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 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”

Sexual Orientations: A Helpful Guide

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”

The Fundamentals of Polyamory: Know Yourself

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”

Gender Identity and Expression

If you are a mental health clinician, it is important to be aware of the difference between biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. It is also important to be familiar with various gender identities. If a client is struggling with their gender identity/expression, and does not feel comfortable discussing this subject with you, you are doing them a disservice as a clinician. In addition, your client should be able to speak about their own individualized gender experiences, and the therapeutic relationship may be strengthened when they have the ability to teach you about their own identity and gender process. However, you should have at least a basic understanding of gender identity and expression, and your client should not have to completely educate you on gender identity and expression.  Continue reading “Gender Identity and Expression”

What Is Polyamory?

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?”