Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli: Will Their Marriage Survive the Scandal?
Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli are among 50 people who have been accused of participating in a college admissions scandal. The stress of an event like this has likely put tremendous strain on Loughlin and Giannulli’s marriage. Will the couple’s relationship survive the college admissions scandal? What can you do to protect your marriage if you’re in a situation where your reputations are on the line?
The Cheat Sheet reached out to Steve Dziedzic, certified relationship coach as well as founder and CEO of Lasting, a relationship counseling app. Here’s what Dziedzic had to say about making sure your marriage stays intact if you ever find yourself in the middle of a scandal.
The Cheat Sheet: How can you make sure your marriage stays strong after a major scandal breaks, such as the scandal with actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli?
Steve Dziedzic: In every relationship, the way one partner copes affects the other. There’s a circular interaction between the stress signals of one partner and the coping reactions of the other. Multiple studies show that two patterns of coping emerge in hard circumstances: disengaged avoidance and mutual responsiveness. The disengaged avoidance pattern develops when both partners hide or avoid their feelings. Sometimes it can feel easier to avoid their feelings rather than face the reality of the situation. They might think they’re protecting their partner from how scared, angry, or devastated they feel. At the same time, the other partner might minimize their emotions because they feel they don’t need as much attention.
Instead, couples should focus on building a pattern of mutual responsiveness. This happens when both partners view the hard circumstances as a “we” problem. Their perspective is that they’re in it together. These couples stay emotionally connected through tough seasons by managing stress levels through relational awareness, authenticity, and mutuality. They don’t hide or avoid their feelings. Instead, they spend time sharing their emotions on a consistent basis, not shielding each other from their pain.
Across the board, studies show that mutual responsiveness is more effective than disengaged avoidance. In fact, avoidance coping strategies lead to lower relational satisfaction, more distress, and increased mental health issues for both partners. In comparison, the high levels of disclosure associated with mutual responsiveness lead to increased levels of intimacy and increased relational satisfaction for both partners. As odd as it sounds, these partners grow closer through hard times!
CS: What are some things you shouldn’t do when it comes to protecting your marriage during a stressful time like a scandal?
SD: One of the biggest challenges of marriage is remaining emotionally engaged with your partner within the context of your personal stresses. There are two strategies for coping with outside stresses in the context of marriage: self-soothing and co-soothing. Primarily, coping with stress begins with the self. Studies have shown the more effectively each partner copes with stress, the more he or she can protect the relationship from the negative effects of stress. That’s what self-soothing is all about.
Co-soothing can also be quite powerful. The better both partners handle stress together—by jointly discussing their stress experiences, reframing the situation, and helping each other relax—the more likely they are to reduce stress in an effective way and, in so doing, promote a greater sense of the relationship’s “we.”
The healthiest way you and your partner can act in your marriage is to be emotionally “interdependent.” This means while you and your partner are dependent on one another, neither of you sacrifices who you are or compromises your values.
CS: Should you and your spouse delete social media accounts or is it best to just stay off social media until the storm blows over?
SD: Technology has the potential to block your partner’s emotional calls, which are you and your partner’s attempts to connect with one another. Positive responses to your partner’s emotional calls are at the very foundation of your marriage! If you sense social media is becoming an issue, form technology boundaries and rituals together. You have to preserve your emotional connection at all costs.
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