Supporting lifestyle change, person cheated on

Dear Mary Jo,

What advice would you give someone trying to make a healthy life style change and dealing with an unsupportive significant other?

Thank you, Aaron

Dear Aaron,

When dealing with an unsupportive significant other, it’s important to understand why they’re unsupportive. If one partner feels threatened by another’s personal growth and feels it will harm the relationship, they’ll be less likely to support it. Career moves, living situations, and children are common areas couples disagree. Your perspective may not be the same as your partner, and it’s important to listen and understand their needs as well as your own. A relationship is about negotiation and making the best choice for the relationship’s survival. This is easier to achieve if you have a plan in place to help with the transition or change. For example, a career move is easier when partners have a plan in place of how they’ll communicate each day. When couples work together and support each other’s growth personally and professionally, the relationship deepens and you learn new things about yourself.

Dear Mary Jo,

How do I help my friend who just found out her husband of 20 years has been cheating on her?

Thank you, Stefani

Dear Stefani,

The best thing you can do for her is to be a non-judgmental listener.

  1. Help her by being there during the transition of her “new normal” and stick with her after the paperwork is finished and everyone has gone on with their life. Twenty years is a long time and no one (not even close friends) can understand the inner talk that goes on after a divorce.
  2. Keep what she tells you in confidence so she knows she can confide in you fully.
  3. Let her talk and don’t offer advice unless she asks you for it. Offering to help with the children will be an appreciated gift to her so she can have private time to think and take care of her tasks.
  4. Don’t talk badly about her ex to your friends or to her. They will need to work out a settlement that works best for them and it’s difficult to do that if her friends are saying terrible things about her ex. It may cause her to feel worse that she was blind to his negative traits.