The Underlying Effects of COVID-19 from a Mental Health Perspective, in Comparison to the 1918 Flu Pandemic

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.

Continue reading “The Underlying Effects of COVID-19 from a Mental Health Perspective, in Comparison to the 1918 Flu Pandemic”

Should You Be Dating? Differentiating Between Healthy Dating and Dating as a Coping Mechanism

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”

The Potential Pitfalls of People-Pleasing in Our Relationships

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”

The Pros and Cons of New Relationship Energy

We all know the feeling. When we meet someone new whom we’re interested in, and we have a sudden rush of energy – emotionally, romantically, and sexually. It may feel like this person can do no wrong, and they may seem like a perfect match to you. You may want to spend as much time as you can with this new person, spend all day in bed with them, and stay up late talking to them. You often feel as though you are “high on life,” and everything you discover about this new person seems exciting and makes you want to know more [1]. This feeling of excitement and newness in a relationship is known as New Relationship Energy, or NRE, in the polyamorous community. It is also commonly described as infatuation, puppy love, or even the honeymoon phase of a relationship in more mainstream society. While NRE is exciting and common in new relationships, it is important to consider how NRE is affecting your life and any other partner(s) you may have.  Continue reading “The Pros and Cons of New Relationship Energy”

Winning an Argument with Your Partner

What does it mean to win or lose? In most sports, there is a clear winner and a clear loser. In respect our partner(s), we also tend to think of winning or losing an argument. Many people try to win the argument themselves, because they certainly do not want to be the loser. We’ve all seen how sports teams or individuals react after a win or a loss in a game, and we do not want to be on the losing side. So, how do you win an argument with a partner?  Continue reading “Winning an Argument with Your Partner”

Meeting Your Metamour for the First Time

Meeting your partner’s other partner can be very stressful. It can be uncomfortable to spend time with the person whom you know is also dating your partner. For some people, meeting a metamour is a natural thing, and they aren’t phased by it. But most people may feel anxious, nervous, or even jealous as they consider meeting their metamour. They may feel as though their partner or metamour will be judging them, or feel that approval is needed from the metamour – especially if they are the newer partner. If you are feeling nervous about the prospect of meeting your metamour, here are some helpful tips! Continue reading “Meeting Your Metamour for the First Time”

Empathy in a Relationship After a Betrayal

When people are dating, and everything is new and exciting in their relationships, they often think their new partner can do no wrong. They may spend quite a bit of time with their new partner, and they don’t disagree on much, if anything. This excited feeling is often referred to as New Relationship Energy (NRE), and can last for 3-6 months or longer.  However, once NRE wears off in a relationship, arguments will eventually occur, and disagreements will happen. Some people will break their relationship agreements, and one of the most difficult examples of this is having an affair. Even after an affair, many people will want to continue their relationship and work things out. How do you do this when you have been hurt, or when you have hurt your partner? Continue reading “Empathy in a Relationship After a Betrayal”