Mate Poaching | 3 Reasons Why Women Do It

Most women would probably admit that at some point in their life, they have been attracted to someone who is already married, but they would never think of trying to do anything to lure the man away from his wife.  However, for some women, they only seek out married and committed men to have a relationship with. 

Mate Poaching is a term coined by David Buss several years ago in his book entitled “Evolution of Desire” that defines the behavior of men and women who purposely seek out people in a committed relationship.  A study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology by Oklahoma State University found that of the single women in the study who were told their “match” was currently in a romantic relationship, 90% said they would pursue the man knowing he was not single.  Dionne Mahoffey wrote a book on the subject entitled, “Girl, Leave Her Man Alone”.  Websites like actually promote married people having affairs. 

Why do women Mate PoachThere are several perceived benefits such as the excitement of an affair, the feeling of being “chosen” over someone else, being lavished with expensive gifts, and the feelings of power and control because there is no commitment on the part of the “poacher”.  Although some of these women may say they don’t need a man, most do desire a committed relationship and there are three reasons that may contribute to a woman engaging in Mate Poaching

Low Self Esteem – Women with low self-esteem oftentimes have a belief that they are not good enough to be “the wife”.  Sometimes, they have been abused or mistreated in a relationship so their defense mechanism against being hurt again is to seek after relationships they know will not be a committed one.  The woman may also relate her self worth to her appearance so she will feel good about herself when she can successfully “catch” a married man.  

Sex Addiction – For women who are sex addicts, Mate Poaching is a behavior they want to stop doing, but are unable to stop without help through therapy.  There are several factors that contribute to a women becoming a sex addict including childhood sexual abuse.  Sex addicts may feel guilty and ashamed, but will continue Mate Poaching even after suffering bad consequences unless they seek professional help.

Power & Control – Some women will say they Mate Poach because they like being the “one in control” of the relationship…that they can “leave it anytime they want” and there are no “strings attached”.  The truth is that when a person must feel like they are in “control” of a relationship, it is usually because they have a fear of abandonment or commitment.  They may have a need to feel safe because they have been abused or hurt in the past and so they think if they “control” a man, they feel safe.  In reality, the woman engaging in “Mate Poaching” is controlled by the desires of the married man. He is the one who chooses when to see her, if he will leave his wife, and is usually the one who ends the affair.

Regardless of the reason, Mate Poaching can lead to emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual pain and/or harm for the women engaging in the behavior as well as the married man and his family. 

5 Reasons Married Couples Should Never Stop Dating

When we date, we present our best self, show an interest in the person we are dating, make time for them, spend time thinking about them, communicating with them, and usually can’t wait to see them at the end of our day. Dating allows us to dream about the future, share our ups and downs and feel like we are not alone in life’s journey.

Then we get engaged, get married, take on a mortgage, work hard to build careers, raise children and become consumed with busyness that leaves little time for our marriage to be a priority. In addition, some couples are blending families, have community and church commitments…the list of obligations that take our time and attention can go on and on.


keeps the Marriage a Priority. Dating says I love you, you are important to me. Purposely planning a weekly date forces you to think about your partner, look forward to having a fun or romantic time together, and helps the marriage stay a priority. I recommend making a decision that if we don’t have time for a date for just the two of us, then we don’t have time for friends and family. Sometimes we spend all of our free time with people we love to be with, but it robs us of the opportunity for that special time we need to connect on a regular basis. Keep enjoying time with friends and family, but try to make time for a date before you make plans with other people.

provides an opportunity to learn new things about each other. One of the best things about dating someone new is skiingthat you get to learn about them. Dating allows you to continue to learn new things about each other. For example, spend time on your date only talking about the two of you. Try new activities and ask each other open-ended questions like, “What is your greatest fear?” “What is your best childhood memory?” Also, take time to share your likes and dislike and have fun getting to know each other as you each grow as individuals over your life time.

sets an example for your children. I believe the best gift you give your children is the example of a healthy marriage (not a perfect one, a healthy one). Your kids will see you make the marriage a priority, spend time together without them, and learn how to treat a partner by your example. Too often, the children can become the priority over the marriage. Remember, one of the most important parental goals you have is to raise your children as a team to become independent of you one day so if the marriage isn’t the priority during the years you are raising children, it can be very difficult to reconnect during the empty-nester years. bike riding

strengthens sexual intimacy. Most couples I see who are not dating tend to have poor relational intimacy and often times end up in sexless marriages. When you are out on a date, you may be dressed up, laughing, creating romance, and usually feel more connected. Staying home in comfy clothes snuggle on the couch, watching a movie while the kids spend the night with grandparents can also provide an opportunity to connect sexually. Dating provides the opportunity to talk about sex and to experience sexual arousal and stronger relational connection.

makes all other areas of life easier. The stressors of life seem so much easier when we are connected as a couple. Dating keeps us connected and reminds us that we are a priority to each other, that we are a team, we are on the journey of life together, and that someone is always there for us through the good and bad times life brings. Jobs, friends, and finances can change, but your marriage bond is the one constant in life that can help you live life to the fullest as you enjoy the blessings and survive the challenges of the human experience. If you have stopped dating, please make that reservation this week to start making the marriage relationship the priority again and enjoy the journey of being life-mates! Have fun!

“Angerholic” | 5 Signs of Anger Addiction

Do you know someone who seems to be irritable all the time or “flies off the handle” and goes into a rage over something that doesn’t go their way? Do you have family members or friends who hurt people with verbal or physical abuse and then feel really bad about it, apologize, promise never to do it again…only to end up doing it again and again?

Causes for uncontrollable anger may stem from childhood neglect, abuse, or trauma, underdeveloped emotions, learned behavior, enjoyment of the adrenaline rush, lack of conflict resolution skills, abandonment and trust issues, the need to feel in control, or the need to feel safe.

The Importance of Anger in the Betrayal Trauma Healing Journey with Dr. Crystal Hollenbeck

Anger is an emotion everyone experiences, but some people develop an addiction to being in a state of Anger or become an “Angerholic” because it may be the only emotion that they know how to express when they have an unmet need. Psychology professionals continue to discuss multiple theories of addiction origin and treatment, but there is no doubt that Anger Addiction is an ongoing issue affecting many people seeking counseling and ongoing research is needed.

BAAM’s 2008 Boiling Point Report provides the following statistics taken from a survey of 2000 people:

  • 32% have a close friend or family member who has trouble controlling their anger.
  • 12% say that they have trouble controlling their own anger.
  • 28% say that they worry about how angry they sometimes feel.
  • 20% say that they have ended a relationship or friendship with someone because of how they behaved when they were angry.
  • 64% either strongly agree or agree that people in general are getting angrier.

There are many reasons people may be “getting angry”, but if anger is causing problems for you or someone you love, there is help available through Anger Management Therapy to address the issues and develop the skills needed to manage Anger. Below are 5 Warning Signs that may indicate someone is an “Angerholic”.

5 Signs of Anger Addiction

  1. Excessive Irritability – This is when a person seems to be irritable most of the time, even when there is no known reason to be irritable. Also, there is an increase “over the years” instead of a decrease with maturity. This may be evident in an adolescent that matures into their adult life continuing to display irritability most of the time.
  1. Isolation & Secret Grudges – Another sign is if a person who is irritable a lot seems to also like to spend time alone and not enjoy being around other people. They may seem to hold a grudge against people who they believe have done them wrong. Perhaps they were caught doing something in anger secretively such as destroying photos, making false accusations against a person, or destroying someone else’s property in anger.
  1. Outbursts of Anger – If a person has anger outbursts in response to anything that doesn’t go the way the wanted, they are not able to adjust to change without an angry outburst, or they get people to do what they want by having an angry outburst are all behaviors that indicate a serious problem with anger.
  1. Critical and Sarcastic Attitude – If someone uses negativity and sarcasm to communicate most of the time whether the criticism is directed at themselves or others is a sign of unhealthy communication rooted in anger.
  1. Feelings of Guilt and Shame – When someone is aware of their issue with anger, they may express feelings of guilt and shame and make several attempts to change unsuccessfully. The inability to stop engaging in anger driven thoughts, emotions, and behaviors on their own is a sure sign of addiction.


5 Tips for Solving Family Feuds

Every family will experience conflicts at some time or another throughout a life time.  Special occasions, events, and holidays can be difficult when family members are at odds with each other due to unresolved issues.  Attempting to resolve problems within a family always leads to a happier and healthier family dynamic.   The next time you are facing an issue in your family – try following these 5 Tips. 

1.  Remind Yourself…The Problem is the Problem, Not the Person:  When we are at odds with a family member, just hearing their name can make us have feelings of anger and distress.  We can lose sight of what the problem is and begin to hate the person.  Anxiety and anger can cloud our judgment and ability to reason.  Stay focused on what the problem is and what specifically happened.  Remember, we are all capable as human beings to hurt others in some way.  Take a minute and imagine if you were the one who did the wrong and how that may feel.  The person you are in conflict with will be in your family forever, the problem causing the conflict only exists as long as the family allows it to. 

2.  Own Up to Your Part:  Take some time to think about how you may be contributing to the problem.  Sometimes the pain is so overwhelming that we can’t see where we may be contributing to the problem, or our part in the problem may not be clear to us.  Perhaps your part is that you feel stuck and can’t forgive and move forward.  Perhaps you are avoiding addressing the issue because you prefer not to engage in drama, or maybe you simply hate conflict. 

3.  Have a Resolution Idea Before the Confrontation:  Think of at least two ideas of how you think the problem can be resolved.  Next, schedule a meeting with the family member or members and state the problem, own your part, listen to what they have to say, and offer your ideas for resolution.  Be willing to hear their ideas and work together to come to an agreement.  If the entire issue can’t be resolved in one meeting, set a time to meet again and continue the process of working toward complete resolution and restoration of the relationship.  Let the other person know that restoration is important to you.

4.  Realize It Takes Two:  A relationship does not exist without more than one person.  It takes two to fight and two to make up.  Sometime we simply can’t resolve an issue no matter how hard we try.  We have to accept the fact that at least for the present time, the relationship is over.  This is challenging in a family because you may be forced to spend time with them at family functions throughout your life time.  When this happens, make sure you have peace that you have tried your best and then work toward managing your emotions at family events so can enjoy yourself.  Remember…the only person you can control is You! 

5.  Seek Counseling When Needed:  Sometimes, people are so emotionally hurt or the issue is so complex that an objective third party is necessary to help both family members have a voice and work together to resolve issues and restore the relationship.  When you feel like you have tried to mend the relationship with no success, try suggesting that you and the other family member or members schedule a counseling session together.  Remember, the bottom line is restoring the relationship and enjoying peace and harmony in the family.  Healthy relationships are part your overall mental and emotional well-being and learning to resolve conflict is a life skill we all need to develop. 

There is Hope for Healing that leads to Harmony in Life through Counseling!  


3 Facts Every Couple Should Know About Sex

As a Certified Sex Therapist and Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, I help couples address a broad spectrum of sexual issues. In my experience, I believe there are three basic facts that all couples should know to help them maintain a healthy sexual relationship that is intimate and fulfilling for both partners.images

1.  You Have To Talk About Sex

Communication is the Foundation of Relationship and we all know how important talking to each other…really talking to each other, is to the success of any partnership. Many of the couples I help in Sex Therapy treatment and Couples Counseling have never really talked about sex. There are very valid reasons for avoiding the subject.   Probably the most common reason is the fear of hurting each other’s feelings.  We don’t want to hurt the person we love or embarrass them (or ourselves). Then there is the belief that you just don’t talk about sex…yes, even in today’s world children are being raised in a home and culture where talking about sex is taboo.  So couples simply do not know what questions to ask or how to go about approaching the topic. Regardless of the reason for not talking about sex, every couple should be talking about it. One easy way to begin would be to make an effort to bring up the topic with your partner on your next date night by sharing something you really love about having sex with them. Also, think about purchasing a book on the topic and read it together in the evening. Both of these suggestions will most likely break the ice and help you both feel more natural discussing the topic and help you grow even closer as a couple.

2.  Sexual Problems Are Very Common

Don’t ever base the quality of your sex life together on performance. There are a large number of potential sexual problems that can occur for a couple over the lifespan. As a couple, your goal should be enjoying each other sexually as a natural extension of your relationship. The goal should not be having an orgasm, or having to perform for a length of time, or a certain number of times a week you have to have sex. Every couple is unique and will most likely experience some type of sexual dilemma during their relationship over a life span. Anxiety, depression, age, disease, stress, physical illness, trauma, differing desire levels, pregnancy, hormones, biology, genes, beliefs, and surgery are just a few of the many factors that affect a couple’s sexual interaction.   There is nothing to be embarrassed about, sexual issues are a part of life and are treatable. When you and your partner begin to experience sexual issues, remember you are a team and together you can address the problems with success.   Be open and talk about the sexual problem, be supportive of each other, get educated on the issue you are experiencing, and if you can’t solve it on your own or with your medical doctor, then meet with a Certified Sex Therapist and they will most likely help you solve the problem.  get-2

3.  A Healthy Sexual Relationship is a Collaborative Process

In order for a couple to enjoy a healthy and fulfilling sexual relationship, they must understand that it is a collaborative process. Remember you are a team, partners in every aspect of your relationship and your sexual relationship is no different than any other area.  Below are the characteristics of a collaborative process that must be applied as a couple in order to successfully address sexual problems when they exist. Discuss these as a couple alone or with a Couples Therapist to help you and your partner successfully resolve sexual problems.

  • Parity Within The Couple
  • Mutual Goals
  • Shared Responsibility for Participation
  • Shared Responsibility for Decision Making
  • Shared Resources
  • Shared Accountability for Outcomes
  • Reliability on Mutual Trust
The Key to Happiness is Gratitude – not Attitude

4 Ways to Practice Gratitude:

Having a positive attitude is a great way to face life every day, but if you do not know how to embrace and practice gratitude, you may still be unhappy.  In the busy world we live in, it can be very difficult to be grateful, especially when we are facing challenges with our relationships, family, finances, or health issues.  Many times in counseling, clients will tell me they are optimistic and have a positive attitude, but they still feel unhappy.  This is usually a result of a disconnect existing between what they are thinking and feeling.  To be happy and healthy regardless of life’s circumstances, we must allow ourselves to connect our thoughts with emotions and spiritual beliefs.  Try these four easy ways to practice embracing gratitude every day.  Then notice how you start feeling calmer and happier even when your circumstances stay the same. 

Be Thankful Two Times a Day:  When gratitude is at the beginning and end of your day – every day will be a good one.  Two things will happen to every person every day…we wake up and we go to sleep.  How we start and end our day is essential to our state of happiness.  Regardless of what time we get up or go to sleep, most of us have some kind of routine like taking a shower and getting dressed in the morning or getting our bed clothes on and saying “good night” to our loved ones in the evening.  Although we can’t always control how our day will go, we can always find something to be grateful for.   Metal health experts suggest that expressing gratitude can be a great way to start and end your day in a way that nurtures our mental and emotional wellbeing.  Try making it a habit during your morning and evening routine to express gratitude out loud and notice how different your days are!    

Be Specific in Your Gratitude:  Be sure to be specific when you are acknowledging what you are thankful for.  Try saying both what you THINK and how you FEEL.  This allows the brain to think specifically and connect with a feeling emotionally so you are more likely to be positively impacted for overall wellbeing.  For example, don’t just say, “I am thankful to be healthy”, but think about what being healthy means for you.  Instead, say, “I am so thankful that I can see the beautiful colors of the clothes I am wearing today, because wearing this outfit makes me feel pretty”, or, “I am so thankful I can ride bikes with my daughter today after school because I feel happy when we spend time together riding bikes.”   

Share Your Gratitude:  Text, email, tweet, facebook, or call someone and share your specific thoughts and feelings of gratitude with other people.  Try it…it only takes a few minutes to share what you are thankful for with your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, store clerks, waiters, or whoever you have an opportunity to connect with.  This is a way to “pay it forward”…sharing your gratitude with others will be a blessing to you and them.  Multiple research studies have shown that sharing gratitude strengthens marriages and improves your health.

Include Your Faith:  Whether you are embracing gratitude or sharing it, include your faith practices with your thoughts and feelings.  For example, if you are a Christian, you may want to include thanking the Lord through the practice of prayer, or reading a scripture each morning for inspiration, or sharing a testimony in church.  Research studies support the idea that including whatever faith you practice into your daily gratitude routine will strengthen your overall mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.  

Sometimes in life we just can’t find reasons to be grateful.  If you find yourself struggling to be grateful, feel overwhelmed at the end of every day, or have had significant changes in your life – you may benefit from talking with a counselor who can help you work through your struggles to develop and maintain strong mental and emotional wellbeing. 

New Year Resolutions | Don’t Forget Relationships

As you are making your list of New Year Resolutions with goals to lose weight, exercise more, spend less, save more, and get organized…don’t forget to add your Relationship Resolutions.  These are resolutions to reconnect with people you haven’t talked with in a long time, attempts to mend broken relationships, and commitments to growing relational intimacy with the people you are in daily contact with.

We know that strong and healthy relationships with other people help us stay healthy both emotionally and physically.  Social networking has made staying connected to people easier than ever, but how many of these connections are actual relationships?  You may have 435 friends on Facebook and 352 people following you on Twitter, but how many of those people could you actually call if you needed something?  How many do you actually get together for lunch with on a regular basis?

3 Relationship Resolutions to Consider Adding to Your List:

Reconnect:  Has a job moved you away from friends and family?  Has a romantic relationship caused you to let go of some friendships that you once cherished?  If so, why not make a resolution to reconnect with people you have a history with.  Facebook may be the tool you can use to reconnect, but resolve to go beyond postings on Facebook and take steps to talk on the phone, plan to visit on vacation, or get lunch together every week or month to stay connected.  Reconnecting with someone you share a history with will give you a sense of feeling grounded and safe, especially when life gets challenging.

Reach Out to Repair:  Think of people you have had disagreements with that ended your relationship with them… Are you both waiting for the other one to apologize?  Do you miss having him or her in your life?  Don’t waste another year letting anger or pride stand in the way of restoring a relationship with someone you care about.  Consider making a resolution to reach out and attempt to repair the relationship by making a phone call or writing a letter from the heart.  Even if the relationship is not restored, you will feel better and have peace of mind knowing you have done your part to reach out.

Renew:  What about the people you live with, work with, and spend time with on a daily or weekly basis… Take some time to assess the state of these relationships and consider making resolutions to renew how you value them.  Are you and your spouse enjoying a weekly date night?  When is the last time you did something with your kids that involved everyone turning their phones off and enjoying time together?  How often do you notice what a co-worker is doing well and take time to praise them for it?  Have you ever invited your neighbors over for dinner?

Relationship Resolutions are perhaps the most important ones to add to our list for the new year because we all need each other for support, fulfillment, and overall emotional and physical wellbeing.   If you find yourself wanting to make relationship resolutions, but are struggling with reconnecting, reaching out, or renewing relationships – consider seeking the help of a counselor who can work with you to accomplish your goals.  When we maintain healthy relationships, we will most likely be more successful at accomplishing all of our New Year Resolutions.

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