Stocking Your Pantry Frugally

Groceries tend to be the area of the budget that can always get out of hand. It makes sense. Given a choice between the family “starving” and going over budget, people are always going to rationalize going over budget. Fortunately, there are steps anyone can take to gain control of this money monster.

Walmart prices often are the cheapestStart Every Month With a Plan

One of the biggest budget busters when it comes to food are the last minute runs to the grocery store.

There will always be fresh items, such as milk and bread, that need to be purchased weekly, but these items should be part of the plan. What needs to be eliminated is the daily look at the pantry to decide what additional ingredients will be needed for tonight’s dinner or that dash into the store to find something quick, convenient and likely expensive. At the beginning of the month, write out a dinner menu.

Since most families tend to repeat meals frequently, this list may need very little change from one month to the next; but, writing it out will provide the opportunity to decide if new meals can replace some of the more costly repeats. Convert the menu to a grocery list, adding breakfast and lunch items also. When done, compare the list to the current items in the pantry to avoid overbuying. The first trip to the store each month will result in purchasing all the non-perishables for the month and the fresh items for the first week.

Figure Out who has the Lowest Prices

Many people run from store to store for the sales, trading grocery savings for additional gas expenses; but, at the end of the day, where was the best place to purchase the items that were not advertised? Traditional grocery stores are usually not the most cost-effective place to shop, using advertised loss leaders to get customers in the store while overcharging for related items. Look into discount food stores, such as Aldi, or mass merchandisers, such as Walmart, for doing at least the initial monthly shopping.

Wal-mart price matches competitors’ ads and accepts coupons. If the least expensive store is too inconveniently located to do weekly grocery runs, figure out which of the more convenient stores consistently has the best prices and get their discount card if they have one.

Are You Considering a Cheap Website Hosting Service?

When you are a new entrepreneur, you want to save up on every penny, right? Of course, you want to succeed, so you try to cost-cut as much as you can at every expense.

Cheap does not mean trustworthyThese days, a website is crucial to have for any business. It is not optional anymore, unlike in years past. A site is the face of your business, so you must put in the effort to make it look professional and an extension of your brand. While some companies opt to take a free theme for their site, it is best to go with a responsive website that can cater to the marketing needs of your enterprise. A Search Engine Marketing company in San Diego put emphasis on having a website because it is like having a business card—but making it open for the world to see.

Before, there used to be just a few companies offering website design and hosting services. With the internet boom, there are now thousands of companies to choose from, each providing the same service but with slight differences in payment, add-ons, and most likely, quality. You can’t merely rely on what is being advertised on the web hosting business’ website because chances are, there are some things that the company doesn’t want you to know as you sign up with them. It is best to read reviews on forums and blogs and to get information from people you know who have tried the service. Online marketing can be very misleading. So you must always go on the side of caution and do not quickly fall over gimmicks because you are establishing online assets for your business.

You have done your research, and now you are considering a web hosting service that is 30% cheaper than the average market price. Of course, you take a closer look. You see that it is promising, given that many of its features are the ones you need. You also get unlimited professional emails along with the cheap hosting service. It sounds perfect!

If you decide to go with this cheap service, take note of the following and see if it’s worth signing up with:

1. What does the price include?

On the company’s website, there may be a line that says, “No hidden charges.” But, is that true, or is it just valid for the first month of signing up? In an effort to gain registrants, some companies offer super cheap services for the first month or year upon signing up with them, and then you are charged a regular price for the following year. You’d be surprised by the number of companies doing this, with the second year’s cost even more expensive than the average market price.

Most cheap web hosting services also have a lot of add-ons like website privacy and site protection (SSL) that you must pay for separately. Therefore, when you add everything in, you quickly realize that the initial cheap price is not that affordable as it touts itself to be.

2. How robust is the after-sales support system?

You don’t want to be dealing with a robot after you’ve purchased a web hosting service, so make sure that before signing up, you trust and have tested the company’s support system. An excellent way to see this is to send a query to the support team. You will see how prompt and professional the team is just through that initial contact. After-sales support is significant, so don’t let low hosting prices wear you down after you’ve signed up with the company.

24/7 customer support for web hosts is necessaryThere is nothing wrong with signing up for a cheap website hosting service; however, you should make sure that you know what exactly you are paying for. Do not let marketing tricks fool you. Make your inquiry before signing up, because going with lousy service is even more expensive compared to going with a high-quality—although pricier—hosting service.

Top 5 Underrated Singers

Singing is something that cannot be easily earned or learned. Mostly, it takes years and years of practice actually to learn it, and some are even unsuccessful in doing so. However, singing can also come as a natural talent for a few. Some popular artists are truly gifted while others seem to have been dragged into it by being born into fame. Of course, popularity does not necessarily mean success and happiness. I really believe that some singers deserve more credit, not because of what and who they are but because of the joy that they have in singing, whether they are widely known or not as much. Here are the top 5 underrated singers that you may or may not have heard yet.

5. Tori Kelly

She has recently gained popularity because of the movie “Sing”, but it seems like everyone does not pay much attention to her. Sure, she’s had a few awards, and singles are out here and there, but nobody seems to realize how she sings amazingly like she had undergone a thousand hours of singing & voice lessons. She also writes her own songs, and she would even produce it herself. If ever you’d get to listen more to how she sings and performs, I definitely know that we’d all agree how she deserves more exposure.

4. Jennifer Hudson

Despite being a finalist during the American Idol Season 3, her name just doesn’t leave that much of a mark. Simple tunes and catchy phrases will stay on charts for weeks, but I guess, her singing skills were covered by all the new things that are popping up along the way. Luckily, Broadway has welcomed her quite well during her debut. She would be starred as the guest but it so far, nothing has been offered to her where she leads the role. We just wish she gets more of the love. Have you even heard that she just released a new album this year? We haven’t either, but you might want to take a look at it.

3. Nicole Scherzinger

nicole scherzingerYes, we know, she’s a bombshell. Being the leader of the famous group, Pussycat Dolls, the spotlight is surely not much far from her. Unfortunately, people seem to look at her like nothing else other than being a bombshell. She looks great, and she’s hot and feisty. The talent, however, goes beyond the crowd’s head. Did you know she dances really well? If you’ve seen her in Dancing with the Stars, you’d absolutely believe that she’s a pro. In singing, she’s not just a hot babe that dances to the tune because whether you believe it or not, her vocals are pretty strong. She even sings opera! Next time you’d see her on The X Factor, you should start thinking twice if she’s just there for display because she certainly isn’t.

2. Hozier

hozierWe’re not sure if you’ve heard of him but the song “Take Me to Church” is something that you’ve probably already listened or come across to. With all the cute guys and charming boys these days, Hozier is someone who won’t get much craze from the people just because girls aren’t going crazy over him. Rappers and boy bands seem more attractive to millennials for now, and a genuine musician who sings songs with deep meanings are way under-appreciated. Being a son of a blues musician, it’s not hard to see that Hozier has a unique aesthetic to his music. It’s almost as if, his songs are filled with soul. We’re just glad that he somehow got a bit of recognition because of “Take me to Church” but hopefully, people would go and dig deeper through his album and listen to the rest of his songs. You won’t regret it!

1. Lady Gaga

Most people know her as this popular but very unusual and borderline crazy pop singer. She might be very popular, but not everyone seems to appreciate or know her singing abilities. Her songs are great successes, and surely it has been gone through your mind too when it was at the peak. Lines such as “Po-po-po-poker face…Po-po-poker face” was such a catchy tune that you couldn’t seem to forget. However, Gaga is more than just a pop star. She is an excellent composer, and she understands music beyond what most people have expected. At a young age, she was raised in a Catholic family but was often seen as provocative or eccentric, even for a child. She started playing the piano at the age of 4 and started writing her first ballad when she was just 13. She then studied music but had to stop to focus on her career. It wasn’t very easy though because it took her years and years. Gaga has also been rejected and disappointed at times. Yet, she never gave up until someone finally discovered her.

Now, Lady Gaga is one of the most well-known artists not just because of her record-breaking songs but also because of her actual singing skills. She may have started with pop but in every genre; she nails. She has worked with Metallica and Tony Bennett. I mean, look at the difference between the kind of music. Gaga can sing really well, and she even sang a version of The Sound of Music as a tribute. It seems like not many have known this because she was famed for being outrageous in costumes and she sang songs that are almost hypnotizing. Even her vocal range is surprisingly impressive. From pop to classical, and even rock metal — Gaga is your girl.

Things Women Do That Turn Men Off On First Dates

When going on a first date, you surely would want to impress the other person. Almost everyone in the dating world will do anything to make a good first impression. However, there are certain things that some women do which are usually considered as turn offs in the eyes of men.

If you are a girl going on a first date in NYC, you need to have an idea on what turns men off at that event. Here are some of these things.

dating tips for girls nyc

Being impolite

Men are often turned on by gentle and nice women. It gives them a sense of pride and warms their hearts whenever they see ladies who are being kind to other people, even if they know them or not.

Being rude to others, especially to your date, will not end up well for you. In this case, you should be as kind and as polite as possible. Do not ever think that your date is your servant and that he is supposed to do everything for you.

Attention seeker

There are usually some women who trick their dates into flattering them by saying that they do not look good even though they spent several hours trying to look beautiful before the meetup. However, a man usually knows whether a woman is putting on an act just to get his attention. Doing so actually annoys any person you will ever meet on a first date,

Do not let yourself be a drama queen, like what the NYC matchmaking by TV’s Project Soulmate recommended. Wait for your date to acknowledge the nice things about you and compliment you truthfully. You will feel better and more flattered when you receive compliments that are not forced. Do not forget to thank him for his compliments.

Easily distracted

Almost everyone gets annoyed if they are not getting the attention that they deserve. It is even more so when the other person is giving his or her attention to you during the date. This is most especially true if resources have been exhausted, but it would seem like such efforts are all in vain.

When a man puts a lot of effort into planning a date, even spending his money just to be with you for several hours, it is but right to give him your full attention. Do not use your phone or daydream especially when he is talking. If you are bringing your phone with you during the date, turn it off or set it to silent mode. When someone calls you in the middle of the date, you have to pick it up only when it is absolutely necessary.

Poor social manners

When going out with someone who is still practically a stranger to you, you should always try to show good social manners. Otherwise, your date will just be uncomfortable with others seeing you showing poor behavior, considering that he is your companion at that time.

Some of the social manners deemed to be poor are laughing hysterically in public places, unnecessarily talking out loud, and most especially, getting food from his plate. Being impolite to other people, such as to the elderly or the waiter can turn the mood sour too. These can totally turn off just about anyone.

Baby Talking

Baby talking is only acceptable if done with your boyfriend and in private. If you baby talk in an attempt to look sweet during your first date, that annoys men. Remember, he is not your boyfriend yet.

There are still other annoying things that can turn men off. Be careful and cautious with your actions during your first date if you wish to impress your date.

Meditation & Thinking

Over the years I have learned one thing for sure about meditation, and that is that everyone’s experience is their experience. In other words, never compare your experience with someone else’s. Your experience is as valid as anyone else’s.

Meditation is a form of self love, so watch how critical you can be with yourself, and then praise yourself for sitting down to meditate in the first place. Look at meditation as a new experience, every time you meditate it is the first time.

“I can’t turn off my mind!” I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say they can’t meditate. The most common misconception of meditation is that we are supposed to stop our mind from thinking.

Meditation is not about stopping your mind from thinking. Meditation can take place whether thought is there or not. A state of meditative awareness exists beneath the thinking you experience in the mind, because the mind is always there, which means thought is always there.

The difference between meditation and the waking consciousness is what you give your attention to. Your awareness of thinking is what actually connects you to the meditative state.

To elaborate: when I sit down to meditate I may start by focusing my attention on the flow of my breath for a while in order to calm my body and mind. Naturally thoughts arise; perhaps I become engaged in my thoughts.

Then I realize I had become engaged in my thoughts, and I repeat to myself: “I am here to mediate,” and I ask myself a rhetorical question: “Who is aware that I was thinking?” So I feel the question and the awareness that I was thinking.

Meditation is really about cultivating awareness. Awareness that I am thinking, that I am sitting, that I am breathing. We learn to be aware of all feelings and sensations, like awareness of your feeling something to do with your job or partner or the tingling in your legs when you sit that way.

The most significant awareness is that of “I AM.” The key to cultivating awareness is to lovingly, and gently, (as opposed to forcefully) disengage your mind from judging and engage it with the act of observation and acceptance.

When you notice you have wandered off into thinking about something, then in that very moment of noticing this you have a profound opportunity to deepen your awareness and thus to deepen your experience of meditation.

In that moment the awareness arises, “I was sitting here watching my breath, and then I got caught up in thinking about something. Hey that’s pretty cool!” It’s in this awareness that takes you further into meditation.

Thinking while meditating can be seen as a gift.

Our awareness of our incessant thinking is the very thing that can propel us deeper and deeper into the still centre of our Being.

The next time you sit to meditate, see that session as the first time, you are just beginning every time. This will keep your attention fresh, alive and present to the here and now.

Simply BE here, now.

Passing or Passion?

Tony Robbins is one of the nation’s premier motivational speakers. On October 16th, 2000, Tony Robbins was in Atlanta speaking to a crowd of 14,000 people. I was in the front row. The rest of our staff was right behind me in the second row. Tony’s booming voice shook the floor and rattled the chairs. “I need a volunteer. Someone who has some enthusiasm and passion!! Let me see who has some passion and I’ll pick a volunteer!!”

I was among half of the audience on their feet, shouting and waving arms. For a moment, time seemed to slow and then stand still. I was aware of my own level of energy and then that of the people around me. We all pretty much looked the same, wildly jumping and waving. And then I realized that I was probably only at about 60% of what I was capable of.

Could this be a mirror of how passionate I am about my life in all of the other areas?

I continued to wave my arms and shout. I thought, “if most of us are only at 60%, who is going to stand out?” Tony was already pointing into the crowd away from where I was. My thoughts continued, “If I am only at 60%, who do I know that can go to 100% or beyond?”

He jumped about four feet into the air and wriggled like a giant fighting swordfish caught on a steel cable. “Pick ME! Pick ME! Pick ME!” Tony stopped and looked over with a look of surprise. He smiled and pointed just past me. Yep, that was the guy that Tony needed. 100% plus.

The guy behind me was my partner Vincent.
Vincent did a great job in front of 14,000 people. He had some fun and got an autographed leather bound journal signed by Tony Robbins. Inside the front cover was written, “Live life with PASSION! Tony Robbins.” If I had added forty percent to my performance, I could have been the one to go up on stage and win the prize. After all, I had the front row advantage!

So, what does 60% passion get you in the game of life? Second place to the quality you could have had? Safety in the crowd? Passable communication? Doing “OK?”

Why not have something better, something worth smiling about when the days of your life finally wind down? To paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt, “it’s better to really go for it in life and hazard the chance of succeeding brilliantly or even failing miserably, as opposed to being one of the cold gray souls who tried and got nothing special out of life.”

I’m often a slow starter in the mornings. The next morning I rolled out of bed and helped my five-year-old get dressed for school. My daughter put her hand on my shoulder “Daddy, I don’t want to go to school today. I want to stay home.” Without even thinking, I told her “Today is a school day. Your mom and I have to go to work, and you have to go to school.” That’s when I thought again about the 60%. And I looked up at her.

I realized at that moment that those times in my life when I have truly connected with people in a meaningful way were the times I was really tuned in to them and where they were coming from. Those were the times where I listened carefully and responded with a genuine part of myself. My best friendships and the best parts of my being a good husband and father also stemmed from that level of attention and caring. The best part of what I do as a communication coach also stems from that higher level of involvement and passion for communicating.

And today was starting out as a 60% day. The results would be second place fatherhood, safety with the fast pat answer, and passable communication. I stopped and looked into my daughter’s shining eyes and smiled. Sixty percent was just not good enough. “Of course you’d rather stay home. If we could all stay at home, we could swing in the yard and hike down to Rainbow Lake. I’d rather stay at home today, too. I have responsibilities at work, and today is also a school day. How about a hike down to the lake as soon as we get home tonight?”

We earn the benefit of good communication with every single interaction that we have with others. We have the opportunity to create passion with every thought. It’s easy to lapse into 60% thinking. In life, 60% is a passing grade. But passing is not passion.

Improving the quality of our lives and relationships is a function of going beyond passing to passion. Pay attention to the world around you, tune in and turn it up, and make a real difference for others and yourself!

5 Tips To Stay Fit While Traveling

After a recent trip to Tampa, Florida attending fitness seminars for 5 days and hanging out with guys like Craig Ballantyne of Men’s Health magazine and fitness icon Shawn Phillips, I started to pick up on some of the secrets these guys use to stay in awesome shape even while traveling.

1. Workout No Matter What. After a busy 5 days of sitting on my butt in meetings and seminars I still managed to workout 4 out of the 5 days while in Florida. Which is even more than I workout at home!

The first day I got together with some fellow trainers and we trained together in the hotel gym. It wasn’t very big but had enough to get a great workout using our bodyweight and a few dumbbells.

Then the next day along we all headed to the local Powerhouse gym to get a great workout in a more upbeat gym atmosphere.

Whether it’s a quick hotel room bodyweight workout, a hotel gym workout or a Powerhouse gym workout, just make sure you do some exercise while traveling to offset all the sitting down on airplanes and in meetings.

2. All You Can Eat. The great thing about traveling to new cities is experiencing new places to eat. But if you’re not careful you could be paying the airline’s extra weight on the way home, and I am not talking about your luggage…

So do what all the fit trainers did every morning to start their day off right; eat a nutritious breakfast. Even though our hotel served a FREE buffet breakfast every morning, most everyone who is in great shape skipped the bacon and breads and had a huge freshly prepared omelet stuffed with veggies with a little fruit on the side, me included. Keep lunch small with a salad or whole grain wrap so you don’t get sleepy during the afternoon meetings, and enjoy a nice dinner with some lean meat and veggies and even a glass of wine.

3. Drink Up. I don’t mean spend your nights at the hotel bar getting sloshed. I mean drink lots of cold refreshing water. It will keep you full and focused and your mind off the donuts and croissants sitting across the conference table.

It’s really easy to drink lots of H2O during these hotel conferences as they usually serve you pitchers of water in your meeting rooms and in the big conference rooms. Just to be sure you always have water on hand, pick up a couple of litres of spring water at the hotel gift shop and keep on ice in your room.

4. Ditch the Cab. If you are up for some sight seeing or heading to a nearby restaurant for dinner, ditch the cab fare, get some directions and walk there instead. Google Maps on your smart phone works great for this! Walking is a great way to see a new city and burn some calories. Strolling back to the hotel after dinner is a great way to end the evening and ease the guilt from that decadent dessert.

You can also try to find a park or gym a couple miles away and walk or run there to get your heart pumping and your warmup out of the way.

5. Recharge. If you’re traveling solo, staying at a hotel is a great way to get some extra rest and relaxation. You get the bed to yourself, and you have no worries of the kids jumping in the bed at the wee hours of the morning.

It’s also a great time to catch up on some work or read that book you have been trying to get through. A dip in the hotel pool and a hot sauna afterwards might be just what you need to recharge your batteries before you get back on the road.

So there you have it, The 5 Best Ways To Stay Fit While Traveling so you still recognize yourself in the mirror when you get home…

Meditation – Staying Awake While Meditating

Why is staying awake while meditating important?

Falling asleep is certainly relaxing, and can be good for you, but to get the full range of benefits from your meditation you need to have your brainwaves in the alpha and theta ranges. When you are asleep, your brainwaves range from theta to delta. Meditation should be a state of relaxed alertness (primarily alpha brainwaves).

Try the following tips to stay awake.

1. Don’t lay down. Laying down may be the comfortable way to meditate, but it is also the surest way to have trouble staying awake. Find a comfortable posture for meditating, but not TOO comfortable.

2. Don’t meditate where you sleep. A comfy chair may be a great place to meditate – unless its the one you fall asleep in while watching TV. Anyplace where you regularly sleep is likely to trigger a sleep response in your body.

3. Create slight discomfort. If you are too comfortable to stay awake, try turning the thermostat down, sitting in a harder chair, or otherwise creating a minor irritation that will be enough to keep you awake, but not distract you too much.

4. Try meditating in a new place. Using a chair set in the back yard, or doing your meditation in the car at a nice park can be a good way to get out of a rut and wake up your mind.

5. Use an automatic wake-up position. Rest your elbows on the chair arms and have your hands comfortably up in the air. If you begin to sleep, your arms will fall, waking you up. Many meditators have used positions that prevent sleep in this way, without being uncomfortable.

Sleep is good, but meditation is more than relaxation. It should help you develop a sense of peace and relaxed alertness. If meditating has become nothing more than your favorite sleeping aid, start using these tips today to get back on track.

A Look at Meditation

I’ve counseled many people from every background and led workshops and lectures about self-empowering topics for about 25 years. Over that time, I saw a need. Everyone was searching. What they were looking for was unclear, many times. But the search was on. While I could meet many of their immediate needs, through counseling, they still needed a source, or connection with who they really were.

This was not a religious pursuit, per se, but a spiritual one. We all need to know our inner self. And the best way for us to get there is through meditation: a quiet time of some sort–contemplation. So out of that need, I saw an answer. Spreading information about basic meditation became my mission.

Almost all of the information I received about meditation over the years was through personal experience–trial and error. I did not read any books on the subject. They all seemed too deep and philosophical. And many times, the books included a whole cultural exploration. This is good for someone looking into historical information, or perhaps a religious belief. But just to know the basics of what meditation is and how to do it, there wasn’t anything.

I’ve been able to connect very well with the groups I’ve spoken to because I’ve been in their shoes. I had first hand experience looking for my own inner self. And so, the column you see here will explore for you, the personal experiences of the proverbial searcher.

I had just graduated from high school, and was looking for some kind of personal project for the summer. Since I lived in a very small town, and it was in the 1960’s, I was very surprised to find a yoga class being offered at the nearby middle school. I was always open for the new and different, and this fit the bill.

I joined the class as soon as I could and found myself in some very strange positions. But there was one position that I kept going back to. It was sitting cross-legged with my hands resting on my knees, palms up. It immediately made me sit straight, and my spine was relaxed.

While practicing this position at home, a strange thing happened. I began to feel unusual. There wasn’t any way I could describe it. But it was a kind of light-headed feeling–almost like dropping off to sleep–but I was awake.

I asked the instructor about it on the very next session. She assured me it was fine. But I had my reservations. So I stopped. I didn’t go back to the class. And I didn’t continue with the yoga practice.

I found out much later that I was beginning meditation. The instructor must have been concerned about giving too much information about yoga philosophy and the spiritual traditions of Eastern India.

Our community was extremely slow about accepting new ideas. She was probably reluctant to introduce something new that could cause problems. So the yoga positions were only taught as an exercise.

I imagine many new or different ideas were stifled in the beginning. Some hesitate to share information for fear of being rejected or ostracized. And some of us hesitate to look at new information because we’re afraid of rocking the boat.

As you explore the concept of meditation, you will learn about the varied benefits that can be brought about by meditation, including health, emotional release, and self- empowerment. You will realize that meditation is about ease. Moving one step at a time.

The Purpose of Meditation
Meditation is a way to connect with the inner self, or what some believe is the Divine Spark of God that we all are. It is to become quiet: to allow all outside disturbances to fade away, to be comfortable with the quiet. That quiet, or silence, which is allowed in, can calm the mind, restore the body, and define a spiritual path.

Let’s take this opportunity to try a sample meditation on for size. Remember that this is a sample. It gives us the chance to practice. And in practicing, we learn.

Bringing In A Quiet Moment
Take a moment out of your busy day. Go for a five-minute walk by yourself. Pay attention to the sound of your footsteps. Let it become even with your heartbeat. When this rhythm within you overrides the sounds of the day, take a deep cleansing breath. Look at the sky. Watch the clouds. Just enjoy the moment. This is the skill of meditation. It is nothing harder than that: just taking a moment, and relaxing into it. Allow your mind to relax into it.

This is just a very quick way for everyone to get some idea of what meditation is like. There are plenty of different types of meditations, as many as there are people. It requires a few undisturbed minutes, dedication and a desire. It will open up a whole new world for you. Just give it a try.

What Everyone Needs to Know about Extramarital Affairs

Recent statistics suggest that 40% of women (and that number is increasing) and 60% of men at one point indulge in an affair. Put those numbers together and it is estimated that 80% of the marriages will have one spouse at one point or another involved in an affair. That may seem like a very steep number. However after two decades plus of full time work as a marriage and family therapist, I don’t believe that number is off the charts. I worked with a great number of people involved in affairs who were never discovered.

The possibility that someone close to you is or soon will be
involved in an extramarital affair (any of the three parties) is extremely high.

Maybe you will know. You will see telltale signs. You will notice changes in the person habits and behavioral patterns as well as a detachment, lack of focus and reduced productivity. Maybe you will sense something “out of character” but be unable to pinpoint what it is.

It is not a given that he/she will tell you. Those hiding the affair will continue to hide. The “victim” of the affair often, at least initially, is racked with anger, hurt, embarrassment and thoughts of failing that preclude divulging the crisis. It might be important to confront the person with your observations, depending on the status of your relationship with the person.

It is important to understand that extramarital affairs are different and serve different purposes. Out of my study and experience with hundreds of couples I’ve identified 7 different kinds of affairs. Briefly, some affairs are reactivity to a perceived lack of intimacy in the marriage.

Others arise out of addictive tendencies or a history of sexual confusion or trauma. Some in our culture play out issues of entitlement and power by becoming “trophy chasers.” This “boys will be boys” mentality is subtly encouraged in some contexts. Some become involved in an affair because of a high need for drama and excitement and are enthralled with the idea of “being in love” and having that “loving feeling.”

An affair might be for revenge either because the spouse did or did not do something. Or the revenge may stem from rage. Although revenge is the motive for both, they look and feel very different.

Another affair serves the purpose of affirming personal desirability. A nagging question of being “OK” may lead to usually a short-term and one-person affair. And finally, some affairs are a dance that attempts to balance needs for distance and intimacy in the marriage, often with collusion from the spouse.

The prognosis for survivability of the marriage is different for each. Some affairs are the best thing that happens to a marriage. Others serve a death knell. As well, different affairs demand different strategies on the part of the spouse or others. Some demand toughness and movement. Others demand patience and understanding.

The emotional impact of the discovery of the affair is usually profound. Days and weeks of sleeplessness, rumination, fantasies (many sexual) and unproductively follow. It typically takes 2 – 4 years to “work through” the implications. A good coach or therapist can accelerate and mollify the process. I don’t recommend “marriage” counseling, at least initially.

The devastating emotional impact results from a couple powerful dynamics. Trust is shattered – of one’s ability to discern the truth. The most important step is NOT to learn to trust the other person, but to learn to trust one’s self. Another is the power that a secret plays in relationships. THE secret exacts an emotional and sometimes physical toll that needs to be acknowledged and dealt with.

How can you help?

Those in the midst of their affair crisis told me they need this from you:

1. Sometimes I want to vent, get it out without censor. I know sometimes I will say what I shouldn’t be saying. It may not be nice, pretty or mild. Please know that I know better, but I need to get it off my chest.

2. Every so often I want to hear something like, “This too shall pass.” Remind me that this is not forever.

3. I want to be validated. I want to know that I am OK. You can best do that by nodding acceptance when I talk about the pain or confusion.

4. I want to hear sometimes, “What are you learning? What are you doing to take care of yourself?” I may need that little jolt that moves me beyond my pain to see the larger picture.

5. I may want space. I may want you to be quiet and patient as I attempt to sort through and express my thoughts and feelings. Give me some time to stammer, stutter and stumble my way through this.

6. I want someone to point out some new options or different roads that I might take. But before you do this, make sure I am first heard and validated.

7. When they pop into your mind, recommend books or other resources that you think I might find helpful.

8. I want to hear every so often, “How’s it going?” And, I may want this to be more than an informal greeting. Give me time and space to let you know exactly how it IS going.

9. I want you to understand and welcome the ambivalent feelings and desires. I would like you to be fairly comfortable with the gray areas and the contradictions about how I feel and what I may want.

10. I want you to be predictable. I want to be able to count on you to be there, listen and speak consistently or let me know when you are unable to do that. I will honor that.

Affairs are powerful. Affairs are costly. They affect family, friends, colleagues and employers. Affairs are also an opportunity – to redesign one’s life and love relationships in ways that create honor, joy and true intimacy.