Life According To Lenson
LOS ANGELES— Do you have a question about something in your life you would like to learn, change or solve? Submit your questions to life coach Eileen Lenson.
Q: I went out a couple of times with other women - work related - but it was dinner meetings and I didn't tell my girlfriend because I didn't think it was a big deal. She found out, and now she doesn't trust me.
A: The foundation for any relationship is trust. When your relationship hits the proverbial pothole in the road, you've got to have to have that foundation of trust, or your relationship will falter. To be trustworthy, make sure your actions match your words, and you do what you say you are going to do.
Q: I am an attractive, 27 year old single woman, and would like to find my soul mate. But every time I date a guy for more than a couple of months, I find myself getting bored. I think I'm too much woman for them.
A: It is likely that you are not permitting the men in your life to know you. Take the risk in the relationship by communicating who you are. Self-disclosure lets your date know who you are, what you need, how you feel....in other words, it reveals who you are. Through self-disclosure, your date will likely reciprocate with improved communication. Intimacy will replace the superficial relationships that have resulted in boredom with your previous relationships.
Q: I take care of other people's dogs in my home. I make it very clear when they drop off their dogs that pick up time is 7pm. I have one couple who frequently come 8 or even as late as 10:30pm to pick up their dog. I'm so tired by that time, and am resenting them. But I really do like their dog.
A: I'm glad you like the dog, but don't let your feelings cloud your business relationships. The owners are taking advantage of both your bond with their dog and your passivity.
You did the correct thing by clearly contracting with the dog owners as to the time of pick up. Now, you have two choices. You can either develop a late pick up fee, with incremental late fees for every additional 15 minutes of dog sitting you are required to do after 7pm. Or, if no amount of money can compensate for working beyond 7pm, give the dog owners a written notice with their first late pick up that you will no longer be able to dog sit for them if it occurs again. In either case, I recommend you provide a written explanation of your policies prior to a dog owner contracting with you for dog sitting services. Clean contracts provide for good communication and healthy, lengthy, positive working relationships.
Q: My wife has gained a considerable amount of weight in the past 16 years of our marriage. She complains about her physical appearance and has tried a variety of diets. When I try to help her by throwing out the fattening snacks I find in the pantry, she goes ballistic. Do you think she's just hormonal?
A: Even if you had the combined expertise of a physician and dietician, your wife would likely be upset at your removing the goodies. Instead of trying to take control of your wife's overeating problem, try to be supportive. Your wife's weight is her problem. She needs your support and for you to understand her. It is when you think you can fix her problem that you'll run into difficulty.
Q: My parents had an unhappy, distant marriage. I'm getting married in a couple of months, and want to make sure I don't want to go down the same path. Any suggestions?
A: You are more likely to have a loving, intimate relationship with your spouse if you try to think about what your spouse needs from the relationship as much as your needs.
Q: My wife complains because I don't appear to be happy. I admit that I am irritable, don't like my job, and prefer to watch TV alone in the evenings. Is she just caught up with the self-help hype?
A: Authentic happiness has positive impact on all aspects of our lives. Genuinely happy people experience a serenity in the world, and tend to be more compassionate and generous to others. Physiologically, they cope better with stress. The value of happiness is real. Acknowledging one's unhappiness is a good place to begin. I suggest you explore with your wife (or a life coach) barriers to being happy, and ways that you could enhance your own personal happiness.
Q: I've noticed a pattern developing in my life, and I need help. My husband and I moved away from the community of our childhood because of his job transfer. We now live 1,500 miles away from family and friends. He loves his new job, and likes the people he works with. I haven't found a job yet, and have tried to make friends with the neighbors on the block. I'm always asking them to get together for lunch, to go shopping, or just come over to chat. The problem is that they'll do this once or twice, but then they come up with excuses why they can't come over again. They never call and invite me to make plans together. I miss my close, intimate conversations I used to have with my friends and family, and find myself crying nearly every afternoon. I am beginning to resent my husband for moving us to such an unfriendly community.
A: Moving is one of the greatest stresses in life. It is understandable why you are feeling lonely. You have lost the emotional support that provided positive feelings of acceptance, value and social connection.
Unfortunately, while new and meaningful relationships can be developed, you have to find patience. It is possible that you are so eager to fill the void of meaningful people in your life that you are coming across as demanding and dependent. New relationships have to develop because of commonalities, not need. They may be pushing you away because of the expectation you are placing on them.
Developing new friends comes through common interests. Researching the community and getting involved with activities that interest you will help you find like-minded, compatible people. Just be cautious to keep a balance between being friendly verses overloading them.
Keeping a journal of your progress in your adjustment to your new community might help. It will allow you a mechanism for ventilating about your anxiety, as well as help you to chart your progress over the passage of time. Good luck!
Eileen Lenson, MSW, ACSW, Board Certified Coach, is a life coach in private practice. Prior to becoming a life coach, she was a licensed clinical social worker for 20 years. For further information, write to her at Eileen@LensonLifeCoaching.com, or visit her website at www.LensonLifeCoaching.com.
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