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”

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”

Mindfulness and Polyamory

Mindfulness is the act of being fully present in your daily life, paying attention to your five senses, and not being overly reactive to things that are happening around you [1]. You are being mindful when you actively notice the sights, scents, tastes, sounds, and sensations around you. You are also being mindful when you bring awareness to your thoughts and emotions [2]. We are all guilty of stressing out about the future, and worrying about our past. However, when we are being mindful, we are actively present in the moment we’re living in. As human beings, we are all capable of mindfulness.  Continue reading “Mindfulness and Polyamory”

Taking a Break During an Argument

Arguing with your partner is never a fun experience. However, certain arguments are worse than others. These arguments can escalate quickly, and often leave us feeling frustrated and unheard by our partners. So, how do you know when it’s time to take a break? And how do you express the fact that you need a break, in a way that your partner will understand and respect? Continue reading “Taking a Break During an Argument”

The Four Horsemen: How NOT to Communicate When You Have Multiple Partners

We all have different communication styles. Over time, we fall into certain communication patterns with our partners. We may have learned our method of communication from our parents growing up, or we may feed off the communication styles that have developed throughout our relationships. Each relationship will have its own communication pattern – you most likely do not speak to your best friend in the same way that you speak to your nesting partner, and most likely do not speak to your nesting partner in the same way that you speak to your long-distance partner. However, in any relationship, there are problematic interactions that can lead to the end of a relationship. Continue reading “The Four Horsemen: How NOT to Communicate When You Have Multiple Partners”

Conscious Monogamy

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”

Holidays with Multiple Partners

The Holiday Season can be incredibly stressful for anyone, and having multiple partners sometimes adds to the stress of the season. How should you split your time? What are reasonable expectations in a relationship? Is it possible to celebrate the holidays with everyone? Continue reading “Holidays with Multiple Partners”