The Best Relationship Advice You’ll Ever Get Will Not Come from Your Counselor

BY: - 24 Jun '16 | Marriage

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I recently met with some counselors, LMFTs (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists) and other  professionals in the area of love, marriage and family relationships.  We discussed something that is key to our success with clients—how the client is the expert of their life. As experts of their own lives, they already know what they need to do, the desired result of that action and, many times, they know the plan of action to get that result.

But these clients have barriers in the way of their plans.  It’s important to figure out how to develop and execute a plan to get back to the place they want their relationship to be. And that’s where we experts come in. And it’s here that I’d like to provide some complimentary advice.

Below are simple tactics to help work on a broken relationship. Now, this isn’t advice like a friend would give that is well-intentioned yet with no thought or plan. This is professional, tried and tested advice to get to the right result in your relationship.

You Are the Expert

No one else understands or lives in your situation better than you. Everyone who is well-meaning or well-intentioned has not walked a mile in your shoes. They have no idea how scary this could be for you right now.  Although someone may say they understand the consequences of your next move, they don’t have to live them; you do!  This said, you are the expert of your life, your relationship and your situation. Your feelings and thoughts are valid, regardless of what others say or think about you. Being the expert also requires taking responsibility. Only you know how you have been treated or how bad your situation may truly be. You also understand the ramifications if you do the wrong thing or if you do nothing at all.

You deserve to be happy and have the best relationship possible. If you are married and the relationship is in a bad place, understand that you can make a choice to work to get the marriage back to where you want it to be. You can’t do it alone, but you can make a decision to work harder, more diligently and more consistently than ever to save and protect your marriage. Being the expert requires you to be responsible for your situation and doing your best to resolve it.

No One Can Give You Answers

Friends can give you advice. Counselors can give you steps. Coaches can ask powerful questions.  No one can give you answers. You already have the answers.

As professional counselors, we focus on symptoms, instead of true causes of issues. If there is a financial issue, spending is likely a symptom. The issue could be someone just doesn’t manage money well.  Another cause could be someone was deprived of things throughout their life and they are trying to fill a childhood void. But the important thing to note is that no one else really knows what is going on deep inside of you—but you.

You are the experts, so you have the answers.

Sometimes those answeres are covered in pain, fear, lack of self-esteem or abandonment issues. Professional counselors and therapist can help you get to the answer sometimes, but if that’s not an option, take a moment to look at yourself and what is at the core of your issues. Be honest and lay out the core issues. Address the core issues; and unlock the answers. Know that the symptoms leave once the disease is cured.


Find the Breakthrough

Here’s where good relationship advice is really, really bad. Advice allows no room for a breakthrough. Fifty people can give you the same advice, yet it does not resonate, because those people don’t see it through your eyes. You have to come to the conclusion of the answer on your own. You have to be invested in making a change in your relationship to the point where YOU recognize the core issue and YOU make a decision to do something different about it (your answer).

As a coach, I can see the signs and I can “help” with a few simple steps, but I never like to offer pure advice or help in that fashion. But YOU have to arrive at that answer on your own.

Remember you can create change by being strategic and putting in the work. Be the expert of your life, find your answers and look for the breakthroughs. You can look forward to a better relationship.

BMWK, do you know the answers to your relationship problems?

About the author

Jay Hurt wrote 85 articles on this blog.

Jay Hurt is a Relationship Coach, columnist and author of the book, The 9 Tenets of a Successful Relationship ( ). Jay’s focus is working with people who want to design better relationships and get more out of life!


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  1. Pingback: Be Honest—but Nuanced! (Advice Roundup) | Kowalke Coaching

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“Men Cheat Because They’re Dogs. Women Cheat for Revenge” But Do They Really?

BY: - 27 Jun '16 | Infidelity

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The quote from the title was boldly stated by a dear friend during a recent conversation on dating and marriage. I’m sure it came as a result of frustrations over the whole dating scene. While this friend shared that truth from her perspective, another shared that she will always feel like a man will cheat on her, even a potential future husband. Her comment was of course a reflection of her past relationships. She felt she did everything right, but it didn’t prevent her guy from cheating.  She admitted to being jaded about long-term love and whether or not there were men who could fully commit.

This conversation was honest and raw, and it caused me to take a step back and really think about the state of most relationships today. It left me with quite a few questions. For example, it made me wonder are there still faithful men out there. And do all men really cheat? Is it really in a man’s nature to cheat? Do most women cheat for revenge? Why do people cheat overall?


I’ve learned the answers to many of those questions while coaching couples. Here’s what I’ve observed over the years on why men and women cheat:

Some Men Cheat Because:

  • He has an appetite for multiple women
  • He thinks he can get away with it
  • He takes his partner for granted. Most men don’t often count the cost of a night of pleasure with someone other than his spouse.
  • He has self-esteem issues and seeks and enjoys the attention of other women
  • His needs aren’t being met
  • He is no longer attracted to his wife
  • He doesn’t feel like the man in his home
  • His wife is withholding sex or being very stingy with it
  • He feels like “why not;” he may not see it as a violation of his commitment
  • He actually can get away with it. When the woman in his life continues to accept this behavior and there are no consequence, the cheating will continue.

Some Women Cheat Because:

  • She isn’t satisfied
  • Her needs aren’t being met—and not just in the bedroom. She’s more likely to be drawn to the attention of someone other than her spouse when her partner isn’t meeting her needs.
  • Her husband doesn’t pay her any attention
  • She’s bored in her marriage
  • She married for the wrong reasons and doesn’t feel an attraction to her spouse
  • Her husband has cheated on her
  • She has self-esteem issues and needs attention from multiple men
  • She’s unhappy and is no longer interested in her marriage
  • She thinks the harmless flirting is innocent, and it never is
  • She’s been naive when it comes to knowing the intentions of other men

The reality is, not all men are dogs nor do they all cheat. There are still some faithful brothers out there who value commitment. Not all women cheat for revenge. There are various reasons that some spouses end up in the arms of another. For the sake of our own marriages, we must be aware. If we ever get to the point where cheating becomes part of the solution, we must reevaluate our relationship and see if it is still what we want. Protecting your marriage from infidelity should be a top priority for all couples.

BMWK, what do you think about the quote above?

About the author

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter wrote 635 articles on this blog.

Tiya Cunningham-Sumter is a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, founder of Life Editing and Author of A Conversation Piece: 32 Bold Relationship Lessons for Discussing Marriage, Sex and Conflict Available on Amazon . She helps couples and individuals rewrite their life to reflect their dreams. Tiya has been featured in Essence and Ebony Magazines, and named one of the top blogs to read now by Refinery29. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. To find out more about Tiya, and her coaching, visit and


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