Marriage and Divorce Articles

4 Steps for Clearing Up Misunderstandings in Any Relationship

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

4 Steps for Clearing Up Misunderstandings in Any RelationshipMisunderstandings are bound to happen in any relationship. With your partner. With your kids. With your family and friends. With your colleagues. This is normal and natural.

Sometimes, we might let a slew of small irritations build up, which only triggers resentment and negative feelings over time. It leads us to withdraw from our loved ones, and be less present in our relationships.

Other times we might blurt out our frustration in the heat of the moment, screaming words we might later regret. Neither approach is helpful and can chip away at our relationships.

3-Step Plan for Your ‘Why Me?’ Moments

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

A young beautiful woman stressed because of bills.

With a single sentence, life can knock you down. Here’s how to get back up and keep swinging…

Have you ever noticed how a single sentence can feel as if a bomb exploded and life as you know it is irrevocably transformed?

A single sentence like:

  • “It’s cancer.”
  • “You’re fired.”
  • “I’m pregnant.”
  • “I’m leaving you and filing for divorce.”

Suddenly that single sentence, uttered by someone you love or care about, changes your life — derailing your sense of purpose and direction — in an instant.

Is Your Partner Depressed?

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Stress & Schizophrenia: How to Help Your Loved One & YourselfA married couple came to psychotherapist Rebecca Nichols, LPC, to improve their communication. The wife was having a hard time concentrating on conversations. In the last few months she’d become increasingly irritable and indecisive. And she constantly snapped at her husband. While the couple’s communication certainly needed work, it turned out that the wife was struggling with depression.

Thankfully, this couple sought help. Nichols helped the wife work through her depression, and helped both of them improve their relationship. But often depression goes unnoticed, especially when the signs are subtle.

4 Ways a Child with Autism Affects Family Life

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

family grass blue skyAn autism diagnosis not only changes the life of the child diagnosed, but also that of family members. Parents of an autistic child have to bear a lot of stress owing to complicated therapy schedules, home treatments, and juggling job responsibilities and family commitments. There is also financial stress coming from the expensive therapies and treatments.

Such stress may affect family life in various adverse ways. Parents of autistic children need to meet the needs of their children, as well as address the needs of their family. Coping with the stresses involved in being parents to an autistic child can strengthen families and marriages, but this requires a great support system and a lot of hard work.

Why Healthy Relationships Always Have Boundaries & How to Set Boundaries in Yours

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Families Engaged In Tug of War: How to Drop the RopeIn romantic relationships we often think of boundaries as a bad thing or simply unnecessary. Isn’t our partner supposed to anticipate our wants and needs? Isn’t that part of being in love? Aren’t boundaries callous? Don’t they interfere with the romance and spontaneity of a relationship?

Many of Ryan Howes’s clients assume that having boundaries means not having loving feelings toward their partner. But it’s actually the opposite.

All healthy relationships have boundaries. Howes, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist in Pasadena, Calif, defines a boundary as “the line where I end and someone else begins.”

18 Tell-Tale Signs You’ve Crossed the Emotional Affair Line

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Overcoming Family Assumptions

Has your flirtation gotten out of hand?

In this day and age, most of us have friends of the opposite sex, whether they are co-workers, casual acquaintances or close confidantes. The question is: how close is too close when you’re in a romantic relationship with someone else?

Here are some signs that your so-called friendship may be entering the not-so-gray area of emotional infidelity:

1. You dress up for him.

When you buy new clothes or change your hairstyle and wonder what he’ll think (instead of how your partner will react) that’s a danger sign. We all consider our audience when we’re getting ready to go out, but doing so with a particular other in mind — not your significant other — suggests there’s something more here than meets the eye.

Is ‘No Problem’ a Problem?

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Relationship MaintenanceMany people seem to have replaced the gracious phrase “you’re welcome” with the expressions “no problem” or “no worries.” Sales clerks, food servers, resort personnel, and others say these phrases in response to being thanked for doing their job or a kind act.

What’s wrong with this?

The unconscious does not recognize a negative.

To prove this point, try this experiment: Imagine yourself being told right now, “Don’t think of a pink elephant.” Immediately, what do you think of? A pink elephant, of course. The unconscious does not recognize a negative, which in this case is the word, “don’t.” You hear, “Think of a pink elephant.”

The Benefits of Premarital Counseling & How to Find a Therapist

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Wedding - Marriage Day Circled with HeartMany people think premarital counseling is only for certain couples. That includes engaged couples who have relationship issues or who are required by their congregation to attend, said Meredith Hansen, Psy.D, a clinical psychologist who specializes in premarital, newlywed and couples counseling.

However, any couple can benefit from premarital counseling. It can help couples who are about to get married, have been married for five years or fewer, are living together or will have a domestic partnership, said Victoria Brodersen, LMFTA, a psychotherapist who specializes in premarital counseling.

She suggested thinking of your relationship “as a piece of machinery” — “[E]ven those that run well require regular maintenance.”

Transference in Therapy

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

therapist_negativeI dreamed of giving him my bone marrow. I offered him poetry, homemade cupcakes, passionate sex and a basket of Honey Peanut Balance bars, his favorite. I even proposed to repaint and decorate his waiting room — at my expense.

I was in love.

His name was David. David was my therapist.

I started treatment with him after my mother’s death from a six-month bout with cancer. Her death left me broken open, bereft. My three-year-old marriage hadn’t quite found its footing and I felt alone in my grief. So I began therapy with David expecting a psychic sanctuary.

What My Dog Taught Me about Marital Therapy

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

joy-dogs-livesIn my outpatient practice, I often do marital therapy. Couples come in to work on improving, or perhaps saving their relationship. By the time they take this step, they have often experienced years of conflict or distance. Sometimes they are close to calling it quits and calling the divorce attorney.

My first task in marital therapy is an assessment of the situation. What are the issues? What are the patterns of communication? What are the trigger points of conflict? What are each participant’s personalities and motivations?

After this initial assessment, I will sometimes surprise the couple by telling them that they remind me a lot of my dog. This statement is met with some very strange looks, but at least I know that I have their attention. I go on to explain.

Loneliness within a Marriage

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

relationship-crisisMany of my clients discuss a feeling of loneliness within their marriages. Often their spouses look at them with confusion or contempt. They ask how it’s possible to feel alone when they are in the same house or even the same room much of the time. Mr. and Mrs. Just Not Feeling It may also be helpful in explaining how you feel.

When you feel lonely within your marriage, you don’t feel like you’re part of anything bigger than yourself. You feel alone, and there is no “we,” only you and your spouse, completely separate entities. You may or may not seem to be a happy couple to others, and you may or may not be able to keep a united front for the kids. Either way, when it is just you and your spouse talking to each other, you don’t feel close, connected, secure or safe.

When You and Your Partner Fight

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Why Fighting With Your Spouse Might Save Your MarriageIt’s an inescapable truth that you and your partner will argue or fight. Often in therapy, I see that couples are unable to resolve a conflict, especially if it is regarding what renowned couples therapists Drs. John and Julie Gottman call “gridlock issues.”

When this happens, couples often argue, then one partner or both exhausts the argument until someone walks away from the fight. Other times, couples resolve the fight they are having, but not the underlying problem. This means the fight will happen again when one partner’s underlying problem resurfaces in a different argument.

Recent Comments
  • doris: Ho my goodness my eyes are now open wide to the relationship that i have been in for 8 years everything that i...
  • Learnthehardway: Terrible that people are like that. My ex husband was/is one combined with a nasty vindictive...
  • CA: I responded to some posts last year. My husband of 15 years left me because he was depressed and disconnected...
  • CA: Anne, I’m feeling for you. I hope you are hanging on and that a way out reveals itself.
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