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Avoiding Projections Through Appreciation

A common way we get into trouble in intimate relationships is through projection.

We project onto our partner how we think they should be or act, usually through the lens of how we learned to be and act from our parents. We may have a fantasy of the ideal partner, or ideal behaviors we want from our partner, and we hold them to these unattainable projections.

The result is disappointment for both parties. Your partner only knows how to be themselves and will resent you if they are seen in and treated through idealized expectations. Thus, there needs to be space to allow your partner to be who they are. You can’t force them to be different, but you can appreciate them for who they are.

This is the foundation of relationship health.
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Is Your Partner Jealous of Your Child?

When you met your partner and fell in love you probably dreamed and eventually planned out a life together. For many this plan included the possibility of children. Fast-forward to having one or more children and all is perfect, right? Maybe not.

Life has a way of taking you through unexpected twists and turns and rarely, if ever, does it turn out the way you anticipated. What if one of those unexpected twists however, is your partner’s jealousy of your children?
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The Art of Talking

I met my husband, Steve, in 1994.

We went out to dinner on a blind date. Strangely enough, I had the feeling when I met him that I was going to marry him. We wed three years later. This year we’re celebrating our 20-year wedding anniversary.

Back in 2003, when we were trying to adopt a baby, a social worker told us that we needed to learn how to communicate better with each other. My husband was quiet by nature, and I didn’t want to make him talk if he didn’t want to speak; consequently, a lot went unsaid.
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Marriage and Divorce

The 5 Best Traits to Look for in a Romantic Partner

Decades of research have delved into what key ingredients are necessary for true success in any given long-term relationship, including marriage.

While there is no rhyme and reason to explain such success, it is believed that the following psychological traits can heavily impact the success of a given relationship, thereby cementing it into something solid that has a chance of enduring fruitfully over time.

Take a peek at these five traits that researchers and experts use to predict longevity in relationships, and see where you and your partner may be falling short.
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What’s More Important: Speaking Your Truth or Maintaining Safe Relationships?

We often hear that it’s important to speak your truth -- to express your honest feelings, thoughts, and perceptions. But how often do we create rifts in our relationships following this dictate too rigidly?

We want to be true to ourselves and live with authenticity and integrity. We don’t want to be codependent and conceal our true feelings in order to protect or placate others. Intimacy cannot thrive in a climate of emotional dishonesty and inauthenticity.
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Marriage and Divorce

The Truth About Couples Therapy

Couples therapy is surrounded by a lot of misconceptions. Some people think that walking into a therapist’s office is an admission that your relationship has problems. Others think of couple’s therapy as merely a last resort when problems arrive. Even worse, some people think that going to therapy is a sign that their relationship is over!

Those with experience as patients or therapists know that the opposite is true. Couples therapy is a positive, constructive opportunity to enhance any and every relationship, no matter what stage it is at. It gives you the tools you need to build a strong foundation, reach shared goals, and find lifelong happiness. And if you are experiencing conflict, therapy will help you get through it.
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Marriage and Divorce

A Successful Relationship Requires Complete Authenticity

It's time to get real.

Recently I was at Sex Geek Conservatory with Reid Mihalko of ReidAboutSex and Cathy Vartuli of The Intimacy Dojo. They had us do an exercise in which we took two minutes each to teach one simple concept.

As I thought about the concept I would teach, I realized that the most important piece of relationship advice I could give to someone who wants to be happy would be the advice to always be yourself and to always be authentic in all aspects of your life, and especially in your romantic relationships.
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Marriage and Divorce

Can I Be Vulnerable with Him?

As a therapist, I often see a self-defeating pattern in clients: they hold back from expressing their authentic selves -- their true feelings, wants, and needs to a relationship partner.  

What’s wrong with that?

What’s wrong is that by failing to communicate in ways that respect who we really are, we miss out on getting the kind of relationship we long for. We feel frustrated when we aren't understood, don’t get our needs met, and don’t know what’s on the other person’s mind. Communicating openly usually fosters a more emotionally and spiritually fulfilling relationship.
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Psychology Around the Net: June 24, 2017

I conquered a fear last weekend, y'all. I went whitewater rafting for the first time. It wasn't a phobia, but the days -- and especially hours -- leading up to it...well, I was terrified. What if I fall out of the raft? Crack my skull? Get sucked into one of those underwater cave things under some rocks?

Fortunately, none of those things happened, and I'm chalking it up to two factors: One, I gave in and trusted my friends (and especially our guide), and two, I gave in and trusted myself. We couldn't control the whitewater, but we could control ourselves, and we did.

Fear and trust make for interesting bedfellows, don't they?

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