My Recent Interview With On Empowering Women

Interview with Carolyn Tucker

 1. Carolyn, sometimes women enter into a relationship with the expectation of finding happiness from the relationship and their partner. They are genuinely not happy and satisfied with their individual life and have this mindset- “If only I find the right partner, my life will be so much more better and I will be happy.” How important is it for women to be have a happy, fulfilling lives regardless of whether they are in a relationship or not?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if happiness only required plugging in a partner? Unfortunately, we cannot look to externals to provide happiness for us, and frequently we miss out on life while we are waiting for that partner to come along and provide for our happiness. As John Lennon said in his song Beautiful Boy, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

Women who spend all of their time waiting to become happy are not putting their best foot forward towards getting what they want. According to the Law of Attraction, in order to attract a vital, exciting, fulfilling relationship, you need to be living a vibrant, exciting and fulfilling life. There is nothing more attractive to a man than a woman who is bursting with love for her life. On the flip side, no man is longing to be in a relationship with a woman who has no interests and who waits for him to make her happy. It is a lot of responsibility to be accountable for the happiness of another.

A woman who is willing to go out and seize the day, to grab life by the horns and to drink from it fully until that right partner comes along will find that the time passes much quicker, her friendships, work and hobbies are more gratifying and that she attracts fun and exciting opportunities to herself whether she has a partner or not.

2. Sometimes women are very successful professionally but feel the exact opposite when it comes to their personal life especially relationships. In other words, they have an entirely different vibe in their careers where they are appreciated, respected, considered smart and successful, but somehow cannot seem to translate that vibe into their personal relationships. Why does this happen and what can women do to overcome this problem?

Every day I see women who are smart and competent in their careers, who admit to feeling unappreciated and disrespected in their relationships. I believe this has several contributing factors. Often in our society women are raised to feel that they are not complete without a man, and that they must compromise themselves to have a successful relationship. Many women feel guilty being successful and compensate by accepting treatment and behavior that would otherwise be considered unacceptable, or by making themselves “smaller” at home.

In my practice I address this by helping women step into their power in relationships as well as their careers. I do this by helping them learn to value their contributions and to own their gifts and abilities without fear of rejection or repercussion. This does not mean creating women who are aggressive, abrasive or masculine in their energy, however. This means truly looking at the feminine archetypes of the maiden, the mother and the crone and grasping a full appreciation of the ages and stages of a woman’s life and the power and gifts that come with each. I encourage my clients to find role models of women living in their power to associate with and to develop a support network of strong, encouraging women to assist them on their journeys.

Stepping into their power can be a very exciting process for a woman and can be invigorating to their relationships if done in a manner that is gentle and respectful of the relationship. Many women report an increase in their partner’s interest in them physically when they begin the journey of infusing their lives with this energy.

3. Can you elaborate on what you mean by stepping into power in relationships and how can women go about doing it in a manner that doesn’t come across hostile, aggressive and defensive?

Certainly! I believe that women do not realize the power they have, and that this is the cause of many of the problems of creating the life and relationships they want. By stepping into their power, I mean acknowledging their feminine, creative potential, and having a respect and reverence for it. When a woman is able to take herself seriously, speak her truth without apologizing, to express herself authentically without making herself small and to expect to be treated by all people as equal by virtue of her status as feminine, intelligent and competent then she has stepped into her power.

What many women fail to recognize is that they can be both soft and powerful at the same time. The men that I work with want a woman who knows her worth. The very act of acknowledging her worth increases her “stock value” in her man’s eyes. This is true in the workplace and in the bedroom. Men express a desire for their women to feel confident in their bodies whether they are perfect or not. The mere act of self- confidence is an aphrodisiac. When women realize and embrace this then they will realize their power in their relationships.

4. Can you explain the difference between masculine and feminine energy? How can women know that they are projecting more masculine energy and what are some ways they can transform it to feminine energy?

We all have a combination of masculine and feminine energies, and the key is making sure that we are in balance and harmony in the expression of them. Masculine energy is linear, goal oriented and mental focused. It is about “doing” and “accomplishing”. Feminine energy is more centered on creativity, nurturing, concern with feelings and emotions and intuition. Many times growing up, feminine energy is pushed to the back burner in school, with focus on concrete concepts, goals and performance. A little girl may be made to feel that she is “difficult” or “demanding” when she expresses her feelings, especially if the feelings are about her needs not being met. This dynamic is present from playground to boardroom.

Many women learn to sublimate their feelings and needs, and to express themselves in more concrete, masculine terms. In doing so, they also learn to suppress one of their most valuable assets, their intuition. Intuition for a woman is a built in GPS system that is designed to help her navigate relationships of all kinds. When she loses touch with that ability, she loses knowledge of how she comes across to people, and may not even realize that she is displaying more of a masculine energy.

Displaying feminine energy does not mean that a woman needs to “dumb herself down,” it is simply plugging into a different kind of intelligence. Feminine energy is the slow and steady, designed to be receptive, instinctual and empathetic. Our society has traditionally not valued this kind of intelligence, though there is currently a swing back in the direction of respect for these traits.

If a woman is too heavily weighted towards her feminine energy she may have trouble setting boundaries and standing up for herself. She may have trouble initiating a project and completing it. If she is too heavily weighted towards her masculine energy she may not feel comfortable discussing emotions, being receptive (either emotionally or physically in intercourse). Achieving balance is in order.

I try to assist my women clients in slowing down if they are living too much in their masculine energy. I encourage them to stop looking at the goal and to start looking at the process. Sometimes finding a creative expression such as journaling, creating some kind of artwork or even yoga or meditation can help them get in tune with their creativity, their bodies and their emotions.

5. Some women repeatedly attract the wrong men in their relationships. Can you explain why this happens and what women can do to overcome this problem?

I frequently have women clients who report that they attract the wrong men. I believe that is because they hold thoughts and beliefs that keep them repeating the same patterns in their lives. These beliefs could stem from childhood messages or from past relationships. These women benefit from therapy that examines the thoughts and beliefs and looks at the patterns repeated in their lives. Once these women gain insight and are able to reframe and reprocess these thoughts they find that they attract and are attracted to men and relationships that are healthier.

6. Some of our women subscribers have expressed that they have this deep inner fear that they would be single and miserable all their life. In the process they feel that they settle for someone who they truly believe is not a good choice for them but still pursue the relationship because they are afraid of being alone. Can you talk about how women can overcome this problem?

I see many women who would rather settle than deal with the ambiguity of not knowing if a good relationship is going to come along. The fear of being alone is greater than the desire for a relationship in which they thrive. I think that helping these women learn to address the anxiety of being alone is the best way to address this issue. Creating a life that is full and rewarding helps lessen the anxiety of not having a relationship. It has the added benefit of creating a life that is attractive and that draws people into her orbit. I find that a woman who is living a life that includes self-care, a strong pro-social network, and who is growing and learning is less apt to settle for anything in life.

7. While every relationship has its challenges and share of conflicts, at what point is it better for women to leave the relationship than work on it?

What a great question! I think it is easy to give advice for a woman to leave a relationship that has challenges and conflict, and very difficult for a woman to do it. Once a woman has given of herself and invested emotionally in a relationship, it is difficult to walk away. I think that knowing when to place appropriate boundaries regarding how much conflict or challenge is healthy is important. A trusted friend or therapist who can view the relationship without his or her own agenda is helpful in getting feedback on when to walk away.

Frequently outsiders are quick to say it’s time to call it quits when they do not have a deep understanding of the investment in the relationship. I also think that there is an element of knowing when one has reached the end of the journey that comes into play. I think that healthy women know instinctively when they are “done.” It almost seems that until a woman reaches that point it is very difficult to call it quits without regrets or revisiting the relationship over and over. Again, a trusted friend or therapist can help a woman obtain perspective on what the relationship is costing her and help her weigh the “cost to benefit” ratio of whether she is getting the appropriate emotional return on the relationship or not. If she is paying for being in the relationship by losing self-esteem then it is time to revisit the situation.

8. Can you provide some practical strategies that can help women who have a tendency to constantly compare themselves with others with regards to height, weight and physical appearance? They may feel they are not beautiful enough or slim enough or worthy enough as they make these comparisons with their friends, peers and family members.

Women who constantly compare themselves with others usually suffer from poor self-esteem. I advise using positive affirmations to address the negative thoughts they believe about themselves. Positive affirmations can actually change how our brains work. Affirmations like “I am unique and beautiful in my own way” repeated many times throughout the day can change that negative self talk. I recommend my clients set alarms on their cell phones that will remind them to repeat certain affirmations throughout the day. Making lists of things they love about themselves is another way to begin to change the need to compare.

In the beginning some women find it hard to find even one thing that they value in themselves. I find that the more these women institute a good regime of self care the more they learn to find things they value in themselves. The mere time spent lovingly lavishing lotion on the body can help a woman come to love each body part. Affirmations of “I love my legs, they are strong and beautiful and carry me through the journey of life.” Self-care encourages self love.

Learning to sit with the anxiety of not “being enough” can allow a woman precious moments to gather inner resources and to remember the positive things about herself. Getting grounded and centered by using deep breathing and paying attention to bodily sensations can help. “I feel the floor under my feet. I feel the cool air in the room. I hear the drum beat in the music.” Getting grounded and then going over the list of her own positive attributes in her mind can help a woman get off the hamster wheel of rumination and comparing.

9. Another question we get asked is about taking control of the relationship. I think there is a misconception that being demanding or nagging or controlling are the ways to show you have the power and upper hand in the relationship. Can you explain in detail what being in control of the relationship means and what are some ways women can regain control in relationships where they feel they don’t have control?

Control is such an illusion. We women fool ourselves into thinking if we nag enough we will be able to control out partner. Exactly the opposite is true. From a behaviorist perspective it takes ten positive strokes to make up for one nag or criticism. Therefore, if we are not giving ten times more positive strokes we are demotivating our partner, and may be having exactly the opposite effect of what we wish for. Encouragement and praise, and catching our partner doing “right” can go far in helping our partner be the best they can be and also encourage connection and closeness in the relationship.

Women can have control of one thing only in a relationship, themselves. This is immensely powerful if they choose to remember it. Control of one’s own reactions and responses can affect the reaction and response of the partner. It can also serve to help the woman manage her own anxiety. Believing that we can control a situation or a person is a big responsibility and can be anxiety producing in itself. Being realistic about one’s own sphere of influence is a valuable tool in knowing what one can control.

10. Experts say that the best relationship you can have in your relationship with yourself. Sometimes in this fast paced mechanical world, it is easy to place everyone’s interests above ours and women are especially likely to do this. How can women consciously and continuously nourish themselves irrespective of whether they are single or in a relationship?

A friend shared an idea with me recently that has changed my life and the lives of many of my clients. She said to me one day, “I am going to treat myself like I would a man I was in love with.” So simple. So profound. I began to toy with the idea of what would happen if we turned that tender, loving energy that we would give a lover, inward, on ourselves.

What if we began to notice the little things that bring ourselves joy, and to do them as a gift to our lover-self? What if we made time to do the things that nurture our spirit as an act of pouring love on ourselves? How about speaking those little words of affirmation and support in an intimate whisper when we need to hear them most? Or looking deep into our own eyes and forgiving ourselves for not being perfect, embracing the broken pieces, just like we would the “other” in a relationship? Even the way we relate to our own bodies could change if we learned to accept and embrace them lovingly.

I began sharing this philosophy with my clients and they reported back with tears of fragile hope that poured down their faces when they looked themselves tenderly in the mirror and said, “I love you.” One client stated that he realized that he would never use the kind of talk or tone with a lover that he used with himself on a daily basis, and he began to change that negative internal dialogue. Another reported that her relationship was improving because she was displaying better boundaries with her spouse, spurred by her newly cultivated loving relationship with herself. Yet another reported that during his daily meditation time he focused that loving energy inward, and that it was a sacred experience for him to sit daily in the presence of that unconditional love.

About Carolyn Tucker

Carolyn is a National Board Certified psychotherapist, certified life coach and energy healer, is a graduate of Argosy University, and a former Harvard research assistant. She specializes in divorce issues, trauma and anxiety. Carolyn works with a broad spectrum of clients. Among her areas of expertise are relationship issues, pre and post divorce issues and custody communication, trauma, anxiety, and gay and lesbian relationship issues.

She uses a unique blend of mind/body interventions, coaching, energy medicine and extensive traditional therapy modalities. She is distance counseling certified and offers Skype, email and chat counseling and coaching for your ease and convenience.

Carolyn is a person-centered therapist. Her therapeutic approach is to provide support and practical feedback to help clients effectively address personal life challenges. She integrates complementary methodologies and techniques to offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each client.

With compassion and understanding, she works with each individual to help them build on their strengths and attain the personal growth they are committed to accomplishing. Carolyn is known for her warmth and nurturing support as well as her extensive training.

To know more about Carolyn Tucker, visit her website, or call her at 770-789-0847.


My Recent Interview: What Your Choices Are if You Believe Your Partner Has Been Unfaithful

Interview With Carolyn Tucker


December 4, 2012 By Leave a Comment

Q1. When someone suspects their partner or spouse is having an affair, what should they do? Should they confront them without having the proof or should they confront only after having the evidence?

I would suggest if someone suspects their partner or spouse is having an affair that they check in with themselves first. We all have natural intuition, the “red flag” feeling, and in this situation they really need to tune in to that feeling. It is important to remember what it felt like when they “just knew” someone was lying to them, or when they continued to probe something because “it just didn’t feel right.”

The reason I say this is because going into a situation where they feel someone may not be honest with them or might be deceiving them, they need their internal guidance system on “all systems go!”

They should step back for a while and watch for when the red flag feeling comes up and see if there is a pattern. This will lead them to all of the information they need to know. Breathing, getting centered and grounded and tuning in to intuition is definitely the wisest first move.

Q2. What do you suggest someone do when they see the red-flags and their natural intuition says something is wrong?

At this point I suggest that they get centered and notice what has changed.

  • Has their partner stopped seeking them out to spend time with them?
  • Has the partner begun spending more time away from home than is normal or are they away at odd hours?
  • Are they more secretive than usual?
  • Is the partner more attached to their phone or computer than normal or more secretive with it?
  • Is the partner responding to them differently physically?
  • Does the partner look them in the eye?

Many clients report that when their partner was being unfaithful that there was little eye contact. Does the partner still kiss them? The intimacy of kissing can be difficult to handle for someone who is being untrue.

These can all be soft signs that something may be going on. By noticing the things that have changed, it gives them an opportunity to really focus on the relationship as well. Looking closely at the relationship is important at this point because it may be that they themselves see something that has not been fulfilling or that is missing for them as well.

Becoming curious instead of angry or paranoid is the most helpful thing to do at this point. Choosing not to jump to conclusions right away gives them time to rationally and intuitively prepare for the eventual conversation that will occur.

Q3. So essentially, you are advising caution and giving their partner the benefit of doubt. At what point do you suggest someone have the conversation and should it be a conversation or a confrontation?

I am totally advising giving the partner the benefit of the doubt. Becoming curious instead of angry or paranoid has a benefit. It allows you to look at the situation without judgement. I have had clients who observed the relation up until this point in our process and discovered that they were not actually even happy in the relationship as it had existed for awhile.

This is important information! Becoming intentional about what you want at this point is key. After looking at the relationship with curious eyes, how does it look? Is it healthy? Is it fulfilling? Are there things that need to change? Are there things that are particularly good? All of this information will be important to bring into the conversation.

Having a frank conversation with yourself about what you expect from the conversation is important at this point. I know you are anxious to get to the conversation, but restraint and intention will allow a much more productive conversation.

Do you want to stay with your partner if what you suspect is true? Are you ready to walk away before you have the conversation? Your attitude going into the conversation will determine the course of the exchange. Running headlong into it will not benefit you.

I suggest that before the conversation that you attempt to get into the frame of mind where you are able to observe your partner from a place of gentleness and love. This is not easy if you are expecting to hear that they are cheating on you, but it will make all the difference in how the conversation goes and in what information you receive.

Picturing your partner as a small child who is afraid and vulnerable, or at a time when they were particularly open with you can help soften your approach. Practice assuming this soft and gentle demeanor towards your partner. The conversation depends on your ability to communicate from a place of compassion.

I do not suggest approaching the conversation attempting to find out if your partner is having an affair. I suggest a loving conversation about your own relationship with them. “I feel” statements are helpful.

Sharing with them your observations about how the relationship may have changed or things that you appreciate about the relationship is a good place to start. What you want to communicate at this point is a place of safety for your partner, combined with a loving presence.

It would be easy to run in and throw a nuclear bomb into the mix because you are hurt and angry, but this is never effective. Even if you plan to leave the relationship if there is infidelity, maintaining dignity and respect for the relationship will feel better in the long run.

Q4.  I think an important takeaway from your advice is “preparedness”- hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. So many people don’t really think through the process because they are anxious, confused, angry as a result of which they tend to have a confrontation than a conversation. I can understand why they would do that because it is so hurting and painful to think the person you trust and love the most is cheating on you.

Let me be a devil’s advocate here for a moment and ask you, is there a danger of this soft approach being taken advantage of by the suspected straying partner?

From what I hear from my readers, for the most part, the suspected straying partners almost always deny having an affair and very rarely are they willing to have this honest conversation. And to make matters worse, they get defensive and accuse their partner of cheating on them or being jealous or paranoid and controlling. What do you recommend someone do when they are trying to get to the root of the problem but have an uncooperative and hostile partner not willing to answer their questions?

Preparation for the conversation is indeed the most important thing. Know what you want and have all of the information you can gather from inside yourself so that you are able to make an informed decision.

First of all, I find that when you enter the conversation from a position that is not adversarial you tend to get more honest responses. When you do have a hostile and uncooperative partner, then knowing what you want is doubly important.

Are you willing to do the work to attempt to stay in the relationship or do you want to leave? Once you know the answers to this you can make better decisions.

I do not recommend going through their phone or their computer. Once the relationship gets to this place it is usually doomed. It is so tempting to gather information or “proof,” but you have to be prepared for the cost to the relationship and to your own self esteem if you proceed down this road.

I have had clients embark on all kinds of “protective” actions, like monitoring the phone bill or putting a keylogger on the computer. The relationships do not tend to last much longer after they reach this point because it is difficult to turn back after embarking on this surveillance journey.

Once you use these measures to feel “safe” then your partner only has to go deeper underground if they want to. It is a vicious cycle of mistrust and deceit. If you are looking at a divorce with custody issues it may be a different story, and I recommend that you follow the recommendations of your attorney in this case.

If you decide to stay in the relationship then boundaries are important. You cannot force a partner to be honest with you, but you can minimize opportunities for them to lie to you. Creating that safe environment is the most important piece to this.

Know that partners who lash back and project infidelity or lying on to you usually have something to hide. This is common in people who feel attacked, which is why I recommend a soft approach.

Practical concerns like potential STD’s are something that should be considered. Making decisions about whether a physical relationship is wise until issues are sorted out is part of the decision making process. If they persist in being angry or defensive, suggesting couple’s counseling is one course of action.

If you have decided that leaving is the best course of action for yourself, I would say that the hostile, uncooperative partner’s attitude is enough to spur you to consider whether the relationship is worthwhile. The hostile defensiveness is indicative of deep problems, whether infidelity or not. Individual counseling is a good idea to gain support in your decision making process.

I urge my clients to maintain their power at each step of decision making. You do this by making decisions based on logical, intentional, conscious information gathering, about yourself, your partner and your relationship. Following the impulse to fly off the handle and accuse only gives away your power and robs you of the opportunity to make wise decisions for yourself.

Q5. You mention, “Are you willing to do the work to attempt to stay in the relationship or do you want to leave?” I guess staying in the relationship is somewhat easier when the straying partner confesses the affair as opposed to a partner who still lies, deceives and continues having the affair.

Assuming the betrayed partner wants to save their marriage or relationship even when the straying partner has not confessed or ended the affair, what should they do- should they just wait for the affair to end its course or should they separate temporarily or should they work on themselves?

I never advise clients what to do in this case, I merely hold the space and inquire with them of their hearts and their intuition what feels right. Frequently they decide to separate in the same home or ask their partner to relocate during this process. When this is the case, I help my client do everything they can to keep their focus on the one thing they have control over- themselves.

Frequently we find that they have neglected self care and have been running on empty for a long time. We will institute a regime of self care that feels nurturing to them. Whether it is yoga and meditation, or running and a book club, rediscovering what brings them feelings of self love and nurture gives them the energy to face the relationship with a “full bucket” instead of exhaustion and panic.

Getting in touch with things that bring them joy is important as well. Noticing cloud shapes, blowing a dandelion or paying attention to the sound of music or the warmth of the fire can go so far towards creating a life that is joyful.

It is the little moments that we do not notice when we are ruled by the tyranny of the urgent that give us joy. When my clients start scanning their days for moments of joy they can then begin to string them together to make a quality of life that they may have been missing.

Time away from the relationship can offer time to reignite a passion, or to discover a new one. This is an exciting time for my clients, I find them coming in with pink cheeks and a smile on their faces.

Tapping in to something creative and re-engaging with life helps boost that life energy that they may have been missing. The best part of this entire process is that it is very attractive. The rediscovering of self-love, joy and passion and creativity is magnetic.

I find clients that have not had a good conversation with their partner in years will breathlessly share their new found passion for life and excitement with their partner, causing them to give a second glance. None of this is done with the intention of getting the partner’s attention, but I have found that it does have that effect.

When it does not have that effect, I have found that it helps ground my clients and to give them a vision of the future that they simply did not have before, so that no matter what the outcome, they are better prepared to thrive.

Q6. Interesting, for the most part what happens is you have the betrayed spouse in a constant state of panic and worry filled with negative thoughts and fear that their partner is having an affair. So they look for clues and evidence to confirm their fears- checking their partner’s cell phone, their computer, tracking their vehicles, checking their bank statements and credit cards, all of which is a natural reaction to a mind filled with conflicting thoughts. Needless to say, there is a lot of pain, hurt, grief and drama during this truth seeking phase.

And this continues till the point, they have undeniable evidence that their partner is cheating on them. At that point, they are even more hurt and angry because of the repeated lies. Unless the cheating spouse realizes the damage they have caused to their partner and family because of the affair, there is still lying, fighting, blaming and the denial to reveal the complete details of the affair.

Your philosophy seems to be more along the lines of Buddhism, where you encourage someone to look inwards and work on themselves to find inner peace and happiness than turn outwards where you may be looking for blame and suspicion and stop worrying about things that you cannot control.

Actually this does make sense, because so many readers have written to us that when they suspected their partner or spouse of having an affair or knew they were having an affair, they cried, begged, pleaded, threatened and even promised to change to become the person their spouse wants them to be, but none of this works for them and to make matters worse, they tend to backfire and push the straying partner further away.

However with your approach, the change you are seeking is for the right reason, it doesn’t come from a desperate state of mind, you are not doing it superficially because you want to win your spouse back but because it makes you feel good and makes you happy.

Assuming with this approach, the straying spouse notices the difference, finds this new change desirable, comes back and is willing to work on the marriage, how does the healing process begin and what needs to happen? Because the straying partner has betrayed the trust of their partner, hurt them immensely, exposed them to risk both financially and medically and caused a lot of shame and embarrassment to their family, they have to make it up to their partner and family. Talk us through the dos and don’t of the healing process for both the betrayed spouse and the straying spouse once both of them are committed to rebuilding their marriage after the affair.

Great question! The healing process is a delicate one. If the straying partner decides to return, then it is vital that the partners contract with each other to maintain the dignity of the partnership. This means the wronged party cannot throw dirty bombs or snipe. This is hard when you are tired or feeling insecure or wounded.

The transgressor is asked to show respect respect for the wronged party and the emotional risk they are taking in continuing the relationship. The partners must continue on equal footing, not one where one must kiss the other’s feet or be forced to live in fear that their partner may decide they are not worth the effort and walk out.

At this point both partners have made a conscious decision to be in the relationship, therefore giving up any right to holding more power than the other. There is an emotional vulnerability on both parts, and finding equilibrium may take some work. The errant partner often has as difficult time as the wronged partner because they elect to sit with their injured lover and to bear witness to their healing.

It can be very pain filled and guilt inducing. The wronged partner has a long journey of healing and it can be filled with anxiety. It is not an easy path for either partner, but for the right people it can be an amazing voyage of self discovery.

Committing to “hold the space” and allowing feelings to open naturally is the only way this will work. Good clear communication and reassurance when needed are the tools. There is the temptation to twist oneself into a pretzel trying to produce an atmosphere of trust at this point for both parties. This may be a little unrealistic.

Sitting with each other when feelings of insecurity come up (either feelings of fear, anger or wounding on the part of the injured party, or feelings of being scrutinized, judged or futility on the part of the transgressor) and allowing the feelings to exist without judgment in the presence of love can be very healing. Sometimes, just breathing together is all you can manage. Sometimes that is enough.

It is a slow process, learning to trust again, and rebuilding what was broken is a slow process, but it can be done.

Q7. Based on what you say, it really requires a magnanimous attitude from the betrayed partner because it is incredibly hard for them to accept the fact that the partners must continue on equal footing when they may feel otherwise.

They may think, ‘My partner had an affair, it was their choice, no one forced them to have an affair. While problems may have existed prior to the affair, they have to take a 100% responsibility of the affair’

A number of betrayed partners after the affair feel the need to have access to their partner’s email, computer and cell phone at least for a reasonable period of time because the trust has been broken by the straying partner and it takes time before they can trust their partner again.

They also feel the need to have all their questions about their partner’s affair be answered in order for them to heal since their mind is constantly obsessing over the details. They have problems with infidelity triggers and memories, mood swings and random episodes of crying and anger, all of which stems from the recollection of the affair. Sometimes it may take a year or two for the betrayed partner for healing process to be complete.

So in a way, the straying partner has to show a lot of patience and work hard to help the betrayed partner heal from the affair.

These are the typical expectations and feelings of a betrayed partner after the affair. Would it be unfair for the betrayed partner to have these feelings and expectations? What problems do you see, if any, with this attitude?

This really is a process of shifting from the place of fear to the place of love, and it can be a very difficult journey. Many choose not to walk it. For those that do, even society may prove a hindrance.

What people believe you should or shouldn’t “put up with” can become a pronouncement on the one who chooses to stay. It can be a lonely place without much support. What’s more is that the emotions are a tossing, turning, swirling sea of anger, pain, sadness and confusion.

Sharing details of the affair more than how it happened and the emotional course of it is not always wise. The details give mental images that may never heal. As much as a partner thinks they want to know and need to know, it may not always be wise. The bare minimum of details that can allow the wronged partner to understand it the better, though this may feel contrary to what they want.

It can become a compulsion to have the straying partner catalog their sins over and over, and can tend to be more self injurious than productive for the wronged party. Hearing details of their partners intimacies with another can become a way for them to punish themselves for not being “enough.”

The wronged partner is entitled to have any emotion that comes up. I suggest to my clients that they “allow” their emotions to flow naturally, without resistance. Since emotions are “energy in motion” in our bodies, that want to be literally expressed or “squeezed out,” resisting these emotions causes them to become trapped, and causes discomfort.

Really taking the time to drop their awareness into the area that the uncomfortable energy exists in their bodies, and to allow the energy to flow through the body without resistance, can help them heal faster, and to be more comfortable with the difficult emotional experience.

A lot of work is required of both parties. The straying partner is required to give a heartfelt apology and the assurance that all precautions will be taken to prevent it from happening again.

I usually recommend shared passwords, and access to all information, however I urge both parties to try to avoid leaning in this as a means of preventing any future bad behavior.

It simply isn’t effective to control another person. Being in a relationship is simply not “safe.” There are always risks when you open yourself up to another person. Learning to be alright in spite of taking a risk is the key to happiness in a relationship. This is why I recommend such deep personal work by both parties apart from the relationship.

The straying partner does have a lot of work and reassurance to do to help their partner heal. In my experience these partners are willing to do what they can to redeem themselves and to heal the relationship because they are so grateful for the chance to make things right.

One caution I would make is that this partner can become demotivated and get down on themselves if their efforts are not received and acknowledged in a loving manner.

I have seen relationships where this party has become the scapegoat, and has taken a lashing for years in hopes of righting the wrong. If we are looking to re-establish relationship and to rebuild after the reconciliation then obviously this continued flogging is counter to what should be occurring.

This is redemptive work, and again I will repeat, it is not for he feint of heart. Knowing themselves, both parties have to assess their goals and decide if they are willing to do what it takes to repair the relationship.

Q8. Some of our readers have written to us that even though they have tried to forgive their spouse for the affair they have a really tough time truly forgiving them. In a way, it is as if a part of them never wants to forgive their spouse or let go off the affair. As you mentioned earlier, these are typically the people who know too many details of the affair and these details comes back to haunt them. What do you recommend someone do when they are stuck in the forgiveness process and are unable to move forward? Is there anything the straying spouse can do to make forgiving them easier?

Unfortunately, this piece is not up to the straying partner to fix. If it were, I think the process would be much easier. For the wronged party, it is a matter of deciding that they do not want to be unhappy anymore. Forgiveness is a decision, albeit a decision that will have to be recommitted to with every memory and every trigger.

The grieving process must be honored, and all of the steps worked through, but ultimately, forgiveness is a decision. In therapy, there are skills, such as thought stopping, mindfulness and distraction that help the clients in coping with the pain.

Here are some techniques that are very helpful in dealing with unwanted thoughts that cause us pain.

Thought stopping is the act of noticing when your thoughts wander towards the topic that give you discomfort (in this case, the infidelity) and purposefully stopping that thought. I coach my clients that when their minds wander where we would prefer them not to go, to throw up a big red stop sign in their imagination, and immediately use that as their trigger to think of what to cook for dinner, for instance. There are many other forms of thought stopping.

One technique that is effective for some people is to wear a rubber band around their wrist and to snap it when a distressing thought comes up. The negative stimulus can encourage the mind to refrain from going there.

Mindfulness is the process of living in the moment. It is the act of focusing on this minute, right here in this room, being fully present with what is in front of you. When thoughts start to wander, immediate focus on bodily sensations is helpful.

Talking yourself through “I feel the floor under my feet, I feel the chair under my legs, I feel the cool air in the room, I smell the flowers from the vase on the table.” Being present in your body allows you to fully immerse yourself in the moment and thus avoiding the harmful thoughts of the past.

Distraction is just as it sounds. Making sure that you keep a list of activities available to take your mind off of the infidelity. When you start with the uncomfortable thoughts, watch a movie, immerse yourself in a book for awhile, go to a sporting event or pop in an exercise DVD. Anything that engages your mind and keeps it off of the pain you are feeling is helpful.

All of this boils down to realizing that you have power, that you can be intentional in your responses, and that you can make choices that honor the path you choose to take in life.

And again, the power is back in the wronged party’s court. That is what I love about this process. It allows the wronged party to maintain control of what they can control, and to have the dignity of making their own decisions.

About Carolyn Tucker

Carolyn is a National Board Certified psychotherapist, certified life coach and energy healer,  is a graduate of Argosy University, and a Harvard research assistant. She specializes in divorce issues, trauma and  anxiety. Carolyn works with a broad spectrum of clients. Among her areas of expertise are relationship issues, pre and post divorce issues and custody communication, trauma, anxiety,  and gay and lesbian relationship issues.

She uses a unique blend of mind/body interventions, coaching, energy medicine and extensive traditional therapy modalities. She is distance counseling certified and offers Skype, email and chat counseling and coaching for your ease and convenience.

Carolyn is a person-centered therapist. Her therapeutic approach is to provide support and practical feedback to help clients effectively address personal life challenges. She integrates complementary methodologies and techniques to offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each client.

With compassion and understanding, she works with each individual to help them build on their strengths and attain the personal growth they are committed to accomplishing. Carolyn is known for her warmth and nurturing support as well as her extensive training.

To know more about Carolyn Tucker, visit her website, or call her at 770-789-0847.

Suspected nfidelity can cause anxiety levels to soar and may give you the desire to control or monitor you partner. This is never effective. Reach out for help in maintaining healthy boundaries and learn to thrive in your relationship.

Suspected infidelity can cause anxiety levels to soar and may give you the desire to control or monitor you partner. This is never effective. Reach out for help in maintaining healthy boundaries and learn to thrive in your relationship.

Anxiety and the Horrible Breakup

So your relationship is over? Whether it is a divorce, a breakup with a long time partner or the dissolution of something that you felt would have potential, breakups are painful. My clients report being in literal physical pain after a breakup, and many do not know how to soothe the pain or where to turn to get better. Let’s discuss the energy of ending a relationship.

When a relationship ends there is a grieving process that is rivaled only by death. I have heard some say that death might be easier.  I believe it was Alice Cooper that said he felt like  “the man with no skin” after a breakup. This is echoed by my clients over and over. One client stated that she felt like someone had poured gasoline on her and lit her on fire. This is no small pain.

Anxiety prevails alongside the pain as the major emotion that is reported to me. What will I do now? Will she come back? Is it really over? Will I ever really heal? Having to rebuild a life that you thought would be different is a monumental task when you are in pain and twisted in knots with anxiety. Doubting your ability to make decisions and lack of confidence in yourself comes with the blow to the self esteem. Learning who you are all over again seems impossible, since it feels like half of your identity walked out the door.

I have been told that the feeling of grief of losing someone is the same feeling of loving someone. The difference is the story that the brain is telling about the sensation. Since you are already in that energetic space in your body, you can leverage the energy by focusing on something that you love and dwelling on that instead of the lost partner. Learning to shift out of the energy of grief and into the energy of love is very helpful in transforming the pain. Transform the focus from the lost partner to your dog, or your child, or even your wounded self can help change the story your mind is telling your body.

Allowing the pain and anxiety to flow through your body without resistance is so important. If you resist the waves of pain and anxiety they will set up residence in your body and will be unremitting. If you can focus on your body, visualize the pain there as transitory and actually visualize it passing through you you will find some comfort.

Common advice like the “no contact rule” is hard to follow, but I promise if you block their number, unfriend them on Facebook, and give yourself a chance to breathe, you will feel a small surge in anxiety at first, but you will notice a feeling almost like a buffer between you and the energetic tie to the partner. There may be times that feel almost like panic when you realize that those ties of communication are cut, but if you breathe through the panic, and get really grounded (notice the sensations in your body, be aware of what is going on in the moment, feel your feet on the floor) the panic will pass.

Actually determine what your emotional needs are. Do you need to socialize? Friends are a life line during this time. Lean on them and let them meet some of your social needs. Do you need to spend some time in the cave? Stock up on comfort food and Kleenex and give yourself time alone to lick your wounds. Do you need to keep busy? Make some plans to start a project, finish one, or pitch in to help someone else with theirs. Really knowing what you need during this time will help you process the grief.

 When you love someone, what you are really loving is how YOU feel when you think about that person. Given this, know that you can feel that way again about someone else because the feeling comes from within you. During a breakup it is hard to look for the gift. You will know that you are beginning to heal when you notice that you can look at the things you brought out of the relationship that made you stronger, helped you learn to love deeper, or that made you a better communicator.

In some people the discomfort passes quickly, in others it feels that it will never go away. Learning to function with the pain and anxiety is key to moving on and thriving after a breakup. Look for small things that bring you joy, notice the change of the seasons, really tune in to others, looking for things you have in common. Making deep connections with others is an activity that stimulates oxytocin, the bonding hormone, and can help ease the pain for awhile.

You will get better. One day you will wake up and notice that it does not hurt to breathe, or that you are looking forward to your day. When you can tell your story without wanting to cry you will know that healing is taking place. Until then, be very gentle with yourself. You deserve your love!

The anxiety of what your life is going to be like after a breakup is very uncomfortable, but there are a few things you can do to help you to understand the healing process and to ease the discomfort. If you find that the grief if not passing and that you are not able to move on, maybe counseling or life coaching are an option that could help you. Feel free to call me at 770-789-0847 or see my website at to set an appointment.

Anxiety and the Missing Boundary

Some of us have poor boundaries. Let’s admit it. When we were growing up we were shamed or ridiculed or bullied for asking for our needs to be met. We might have been made to feel “less than” when we stated what we wanted. This left us with a sense that we are not worthy to protect ourselves, that we are selfish or ridiculous to ask others not to trample us with their words or actions.

This lack of boundaries can cause serious anxiety in us and our relationships, causing us to “over-give” “over commit” or “over accommodate” in an attempt to earn the behavior from the other that we desire, or to put up with bad behavior because we are afraid of having the negative feelings of childhood triggered when the other responds to our boundaries. Couple this with the fact that we tend to be attracted to people whose issues and needs are the opposite of ours and we have a scenario that is bound to keep us in knots.

Developing loving, firm boundaries is essential to maintaining self esteem and a sense of safety in a relationship. Without these boundaries we set ourselves up for mistreatment and resentment whether active or passive. People with poor boundaries have trouble getting in touch with a sense of righteous anger when they have been wronged. They internalize the anger and feel shame that they were not “worth” being treated well or respected.

Learning good communication skills goes a long way towards being able to assertively state your needs. I frequently have my clients practice taking a deep breath to get centered and saying in a very neutral tone  “I feel hurt when you ______, what can you do to help me with that?” in an attempt to get the partner on their “team” and to express their needs without anger. I also like for clients to confront bad behavior in a neutral tone and to move on afterwards so that everything doesn’t have to be about conflict and confrontation “It is not ok for you to speak to me in that tone of voice. What would you like to have for dinner?”  allows you to confront the behavior and to move to a less emotionally charged subject. If the partner does not respond to this gentle confrontation then there are more direct ways of addressing the issues. However since people with poor boundaries tend to be highly anxious I like to start with gently addressing the behavior in a way that feels less aggressive.

Boundaries define who we are. They establish ‘what is me’ and ‘what isn’t me.’ Personal Boundaries help us create ownership and protection of ourselves. Boundaries are our personal security. Limits are really about having preferences. It is deciding who you are; who you aren’t, what is a part of your reality and what isn’t a part of your reality. It’s no different from saying I don’t like Chinese food therefore I won’t eat it, and I like Thai food and therefore I do eat it. Preferences and limits establish a strong sense of ‘who you are,’ which means that only certain aspects of life and others can enter your ‘field of reality’. Life is an unlimited and assorted mix, and we have always filled our personal world with whatever frequency we are vibrating at. Saying “Yes” to certain aspects and “No” to others shapes and creates this vibration – thereby shaping the truth of our life.

Honoring who we are and what we desire and will and will not accept protects the other person in the relationship also. If you internalize your negative feelings about an interaction then they do not have the opportunity to self correct and to be who you need in the relationship. They may actually end up losing you due to your refusal to give feedback that would allow them to meet your needs. You are really doing a kindness when you offer them this opportunity, and you are nurturing your relationship.

Stating boundaries can feel scary at first, especially after a lifetime of not expressing your needs, but getting clear on what is and isn’t you will assure that you maintain your truth in a relationship. If certain situations and people aren’t matching your truth, they will either adjust their behavior or depart from your reality. Boundaries can be a gift to others as well as protection for your time and resources. Telling someone no can be a sign of trust and respect. Setting boundaries with others gives them permission to do the same.

Learning communication skills to help you assertively state your truth is vital to a healthy relationship. If you do not have good skills I urge you to seek out a qualified psychotherapist or life coach to assist you in expanding your communication tool box. Feel free to contact me for further information on setting boundaries  at 770-789-0847, email me at or see my website at to set an appointment to discuss your needs.