How Quality Time With Your Partner Improves Your Mental Health

partners holding hands on a walk

My husband and I just got back from a vacation in Maine, where we spent a few glorious days hiking in Acadia National Park. We ate lobster rolls, searched tidepools, and took naps on the ocean rocks like the nearby seals. The best part? There was no service. Without the constant flood of emails, text messages, and social media updates, we could simply enjoy each other’s presence. A luxury.

Quality in-person time is especially important in our digital age because, as a recent study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion shows, higher rates of social media use are tied to greater loneliness. Tweeting at your sweetie, might not be as hot as holding their hand on a nice hike.

Like many couples, my husband and I have a hard time carving out quality time for just the two of us. At any given moment, we are either working, meeting up with friends, visiting family, or running errands. It takes conscious effort to set aside time for us to spend together doing something just for fun. But it’s been vital to our relationship and my personal happiness. Continue reading How Quality Time With Your Partner Improves Your Mental Health

How Financial Infidelity Impacts Mental Health

Until debt tear us apart sign

Before we tied the knot and merged our finances, my husband and I decided to each hang on to a credit card from our single days. Higher limits in case of an emergency and the ability to charge a surprise gift unnoticed solidified our decision. But as I scanned our joint credit card charges last month, I thought back to our individual cards and how easy it would be for either of us to be financially unfaithful.

Marital infidelity is widely known, but research shows that financial infidelity is on the rise. 41% of American adults reported that they’ve hidden accounts, debt, or spending habits from their partner. A recent survey determined that millennials are nearly twice as likely to hide money or accounts from partners than other generations. Continue reading How Financial Infidelity Impacts Mental Health

5 Reasons Couple’s Counseling Is Not Just for Crisis

man and woman standing on dock facing toward camera

If your relationship is on the rocks, breaking up isn’t the only option: couples counseling can salvage a struggling marriage — or even improve a good marriage. Just ask rocker P!nk, who has attended couples counseling with her husband, Carey Hart, for most of their 17-year relationship. She told Today host Carson Daly that couples counseling saved her marriage. “It’s the only reason we’re still together,” she said. Continue reading 5 Reasons Couple’s Counseling Is Not Just for Crisis

5 Signs Your Partner May be Spiraling Into Depression

view down a spiraling staircase

You know that feeling, the one that leaves you longing for an ordinary day? Suddenly mundane tasks like the morning coffee routine, the ritual of a late afternoon text to make happy hour plans, or the ability to crush a list of errands in one fell swoop feel pretty extraordinary.

When we find ourselves longing for the ordinary, it is often a sign that something in our lives is out of balance. Sometimes the fix is simple: be more present, exercise more, sleep eight hours. But when depression is the culprit, things are rarely so simple. Continue reading 5 Signs Your Partner May be Spiraling Into Depression

How Fertility Issues Impact Mental Health

couple standing front to back loosely holding hands

I will never forget the fertility struggles my husband and I faced as we attempted to conceive our first child. We were both young and healthy. I had regular menstrual cycles, no reproductive issues (that I knew about), and always assumed that getting pregnant would happen instantly. Each month we tried to get pregnant, I was shocked that the little plus sign on the pregnancy test never appeared – not even once.

But my shock turned to despair when – after 18 months of trying and a million, sometimes very invasive fertility tests – we were told that my husband had a low sperm count. The first doctor we saw told us that his count was so low that our only hope of conceiving would be to use IVF, which we could not afford. I remember lying in bed, looking at the ceiling, feeling a level of hopelessness in my bones that I had never experienced before. Continue reading How Fertility Issues Impact Mental Health

How to Ask for Space From a Partner

two people standing apart facing each other

Let’s face it, sometimes your partner will annoy you.

I used to think conflict with my partner meant our relationship was doomed. I was so terrified of it that I would do everything in my power to either avoid it or make it go away. As a recovering people-pleaser, I used to immediately abandon myself at the mere whisper of conflict. I would agree with, and internalize, whatever criticism my partner made about me without blinking an eye. Continue reading How to Ask for Space From a Partner

Does Your Partner Resent You?

woman sitting with her legs crossed looking towards partner

When you’re feeling disconnected and distant from your partner, there can be many reasons. Perhaps you two have grown apart, or there are trust issues undermining your prior closeness. However, one significant contributor to a couple growing about can often be overlooked if it isn’t discussed openly. Resentment — that corrosive feeling of imbalance and disgruntlement at past behavior partners carry around — can be the underlying cause of relationship issues. There are ways to figure out, however, if this is what is sabotaging your relationship. Continue reading Does Your Partner Resent You?

5 Things You Shouldn’t Have to Ask for in a Healthy Relationship

couple holding hands and standing together closely

Relationships involve give and take, compromise, and consideration. But in healthy relationships, there are certain non-negotiables that must be honored to maintain a loving partnership that lasts. Affection and unconditional love are foundational elements, but what else does it take to support a quality partnership?

Here are five things you shouldn’t have to ask for in a relationship. Continue reading 5 Things You Shouldn’t Have to Ask for in a Healthy Relationship

Defiant Desire: Grappling With My Sexuality in Widowhood

mental health and grief illustration naked women

The following is intended for readers 18+

My wife is sick. Stage Four sick. I must hurry home and relieve her parents who have been caring for her since I left for work at 9 a.m. and for our three-year old son since his pre-school day ended at 2 p.m. It is 6:30 p.m., but I am not rushing through the front door.

Instead, I am lying on a massage table in the back room of our local nail salon, trying not to audibly cry as my masseuse works on the knot under my right shoulder blade. The knot is excruciating, but that is not why my tears soak the paper cover of the table. I do not know her name, but I do know that she always works on Tuesday nights and I know this as well— she does not tie back her thick dark hair. My wife had thick dark hair before the chemo.

I cannot define this desire; this deep longing for another woman’s hair to tickle my back. Is this a form of adultery? Of exploitation? To pay a thick-haired stranger to soothe me in this way? Do I take advantage of my wife’s parents? Do I neglect my son who is scared and sad and needs me to come home? Because I will be late. I will blame my boss or the subway or the rain before I cop to this 20-minute reprieve. I am ashamed. I am defiant. But I know what I need. Continue reading Defiant Desire: Grappling With My Sexuality in Widowhood

Divorcing A Sociopath

phrenology head in profile

It’s been nearly four years since I left my ex-husband. When I think back to that time, I think about how naive I was, how foggy and confused. I had never heard of a personality disorder. I still believed that dangerous people would be easy to spot, that they came wielding chainsaws and screaming, “I’m a dangerous person!”

Sigh. There was so much I did not know.

Continue reading Divorcing A Sociopath