In my practice, I see many clients who grew up in very anxious families. Parents may have suffered from generalized anxiety, social anxiety, agoraphobia, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Often, these parents were never formally diagnosed with a mental health disorder, and it’s only after the fact, during adulthood, that clients are able to recognize and understand how anxious their parents were — and how it has affected their mental health, both during childhood and into adulthood.
As a therapist, I can’t tell you how many times clients come to me with information that they have gleaned from checking their partners’ phone. Some people will come in with screenshots of text conversations between their partner and others, hoping to dissect them to determine whether their partner was flirting or whether the conversation was just platonic.
Others come in with call records, telling me that it can’t be innocent when a partner calls a “friend” five times in a week. Some people fear that a significant other is cheating on them and comb through their partner’s email, looking for something that they can use as evidence of infidelity.
Though we’re conditioned to think of romantic relationships as the center of excitement and passion in life, many people remain in intimate relationships they feel ambivalent about, not knowing whether to leave their partners, or to stick it out for the long haul.
Because the excitement in romantic relationships is bound to ebb over time, it can be hard to know whether a relationship is just going through a boring or difficult stage, or whether it has naturally run its course.
There is no right answer, as experiences will differ from person to person, and from relationship to relationship — but there are some hints that you might be ready to move on. Here are five questions to ask yourself if you’re wondering whether your relationship is going to last.
Fighting with your partner can be stressful, demoralizing, and scary. But fighting doesn’t have to be a source of such angst, and certainly doesn’t have to weaken your relationship. There are productive ways to argue with your partner and work through challenges that can bolster your connection and leave both people feeling better.
Of course, much of the difficulty of fighting comes down to each partner’s communication style. Sometimes, it’s not what we say — but how we say it — that leaves one or both partners feeling misunderstood, angry, and emotionally abandoned. Learning how to fight in a healthy way with your partner is much more important than trying to avoid fights in the first place.
Everyone knows difficult people — whether at work, at home, maybe even in your friend group. While people can be difficult for a variety of reasons, most people we’d identify as “difficult” share something in common: they are hard to interact with. Perhaps they are fixated on being right, always pointing out others’ flaws. They may make social situations tense by being quick to criticize or make fun of others, whether openly or passive-aggressively. They may explode when they are challenged, or have volatile mood swings. Often, others feel like they have to walk on eggshells around them.
Everyone knows exercise is great for depression. Studies show physical activity has an equivalent effect to medication for Major Depressive Disorder. As helpful as these findings are, they are of no use when people are unable to get motivated to exercise. So many people with depression feel they are lazy when they don’t exercise. This self-criticism makes them feel worse and, in a vicious cycle, leaves them feeling even more depressed.
Nonetheless, there are many reasons people with depression find it difficult to work out, none of which include laziness. Below are only a few. If you have depression, you can use the insights to better understand the condition and forgive yourself when you have trouble getting motivated to exercise. Continue reading 6 Reasons Why It’s Hard for People With Depression to Exercise
Narcissism, or Narcissistic Personality Disorder, is almost as hard to deal with in the workplace as it is in family or intimate relationships. The most difficult situation is when your boss is a narcissist, because not only are you forced into close contact with your boss every day, but you are dependent on them for your income.
When your boss is unpredictable, self-centered, and easily upset, you might develop something akin to a PTSD response when you go into work each day. You are terrified of being insulted, shamed in front of coworkers, overlooked for opportunities, or even fired. Fortunately, though, there are ways to deal with your narcissistic boss that may allow you to survive and even thrive at work. Continue reading 6 Ways to Deal With Your Narcissistic Boss
It’s hard to have social anxiety. You feel like everyone is judging you, and you’re frequently uncomfortable in your own skin. It can also be difficult to date someone who suffers from social anxiety. Sometimes it can seem like your life is being constricted in ways you didn’t sign up for, and that issue can lead to resentment and irritation. Here are some tips to keep in mind when your partner has social anxiety, so the relationship can withstand the pressure of this disorder.
1. Try Hard to Empathize With Your Partner
You may not have social anxiety, but do you have any other issues you wish you didn’t have, or that you are actively working on improving? Most people wish they were different in some way or other. For instance, if you struggle with ADHD, it is useful to compare the conditions in your mind, saying, “I don’t try to forget things, and my partner isn’t trying to be scared of social situations. We both struggle.” Continue reading Dating Someone With Social Anxiety: 6 Tips from a Therapist
Sexual incompatibility can range from a minor annoyance for some couples to the death-knell of a relationship for others. No matter what value you place on chemistry in the bedroom, though, the general rule is that if a problem is ignored, it grows in significance and leads to increased anger and resentment on both sides. If the following issues describe your relationship with your partner, I encourage you to start an open discussion with them about the role of sex and sexual compatibility within your relationship.
1. Your Partner Finds Sex “Silly” or “Unimportant”
When couples have a disparity in sex drives, that is one dilemma. The troubles really start, however, when one partner dismisses or discredits the other’s need for sex. If you are thinking your partner would even take issue with the idea of sex being a “need,” that mindset likely points to a problem. Continue reading 7 Signs You May Be Sexually Incompatible With Your Partner
When there is a tremendous disparity between partners’ sex drives, relationships can be difficult to manage. The low-libido partner may feel pushed and resentful, and the high-libido partner can feel abandoned, betrayed, rejected, and angry. While both individuals within this dynamic struggle, the higher-libido partner has unique challenges, and their perspective will be the focus of this post.
There are two types of couples I usually see who exhibit a significant disparity in sex drives:
- Couples who started out with roughly equivalent levels of desire, but after a few years of what I call “monotogamy” (monotonous monogamy), one partner — often but not always the female in heterosexual couples — experiences a drastic drop in sex drive
- Couples who had a pronounced difference in sexual desire from the beginning of the relationship, but the couple loved each other enough to either consciously (or subconsciously) dismiss or minimize the potentially destructive impact of this disparity