For those of us who are comfortable with doing life solo, and take great pleasure and even pride in our over developed sense of autonomy; being in relationships can be challenging. Relationships at times can feel demanding, overwhelming, and even exhausting. Sometimes it may simply feel easier to be alone, instead of spending time with others. This is especially true for those of us who hang out on the introversion side of the spectrum. Introverts often find being with people emotionally depleting and require quiet time to renew our emotional energy.
Relationships can also be a bit challenging and even emotionally triggering for those who were hurt physically or emotionally in the past. Experiences of relationship hurt can create a type of hyper-vigilance that can make closeness in relationships threatening and cause one to avoid others.
Research continues to support that relationships and connectedness are good for our brains. Healthy relationships trigger the release of n...
One of the most important ways we can enhance our relationships is to communicate in ways that let others know that we are not only listening to them, but we are also hearing and understanding what they are communicating to us. The video blog addresses the importance of effective communication and provides a few handy tips about how to communicate like a ninja!
If you have worked with me in couples therapy, it's likely that you have heard me refer to marriage as an "Oreo" cookie. In my metaphor of the Oreo, I have said that you and your beloved spouse are simply two seperate cookies, that are connected by the creamy filling of two very important ingredients in your marriage......fun and good sex.
I imagine you are now thinking, "what the hell does that mean?".
Well, it means that similiar to an Oreo cookie without the creamy filling, a marriage that no longer enjoys having fun as a couple and is not enjoying good sex, is at increased risk of falling apart at some point.
These two aspects of your marriage are like an adhesive for the relationship. They build intimacy and connection. They cause the two of you to crave one another and seek each other. And.....they can both function as stress relievers. (Yes...it is true....I did not make this up).
The stress of the other necessary evils of marriage, such as...
At times, I find myself sitting with a couple in my office and one partner presents as extremely upset and the other looks mortified; fearful that he or she is about to be pranced across the town square with the dreaded scarlet letter "A" tattooed on his or her forehead.
Each partner may be feeling overwhelmed and flooded by their individual emotions as a result of this recent discovery of an affair. So often the betrayed partner will say, “I feel crazy”, and their partner may look at me, as if to say non verbally, “She is crazy”. And, I will often reply….”your brain is functioning as if you are crazy”.
When we meet that special person, and begin the developmental process of dating, that eventually leads to falling in love and we set the stage for the beginning of a significant emotional attachment. When this leads to marriage, it likely unfolds in a mutual commitment and boundary that is developed around the couple that creates their sense of “us”.
Divorce can be one of life's most stressful developmental transitions. Most people choose their mate and marry with the intent to stay married for a lifetime. When the marriage ends, it is a very significant loss, even in the face of strife and chronic conflict. Men are often faced with variety of overwhelming and at times, unexpected emotions as a result of the process of divorce. It's not uncommon to find oneself feeling confused, angry, hurt, alone, rejected and sad as a result of both the ongoing marital distress and the stress associated with separation and divorce. Simultaneously, men are less likely to seek counsel, help, or support to deal with these issues. This can lead to emotional suppression, isolation, and a wide array of maladaptive coping mechanisms, including the use of alcohol, sex, drugs, electronics, gambling, food, and pornography to avoid and numb feelings.
In light of these facts, it is important for men dealing with divorce to find healthy and adaptive...