Monthly Archives: January 2012
In the era where if someone doesn’t answer their phone, we have the option to text them, e-mail them, Facebook them or even Tweet at them, communication has definitely become a little complicated. While most of us can recite countless benefits of all these various channels, we often pay little attention to the detriment that technology and online communication can have on our romantic relationships.
While the obvious pitfall of technological communication is misunderstandings and misinterpretations, an even bigger pitfall is emotional infidelity. According to Dr. Dale Atkins, emotional infidelity or emotional cheating is “about forming meaningful attachments with people other than your partner in ways that prevent your partner from having that deep emotional intimacy with you.”
How Does this Happen?
Relationships often become vulnerable to this type of infidelity when one partner feels misunderstood or unappreciated. Often, when one partner’s needs are not being met in the relationship, he/she will go outside of it. As we spend more time at work and online, these become our primary outlets. Facebook, blogs, Twitter and other social media serve to connect people and often do so on the basis of common interests. However, the lack of face-to-face and physical contact may serve as a factor in blurring boundaries of what is and isn’t appropriate. Read the rest of this entry
Many individuals, families and couples come to therapy because they want to change something, whether it’s a bad habit, a self-
image, or their boyfriend. We then commence on a journey with our clients to thicken our understanding of what this desired change is, where it came from, where they seek to be and how we can help get them there. As a therapist, I believe in change, but what about our clients, friends and family? We might say that those coming to therapy believe in change, even if it’s a 1% belief. But what exactly do our clients believe about change? What do our friends and family believe about change? How does that influence your beliefs about personal change?
Many of my posts talk about change in various forms: altering communication skills, creating personal goals, introducing a new activity into your daily routine, etc. While we live in a constantly changing world, we rarely ever talk about the idea of change in itself.
To be clear, when I say change, I am referring to positive & healthy changes or growth. While both those terms are somewhat objective, I encourage you to be the one to determine what is positive and healthy for you. If the word change feels too drastic for you, think of it as something you’d like to “work on” rather than change.
Some important questions to answer for yourself:
Is change possible? If so, under what circumstances?
Is change good, bad, neither?
How does change happen? Is it the same for everyone?
What do you lose/gain by changing?
Who/what do you change for?
What motivates you to change?
Are you someone who adjusts/adapts easily or is it more difficult for you? Read the rest of this entry
It’s almost comical that many of us find a relationship partner and expect immediate symbiosis. Two people from different backgrounds, families, upbringings and experiences, yet we assume that due to some key commonalities we share similar expectations, particularly about relationships. Well, not just about relationships in general, but about what’s good for your relationship.
We often see couples come in for help when they are deciding “should I stay or should I go?” Meanwhile, these arguments have been brewing for months or even years about what each person wants for him/herself and for the relationship. Conversations about needs, wants, hopes and expectations are not a one time deal to check off the list. This conversation should be ongoing for two reasons: open communication promotes honesty and intimacy and people and their views evolve. Keeping open communication and revisiting these topics keeps your partner informed of your intentions and allows people to be open to changing their views and opinions.
Whether you are days, months or years into your relationship, the following pointers can be used to talk about relationship expectations and intentions.
Understand your partner- learn about their past relationship experiences, family history, what has gotten them in this particular frame of mind? See their point of view. This doesn’t mean you’re adopting it or agreeing with it, but simply understanding where this person stands and why.
Know your deal breakers or non-negotiables (for all you Millionaire Matchmaker fans), your needs vs. wants and what you are willing to compromise on.
Tackle the toughies early on! Don’t avoid certain topics because you fear you will disagree or think they’ll get better with time. The longer you ignore difficult topics, the more trouble you are likely to be in later.
Can you accept your partner? See the person for who they really are and what they are asking for and ask yourself “if nothing changed, could I stay in this relationship?”
Be mindful of timing- don’t bring up a touchy subject right when your partner walks through the door, has just told you he/she had a bad day or is in the middle of watching their favorite show. While there isn’t always a “good time” to address conflict, try to time your conversation at a moment when you and your partner can be open to sharing and listening. Read the rest of this entry
Humans are social beings; we attach, bond and connect with people every day. The natural desire to connect also leads to a natural response when we must part with people or situations. That response is grief. While death being the obvious and most severe form of separation, what about all the other types of loss we experience every day? What airtime do those get? Grief shows up in break-ups, moves, disability, divorce, and unmet expectations among others.
A supervisor of mine recently suggested reading the work of Pauline Boss, PhD., who has been a professor at the University of Minnesota and at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Boss writes about “ambiguous loss.” This type of loss she says differs from ordinary loss in that there is “no verification of death or no certainty that the person will come back or return to the way they used to be.” The ambiguity of such losses prevents closure and often impairs an individuals or family’s functioning.
While ambiguity can stifle the grieving process, there are two other major obstacles to processing a loss. CONTINUE READING
January 1, 2013 was just a few days ago and millions of people have been tweeting, Facebooking, sharing and journaling about their resolutions. Although I am going to take advantage of the mad rush to talk about setting goals, let’s remember that a goal can be set or modified anytime of year.
Now that the New Year celebrations have passed and we have finished going around the table sharing our “resolutions” with everyone else, let’s explore our goals a bit. How many of us set complicated or lofty goals that we either forget about, get too busy to tend to or simply fail at? How many of us feel guilty when we don’t follow through with what we set for ourselves?
Well, if change were easy, we would all do it.
January 1 does not necessarily mean a new year a new you. January 1 is more of an opportunity for you to evaluate, assess and adjust. “Making resolutions is a cleansing ritual of self-assessment and repentance that demands personal Continue Reading!