, whom you want to devote your everything to – but your thoughts and emotions don’t match!

You both have the intention to love each other, but there are just so many topics that you cannot really talk about because you know that the other one won’t like your ideas, would criticize your actions and not support your emotions. You don’t feel like sharing and feel how you are drifting apart with every day that passes.

Obviously, you cannot make a system just like with your friends, to call once a week or meet once a month. You are very close to each other physically and you want to be, too, but then there is the question what to do with each other? The connection of your hearts got disturbed, you cannot have long or deep conversations and only talking about weather and politics just won’t do in a relationship!

You can imagine all the problems that follow. Disagreements, fights, silence, no wish for sexual intimacy, maybe after a long time even the desire to have sex with someone else, anger, frustration and unfortunately for many people at the end a separation, if they don’t manage to find a way of closeness together.

If you are in that situation, I just can ask you to talk and talk and talk to your partner, open your heart and pour out all that you feel and why you feel it. I hope that the one that you love and who loves you will be able to understand you. Even if he or she doesn’t completely feel the same, maybe it is at least possible to accept and know your feelings and motivation for what you are doing. Be open and never hide.

You, too, need to do effort to understand why the other one is unable or unwilling to follow you on your way. You, too, need to respect another view and you have to give support to your love, even if that means finding a way in the middle. Find something that you both care about and emphasize those areas of life where you both think in the same direction. Create passion together – and you will find passion for each other again.

We all are different but when we love someone from the depth of our hearts, we need a small point of similarity and be it just that we all are human!

End a Friendship if it only exhausts you – 26 Sep 13

You will often find that your friendships are fine as they are, just as I wrote yesterday, even if they don’t look the way that mainstream media presents a good friendship. It can happen however that you realize your friendship is going the wrong way, that your friend is taking advantage of you, for example or another issue that now gives you the doubt whether your friendship can really last any longer. In such cases we are normally reluctant to really end the friendship. If it is hurting yourself however, you may need to realize that it is for the better!

It is not easy to take a decision to end a friendship, especially if there is not any fight or obvious point of breaking apart. Please note that I am always in favour of making a friendship work if it is in any way possible but there is one thing that people tend to forget in order to keep a friendship: a friendship is supposed to be nourishing and strengthening for both sides, not exhausting for you and giving you the feeling that you are being taken advantage of. If you are wondering after every meeting why you feel so bad and if you are giving and giving, while you seem not to get anything back, there is something wrong.

I would always recommend to make at least a try and talk about whatever you are feeling. When the situation comes up in which you are always being taken advantage of, address the issue straight away in a nice manner. If that does not help and the issue persists, don’t try to hang on. You have made an effort to fix it but if it just sucks your energy and powers you out instead of giving you energy, you have to let go.

Letting go is a big challenge! Especially when it is about a long-time friendship, when there are so many memories together and you know each other so well. Once you have taken that decision however, see it through because you have noticed it is not good for you. It may seem like it would hurt much but mostly you will notice that the abusive behavior had already lasted for a long time. You are probably longing for the friends you had in the beginning – not the friend you had in the end. That’s how you will notice that you will feel better without this influence in your life.

When I talk about ending this friendship, I don’t mean that you should start a big argument and make it so big that you two actually do have a fight. That is not necessary! You don’t need to make a big deal out of it – just reduce your time with your friend slowly, spend more time with others or yourself and take some time just for you. Give yourself a treat, do what you really enjoy and just feel a little bit how you are without this company – you will realize that it actually feels good.

High Divorce Rates keeping young People from marrying – 26 Sep 12

Yesterday I wrote about the end of relationships and how it can get quite nasty. I especially mentioned divorces and the fights that people have in front of courts. Unfortunately this is not anymore a rare case. In many western countries, divorce rates are as high as 40% to 50%! This means nearly every second couple that starts its marriage in front of the registrar ends it some years later in front of a divorce lawyer. I had a thought when reading those numbers and I want to follow this thought in today’s blog post: What are the consequences?

The obvious result is that young people think twice before they get married. They see all around how marriages are breaking apart and they don’t want to experience this themselves! They see how the people around them get unhappy, stressed and into trouble because of getting divorced. Money is being spent on lawyers and courts and sometimes it takes years until matters are finally solved – and maybe not to both parties’ satisfaction. They understand that marrying means trouble if you get divorced – and the likelihood of getting divorced is pretty high! So why marry?

That is how less and less couples actually chose to get married. Obviously the reduced amount of religious influence, which I welcome very much, also helps. It was unthinkable in earlier times for a young couple to live together and have children without being married. Nowadays that is not uncommon anymore and people are not afraid of going to hell. Afraid of divorce, yes, but not afraid of hell.

Of course there are also many children who have experienced their parents going through a divorce. They have a first-hand experience of what it means and how much is involved, not only financially and officially but also emotionally. If their parents’ divorce traumatized them, they may well have difficulties not only marrying but getting into a serious relationship themselves – after all they are always afraid of really opening their hearts and letting someone in, in case he could hurt them.

I believe it is this, the fear of seeing the one whom you love turn to your enemy, which makes people afraid of divorce, afraid of getting married and unfortunately in the consequence afraid of making a commitment for a relationship themselves. They stop believing that there is something like a happy end. Everywhere around them they see break-ups and divorces. How could they believe in love themselves?

This is the consequence which I believe is very sad and actually harmful to society. People stop trusting each other and have too many doubts on their partners.

Don’t let this happen to you. See that there are not only 40 to 50% of divorces but also 50 to 60% of success stories. There are people who are happily married and even more who are happily in a long-term relationship, committed, not married but very much in love. It is possible and it can happen in your life, too!

Is the physical appearance of your partner an excuse for cheating? – 12 Jul 12

I yesterday wrote about ego in relationships and mentioned that one should reduce this ego and listen a bit more to the wishes of the partner instead of only wanting to have your own wishes to be fulfilled. I received an email asking whether one should really leave all his ego to become a servant of the other person’s wishes. Here is the beginning of this email:

“I have been reading a lot in your blog about different topics but especially about relationships. Probably because I have some trouble with my own relationship. …”

The woman goes on explaining that she has been in a relationship for the past eight years, that she always believed he was the love of her life, perfect as he is and until some months ago thought that this was also his feeling for her. Then however she found out that he had been cheating on her for at least two years with several different women. She knows some of these women and believes them to be members of his fitness club. She adds that she thinks they all have a better figure than herself and asks whether I believe she should lose weight, go join his fitness club and hope that he would be true to her after that because she would fulfill his wishes of a slim partner.

“I realize that I do not look the way that he would like to see me. I believe I could, with some effort and discipline and work on my body.”

I decided to reply this email in my diary because I think there might be many people in similar situations.

First of all I want to say that you need to talk to your partner. You should definitely confront him with the fact that you know about his cheating. I have written several articles about cheating and I always say that this is a very huge breach of trust, something that usually breaks a relationship because it is difficult to get back the trust you had before.

I have the impression that you believe your body is the only reason for his cheating. When you talk with him about this and he is really honest, he will most probably tell you that this is not or not only the reason. If he loved you before, why should this change only because your looks change in any way? And if that really was the only problem, you know that he only loved your body – wouldn’t you want someone to love you for who you are, your mind, your feelings, everything included?

So you see, if you change your body, if you even became a copy of one of the women he had sex with, it is not the solution! It cannot be and additionally you wouldn’t be you anymore!

It is not your fault that he cheated! In whatever situation he is, for whatever reason he did it, it was wrong. Even if you had been extremely difficult in the past weeks, if you had had fights with each other, cheating is wrong.

Talk. Tell him about your feelings, your disappointment, your loss of trust but don’t expect this all to be fixed with one explanation or one assurance that it was only a mistake that won’t happen again. I don’t say there is no chance for it to be fine again. With hard work, even trust can be replaced but it is difficult.

You have to however, in any case, keep your dignity, see your own value and understand that the other one made a mistake. You can forgive him, that is another matter, but don’t blame yourself or your ego for that.

Defeat your Anger with Love – 20 Jul 08

Yesterday there was another 17-year-old girl here for a healing session. When I asked her why she was here she told me that she wanted to forget a boy. She had been in a relationship with him for one year and broke up with him because he is 'an angry person'. She said that she was still in contact with him and she just couldn’t forget him. I asked why she was still in contact if she wanted to forget him. If you meet him how can you forget? And she said it was so difficult not to be in contact. She was sure that he still loves her very much and she could not say that she did not love him. So this means there is still love in between them, just because he is short-tempered and often angry they cannot be together.

Nobody likes to be angry. Why do we have these emotions? You need to find the reason and either eliminate the reason or change the way that you deal with it. I do not suggest suppressing feelings, you know that. I wrote about anger before in my diary and if you compare love and anger, love will always win. So if you know what you want, if you want to defeat your anger, you can do it with love. And what would be a better reason than love?

So today we took a flight back to Germany and Andrea picked us up at the airport in Munich. In the evening we went to a musical performance that Susi’s school had organized and in which students were actors, singers, dancers and also playing in the orchestra, like Susi. It was the first time that I went to see a musical and I liked it very much. It was mostly in German so I did not understand everything but I enjoyed it nevertheless. I do not really like cinema or TV but this was a very nice evening.