I am a marriage and family therapist living in Metro Detroit during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I am frustrated. There is a dichotomy on social media, in which one group is concerned about the economy and their freedoms, and another group is concerned about their safety and saving lives. Both groups offer valid concerns, and I believe it is possible to be concerned about both of these things simultaneously. My goal in writing this article is not to start a debate. Social distancing is saving lives, and it is extremely frustrating to see people not abiding by social distancing guidelines in a protest at our state capital. However, fears about social distancing are not unwarranted. There have been articles written about the effect of lockdowns on the economy, and the concerning impact of lockdowns on women stuck in abusive homes. There are also plenty of articles out there about the importance of social distancing, what this is doing to flatten the curve, and what will happen if we lift these restrictions too soon. I am not an expert in that field, so my recommendation is to follow your state and CDC guidelines when it comes to COVID-19. But these topics are not what I came here to write about today.
A friend of mine requested that I write an article differentiating between dating in a healthy way, and dating as a coping mechanism or as a way to avoid the things going on in your life. He asked me, “How do I know when I am actually ready to start dating? I don’t want to give all my baggage to someone else, so when do I start dating again and know that it’s healthy for me? How do I know I’m not just avoiding being alone?” I have been mulling over this question for months, and I have put this blog post on the back-burner because I had no idea how to write about this. I tried to do some quick googling a few times, to see if anything was out there on this topic. To my surprise, I really couldn’t find anything. Continue reading “Should You Be Dating? Differentiating Between Healthy Dating and Dating as a Coping Mechanism”
Have you ever found yourself in a cycle of emotional overwhelm in your relationships? This could very well be due to the amount of emotional energy you’re putting into consistently pleasing the people around you. In using the term “relationships,” I’m not just pointing to the one we have with our significant other(s) – I’m talking about the relationships that exist in each area of our lives – family, friends, loved ones, co-workers, YOURSELF, etc. These relationships can consume much of our time and energy – which those of us self-proclaimed people-pleasers irrationally think we have an infinite amount of! In case you haven’t reached self-proclamation, I’ll provide the harsh truth: you are one person who has the same amount of time in each day as every other human being on Mother Earth and you will only have so much energy to give to each day. Let’s take some time here to help ourselves better understand the potential pitfalls we are creating in our relationships by being people-pleasers. Continue reading “The Potential Pitfalls of People-Pleasing in Our Relationships”
In the United States, and in most places around the world, monogamy is the default relationship style that people fall into. In romantic comedies, people often have to choose between two people to end up with “The One.” We are raised with the idea that we have to find “The One,” and if we don’t we will end up alone at the end of our lives. Women will be crazy cat ladies, and men will be forever bachelors, still only eating take out food at age 60. This kind of stereotyping and assumptions often create fear for people, that they will be lonely forever if their relationships end. This can lead to people staying in problematic or unfulfilling relationships for far longer than they should. So what other options do people have? Continue reading “Conscious Monogamy”
Have you ever thought about who you are attracted to? Have you been confused by your sexual orientation? Are you a mental health clinician who has had clients use new terms for sexual orientation that you have never heard before? Then this article is for you! Continue reading “Sexual Orientations: A Helpful Guide”
What are your beliefs about love and sex? What do you believe about relationships? How should you be treated by friends, family, and partners? How are your time management skills? What do you desire in an emotionally or physically intimate relationship? What are your relationship fears? What are your feelings about your own self-worth? What are your goals in life, and why are these your goals? Who has encouraged you to have these goals? Where did you learn your values? How do your values align with, or dis-align with, societal expectations and values? Continue reading “The Fundamentals of Polyamory: Know Yourself”
Are you new to polyamory? Have you just heard the term polyamory, and want to learn more? Do you have a friend or family member who identifies as polyamorous, or is in a polyamorous relationship? Are you a mental health clinician with a client who has recently come out as polyamorous? No matter who you are, this introduction to polyamory may help you to develop a better understanding of polyamorous relationships, enable you to explore your relationship options, and have more informed discussions about polyamory with your partner(s), friends, clients, or family members. Continue reading “What Is Polyamory?”