Marriage and Divorce Articles

Blue in the Face: When the Other Person Just Doesn’t ‘Get It’

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

He Just Doesn’t ‘Get it’!Have you felt frustrated because someone close to you just doesn’t “get it,” even though you’ve explained your point over and over? During those times, do you feel yourself getting enraged or shaking your head in disgust?

We’re often under the illusion that if only the other person understood “the facts” (as we see them), he’d embrace our position. When he doesn’t, we’re perplexed and frustrated.  In those moments, it’s hard to imagine that the other person has his own version of “the facts.” That what we strongly adhere to may differ from his deeply entrenched beliefs. And that just as strongly as you believe you’re right, he believes you’re wrong.

Couples You Meet in Counseling: The Ice Queen and the Martyr

Monday, August 25th, 2014

upset couple backs bigstMy first post in this series tackled Mr. Perfect and his crazy wife. Here we turn to The Ice Queen and the Martyr, another commonly seen couple.

Here are some examples of what you hear from The Martyr in session:

“No matter what I do, it’s not good enough. She doesn’t show any appreciation or affection. I guess I don’t communicate well. But I’ve heard from other girlfriends that I’m actually great at communicating. “

“We haven’t had sex in months. She pushes me away. I guess I should try harder, but I already schedule date nights, help with housework, and get up with the baby.”

You Have the Right to Say No

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

You Have the Right to Say NoSo many of us end up saying yes to activities, events and even ideas only to regret it. We end up answering questions that are too personal or downright rude. We let people into our lives who don’t deserve to be there.

Or we say no, and then worry — endlessly — if we really have the right to decline a request or invitation, to stop spending less time with a friend.

According to authors James Altucher and Claudia Azula Altucher in their new book The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance and Happiness, not only do we have the right to say no, we have an entire Bill of Rights for doing so.

Families Engaged in Destructive Tug of War: How to Drop the Rope

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Families Engaged In Tug of War: How to Drop the RopeTug of war is an ancient game that is believed to have begun in the 8th century BC as a training exercise for warriors. Today it is a fun game usually played at social events that pits two teams against one another to reveal which team is the strongest and has the most endurance.

However, when a tug of war pits two family members against each other, it’s anything but fun. Indeed, it often turns into a deadly game — killing any safety and security that family members feel in their own home.

The Truth about Couples Therapy

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

upset couple backs bigstI always say that every couple would benefit from therapy. As a couples therapist myself, I am privy to the benefits of therapy both after problems begin and as a preventative measure. As some brilliant person once said, “The best time to fix a leaky roof is when the sun is shining.”

But the truth is, most people aren’t entirely enthusiastic about the prospect of couples therapy. Who wants to voluntarily do something that conjures up images of a woman in a beige sweater looking over her glasses, asking, “And how do you feel about that?”

5 Tips to Keep ‘Keeping Score’ from Ending Your Relationship

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

How to Start Separating Yourself in a Codependent Relationship

Why holding on to your partner’s mistakes will end up hurting you.

We’ve all been there. Your partner has put you off, let you down or totally messed up so many times, you have a running tally going, and it only fuels your irritation and anger.

One woman posted on Reddit a spreadsheet her husband actually created and sent to her that listed off every excuse she’d given him over the past month for not having sex. He included the date, whether or not they had sex and the excuse she gave. He even provided follow up. When she told him, “I need a shower,” he recorded that she didn’t actually shower until the next day.

Obviously, this couple’s relationship is in trouble. It’s clear that there’s something bugging both of them, and it’s probably not only the fact that they’re not having sex as often as the man would like.

Can a Sex Addict Also Be a Codependent?

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Can a Sex Addict also be a Codependent?In my 27 years working with addicts and codependents, I rarely have come across a completely healthy partner of an addict. Although addicts’ partners are unequivocally not to blame for the addiction, and most certainly not the consequences of it, they certainly carry responsibility for the shared relationship problems.

The nature of shared relational responsibility is even more pronounced in the sex addict/co-addict (partner) relationship. Addiction psychotherapists all have experienced how both the addict and his or her partner participate, either actively or passively, in their dysfunctional relationship.

Opposite-Sex Friendships and Romantic Relationships

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

Opposite-Sex Friendships and Romantic RelationshipsWhen you’re romantically involved with someone, it might be considered taboo to maintain a friendship with a member of the opposite sex. It may be frowned upon to share yourself, emotionally, with said friend — to have conversations that are genuine and deep and filled with substance.

I personally don’t view these opposite-sex friendships in a negative light. Friendships create space in your heart for additional connections; they allow you to bond with others. And that’s not to say you won’t naturally feel more connected to your significant other.

But why give your sole attention to one person? Why limit yourself, where you feel it’s wrong to connect and be vulnerable and divulge your story to another human being, even if they are of the opposite sex?

Top 10 Underpublicized Reasons to Seek Couples Counseling

Friday, August 15th, 2014

The Top Ten Underpublicized Reasons to Seek Couples CounselingDo you notice everyone around you is in couples counseling? I do, because I’m a couples therapist. But even among people I meet casually, it seems everyone is going. The stigma of seeing a couples therapist will probably reverse soon.

So, why be left out of this trend? All around you, couples are improving their marriages, and you’re stuck in an uncommunicative, non-intimate, frustrating relationship that makes you feel bad five days out of seven.

Does Your Sweetheart Drive You Nuts with the Very Qualities that Attracted You?

Friday, August 15th, 2014

swingingballsAre you driven nuts by the very qualities that drew you to your sweetheart?

A few days ago, I read Elizabeth Bernstein’s Wall Street Journal piece, How to cope when you and your partner are falling out of love.

It discusses the idea of “fatal attraction” — that the traits that drew you toward your sweetheart now drive you nuts. Often, we’re drawn to a quality in someone else because we somehow lack or desire that quality in ourselves — but then that very quality turns out to be a point of tension. An introverted person might be attracted to someone’s more outgoing nature, but then get tired of their constant desire to be sociable.

The Difference Between Love and Love Addiction

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

The Difference between Love and Love AddictionEven for a securely attached personality, falling in love can be temporarily disorienting. We are all familiar with phrases such as “she took my breath away” or “he swept me off my feet.” Usually, however, this initial whirlwind is followed by a period of trust-building and the establishment of true intimacy based on mutual respect and understanding.

The above phrases often have a very different meaning for a love addict. They signal destabilization and loss of autonomy. Infatuation can mark the beginning of a downward spiral into obsession and constant preoccupation.

Signs You May Be in a Codependent Relationship

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Signs You May Be in a Codependent RelationshipA codependent relationship is an unhealthy relationship. When someone is “being codependent,” they’re either excessively controlling or compliant in a relationship; don’t practice self-care or have much self-respect; and enable their partner to engage in self-destructive behavior, according to Chris Kingman, LCSW, a psychotherapist in the Flatiron District in New York City.

Some people believe the emotional pain in these kinds of relationships is simply a reflection of their love for each other, he said. However, “healthy love doesn’t cause pain; it heals pain.”

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