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Finding New Friends After 40

A client, age 45, finds herself without close friendships in the wake of a difficult divorce. “Most of my friends are part of couples that my husband and I hung out with. It’s just plain awkward to try to be part of that group anymore.”

My 70-year-old client is lonely. “Most of the friends I thought I’d grow old with have died,” she explained. “I miss them terribly, of course. But I also miss just having people to do things with.”
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Surprising Losses that Need to Be Grieved

We think that the only time we grieve is when a loved one passes away. But it’s important to grieve all sorts of losses. Moving. Graduating. Retiring. Ending a relationship (even if you’re the one who ended it). Being diagnosed with an illness. Recovering from that illness. Starting a new job or even being promoted.

In short, a loss can be anything, negative or positive. As marriage and family therapist Cheryl Beatrice said, “If we can be connected to it -- whatever ‘it’ is -- then we can grieve its loss.”
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Marriage and Divorce

The Key to Success for Marriage-Minded Singles

Often a woman (or man) who wants marriage can get in her own way without knowing it. Ambivalence about marrying can cause her to stay involved with a man who won’t commit or to reject any man who will. For various reasons, she may become involved with a man or with a series of men who lack qualities essential for her happiness. After such a relationship or after a disappointing marriage, she may become stuck in bitterness and cynicism about being able to have a successful marriage. Lana’s story below shows how this can happen and how she overcame her self-defeating pattern and is now happily married.
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Marriage and Divorce

4 Ways You Could Be Sabotaging Your Relationship and What to Do About It

Most of us want to have a successful relationship, and yet there are behaviors that we engage in that are surefire ways of wreaking havoc on our relationship.

A likely cause is that we didn't know that our behavior was unhealthy and destructive. For this reason it's important to reflect on our actions and assess whether they're harmful to our relationship. So examine these sabotaging behaviors and determine whether you're making any of these mistakes.

Not Addressing Past Hurts

If you enter into your relationship with un-addressed issues from prior relationships, whether with romantic partners or family members, they can come up and be damaging to your new relationship. You can be setting yourself up for failure if you don't address these past issues. And it's even worse if you're thinking that you don't need to address them, as it'll be harder for you to see how they're affecting your relationship. Keep in mind, that when people perceive their partners as having more emotional baggage,
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Is He Ready for Marriage? Put Him to the Test

If you’re looking to marry, how do you know if he’s the one? Besides giving due weight to chemistry and other concerns, you can do some “litmus testing” to find out which qualities he has that you can accept and which ones spell trouble.         

Marriage-readiness is necessary. It can’t be forced. When he’s ready, he’s ready and not a moment before. If you’re able to manipulate a not ready man into marrying you, he may resent you for a long time. You don’t want that, do you? So do test for readiness.     

The "Sex and the City" television characters once compared a marriage-ready man to a taxi: At a certain time, he becomes ready to commit. His "available" light goes on and the next woman in his life gets the ring.
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7 Ways to Better Understand and Be Understood

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood.” – Ralph Nichols
Being human, we all have certain basic needs. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs outlines them quite well and encompasses all that we generally think about when it comes to what we need.

Yet one of our most basic needs, the need to understand and be understood, seldom gets much attention.

It should.

Without the ability to understand what others say or the meaning behind their words, we can miss important cues, lose out on opportunities, fail to see changes in time to appropriately react, and go off in a totally different direction. Worse, if we lack understanding, we’re more prone to selfish acts than helping others.
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Children and Teens

Everything I Was Too Afraid to Be: On Fatherhood and Mental Health

Recently, I had the good fortune to meet a fellow mental health advocate in person. Gabriel Nathan (Gabe – just like me) is the Editor-in-Chief of OC87 Recovery Diaries and a man who lives with depression, anxiety, and obsessive thoughts. We talked about a great many things, but the topic that fascinated me the most is that he is the father of twins.

“How on earth can you manage mental illness AND a child -- let alone two?” was my first thought.

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Marriage and Divorce

More Terrible Relationship Advice

There’s a lot of bad relationship advice out there—whether you find it in how-to articles, on the shelves of your local bookstore, or in conversations around the dinner table. When followed, it can spoil your relationship or a future relationship.

We’ve already featured some terrible tips in this earlier piece. Today, we’re sharing several more unhelpful perspectives, along with advice that genuinely helps.

Adjust your age or number of sex partners. Beginning your relationship with a lie is basically the antithesis to what relationships are. “The foundation to a healthy and successful relationship is security; both people need to know they can be vulnerable, open, and honest without losing the bond,” said Jennine Estes, a marriage and family therapist who owns a group practice called 
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Divorce Recovery: Dealing with Jealousy

You know that moment. Some of us know it all too well during and after divorce. The moment when one of your grown children, after spending the weekend with your ex, tells you about the "new friend" who is at your ex's house. Or when you hear about the trip your ex is taking to Europe while you’re struggling to make ends meet.

Ah, jealousy.

The Green Eyed Monster that consumes us, when what we should really be doing is focusing on our own divorce recovery.  

You’re not alone when it comes to dealing with jealousy, especially after a divorce. And I have to share with you two very ugly truths about this emotion.
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3 Ways to Stop Resentment from Ruining Your Relationship

It’s like there’s an invisible wall between you and your partner. Each of you is annoyed or even outraged at the other’s behavior. You think your spouse’s actions are unfair. They think your actions are ridiculous. You don’t feel connected, emotionally or physically. In fact, even though you’re inhabiting the same space, it feels like there are miles between you. And you’re withdrawing more and more from each other. Maybe you even feel like roommates.

This is resentment.

Resentment often occurs when partners become parents. Each partner compares how hard they’re working and how much they’re doing. Usually, new moms feel especially resentful because they’re overtired, overwhelmed and lonely, said
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3 Things that Keep Us Lonely

As a psychotherapist, I frequently observe how lonely and isolated people feel. Although they may be married or successful in their career, people often report a painful sense of disconnection or alienation.

Although there are varied reasons for experiencing a sense of isolation, here are three things I've noticed that may contribute to the epidemic of loneliness in our society.
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