When One Person Controls the Relationship

A bird, quite possibly a finch, eats from the hand of a man

It would be nice if every relationship had a straight 50/50 power dynamic split…but those in relationships will tell you that’s probably not the case in their partnership. Relationships should be about a shared, equal bond, where partners are teammates who make compromises and share power, rather than a coach versus team member dynamic. Right?

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Chemistry or Consistency: What Makes for a Better Relationship

Color in water

The night of my first date with my ex, I felt strong, instant chemistry. The butterflies in my stomach felt more like large birds, and each kiss felt like 4th of July fireworks. Actually, even just looking at him made me feel fireworks!

We became official, and from there…it went downhill. Why? We were lacking consistency and things that came along with it, like trust. Once I wasn’t so blinded by chemistry, I realized we weren’t compatible and there were aspects of the relationship that were not healthy. When it came down to it, we wanted different things in life. There were parts of him I could not accept and parts of me that he could not accept. Continue reading Chemistry or Consistency: What Makes for a Better Relationship

6 Ways to Deal With People Who Are Distant

Astronaut in space

Some people keep feelings and emotions close to the vest. They aren’t bad people, but it can be frustrating when we’re only treated to occasional glimmers of their sparkling personality. Their slow message response times (leaving you “on read”) and unaccepted invitations make you feel unwanted, or that you’re the only person putting in any effort.

Having a heart-to-heart with a cheerful, friendly person, however, rarely feels like a struggle. But if everyone was cheerful and friendly, we’d already have world peace. Dealing with people who are distant seems to present a bigger challenge. Continue reading 6 Ways to Deal With People Who Are Distant

5 Reasons for Your Commitment Issues

Crying eggs

For many people, marriage and monogamy sound like an ideal state. These lucky people often couple up and ride off into a beautiful sunset…until, of course, life stressors get in the way and interrupt the honeymoon phase.

Other people, however, see commitment in less idealized terms. It is common to say that there is something wrong with people who have “commitment issues,” but that’s reductive and a little simplistic in most cases. In actuality, there are many factors contributing to what we call commitment issues, and they run the gamut from psychological to evolutionary. Continue reading 5 Reasons for Your Commitment Issues

How to Address Family Secrets Without Causing a Rift

Shadow of Family Projected onto a Wall

Do you keep secrets from your family?

If you’re mentally rifling through all the skeletons in your family closet, you’re definitely not alone. Even those who pride themselves on openness probably have a secret or two that they’re not willing to share — even with the people they hold most dear. From issues as traumatic as sexual violence, to those as relatively mild (but still potentially contentious) as who we vote for, most of us have secrets we’d rather not share with our families. Continue reading How to Address Family Secrets Without Causing a Rift

5 Things Your Fighting Style Says About Your Mental Health

A set of boxing gloves

You’re bound to get into an argument every once in a while — whether it’s with your partner a family member, a friend, or a complete stranger. We all possess strong thoughts, aspirations, and opinions that sometimes transform everyday conversations into disputes. But while our tendency to disagree may be shared, did you know that everyone has a different “fighting style” that provides a glimpse into their mental health, too?

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Why is It So Hard to Compromise

A small girl leads a pug into the street

You probably think you’re a team player. At least, you’ve white-lied that you are in job interviews. But even the most community-minded of us dig our heels in once in a while (because we’re right, darn it!). From our intimate relationships to our political process, why is it so hard to compromise?

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A Therapist’s Guide to Cohabitation

Plastic dog and cat figurines phase in and out of colorful walls

Cohabitation is the practice of living with another person while in a relationship, typically of a romantic or sexual nature.

Cohabitation is relatively common these days, with some past estimates (from 2012) indicating that as many as 7.8 million couples were living together, unmarried. This number has dramatically increased in the past few decades as our culture has shifted from a more religious and conservative stance to a more progressive and practical (though anxious) one.

It’s almost more uncommon to meet a couple who hasn’t taken the proverbial “test drive” in cohabiting before marriage. It’s a relatively practical solution to difficult emotional problem — how two people can coexist peacefully and happily under the same roof.

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