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Marriage and Divorce

Do You Need an “Interesting” Man?

Many marriage minded women complain that men they meet aren’t “interesting.” Such comments jolt me.

Interesting can be fine, but not if you expect all stimulation to come from outside yourself. Women who are already enjoying life, rather than waiting around for someone to light up their world, attract men naturally.

We create our own excitement when we keep growing and learning. By pursuing our interests, whether through work, hobbies, clubs, or whatever else we’re drawn to, we feel glad to be alive. Our glow attracts likeminded people, some of whom we’re likely to find interesting in turn.
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Marriage and Divorce

Why Men Give Up Their Identity in a Relationship

Over the past 30 years of working as a psychologist with men doing individual and group therapy, I have often seen men struggling to maintain either the romance or friendship or both in their intimate relationships. It’s a subject I’ve been investigating and exploring for much of my professional and personal life. I’ve often noticed my men clients complaining about their relationships in a way that is troubling. Why is my wife so controlling? I feel like I never do things right by her, and she always finds something to criticize; is there such a thing as the-glass-is-always-half-empty syndrome?  It feels like she doesn’t appreciate me. She controls what restaurants we go to and where we go on vacation. Why doesn’t she value my input on how to raise our kids? I don’t know why I have to send the kids to private school; it puts so much pressure on us financially. I didn’t want to travel for one of my two-week’s vacation with my wife’s parents. I don’t know how to make her happy.  
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Marriage and Divorce

Sex and Dating — What’s a Woman to Do?

Dating a new person can be fun and exciting. It can also feel awkward these days for a woman who wants to get to know a man well before becoming physically intimate. She may have heard that if sex doesn’t happen by the third date the man will bolt. This is not necessarily true and will be addressed below.  

If a woman is looking to marry, she’ll be wise to listen to her head as well as her heart, to think through what really makes sense for her. It’s important to clarify your boundaries for yourself before a situation arises that may test them. By doing so, you’re more likely to make a good decision when the time comes.
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Anger

Getting Over the Hurt of an Affair

Your partner was unfaithful and now you are trying to get past all the hurt it’s causing you. You may be experiencing a number of different emotions including embarrassment, shame, guilt, anger, and sadness. You are probably going through a rollercoaster of feelings; loving and hating your spouse, all at the same time. Maybe you are wondering if this incredible pain will ever go away and end.
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LifeHelper

Why Go on a Honeymoon?

At a recent party, a guy was talking about how disappointing his honeymoon had been.

It rained. The rain went on for six of the seven days he and his bride were in their tropical paradise. They didn’t get to go snorkeling or on the hike they’d planned. They were quickly bored by the attractions of their resort hotel.

Thumbing through old National Geographic magazines they found in the lobby just wasn’t what they had had in mind. They were disappointed and cranky because they had saved for a year to get there and they felt trapped indoors. More to the point, they were disappointed because their preconceived ideas of what would make their honeymoon memorable kept getting in the way of just being and living and loving -- the stuff that a honeymoon is really about.
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Family

Your Bad Relationships Are Actually Great Sources of Wisdom

When a relationship ends, we often label it a “failed” or "bad" relationship. It didn’t last, after all. Maybe we never think about it, again. Ever again. Maybe we miss our ex from time to time. Maybe we recall the fights and bad memories. Maybe we blame our ex, and fixate on what a total jerk they were. Maybe we simply move on, and when our thoughts do turn to the relationship, we dismiss it as a disaster. Nothing more.

Of course, relationships end for all sorts of reasons. Cheating. Lack of trust. Lack of respect. Physical distance. Emotional disconnection. Different values and priorities. Endless bickering.
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Marriage and Divorce

Are Your Differences TOO Different or Just Right?

“Are we just too different?” This is a question many couples ask themselves as the initial high of romantic love wanes. Take Dorothy and Leah (fictional composites of couples I’ve seen in my private practice). They’ve been together for a year, living together for two months. Recently, Dorothy has started thinking she’s made a big mistake. Although she’s never felt more "at home" with someone, she and Leah are very different.
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Grief and Loss

What to Do When You Feel Lost After Divorce

Divorce is tough for many reasons. Not only are we dealing with the emotions and logistics and finances, but after the dust has settled, we may feel like our life's plans have changed direction. The life you planned and your vision of the future may disappear, leaving you with a feeling of not knowing what to do or where to go from here.

But when you feel like this, don’t panic! There is merely one thing you must remember:
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LifeHelper

When Your Mate Touches a Nerve…

How do you talk to your partner about a sensitive topic? If he or she says something that makes you uneasy, do you feel tightness in your throat, chest or elsewhere? Forget to breathe?

Maybe you change the subject? Call the person selfish, unreasonable, or inconsiderate? Or withdraw?

Reacting means doing or saying what first pops into your mind. If you routinely do whatever you’re asked to do when you’d rather not, you’re likely to build up resentment. If instead of yielding, you belittle or stonewall your partner, you can expect ill will and conflict to increase.
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Grief and Loss

To Succeed in Marriage, Clear the Decks

Do you have unfinished business? Most of us do. It’s important to gain a sense of closure about a past relationship in order to succeed in a new one.    

Closure, in the psychological sense, means “the state of experiencing an emotional conclusion to a difficult life event.” 1 Typical situations that call for closure are the loss of a romantic partner, spouse, or parent. Another can involve grieving the absence of a healthier home environment in which one was raised.  
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Marriage and Divorce

After the Wedding Comes the Marriage

It’s almost June -- the beginning of the summer wedding season. Some couples are in the last stages of wedding planning. Hopefully they still like each other.

Too often the bride and groom (bride and bride; groom and groom) are so focused on their wedding day, they forget that they are launching into a new way of life.  Caught up in the mythos of making the perfect day, Bridezilla emerges from an otherwise perfectly lovely young woman. Her partner becomes zilla-ish too. What should be a fun celebration of love becomes a stress-filled quest for an impossible perfection. STOP!
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General

Expectations and Your Relationship

William Shakespeare once said, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.”

Ask yourself a question. Have you ever been disappointed because something did not turn out the way you expected? Why did you have such a strong belief something would happen?

We all have high expectations at one point or another, only to be disappointed when things do not turn out the way we wanted. It can get the best of us at any given moment. When those expectations are not met, we need to keep in mind the way it affects us.
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