One in five American adults experience mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, substance abuse, and more. These issues can impact every facet of life including, of course, your romantic relationship.
Some worry that their mental health issues will sabotage their relationship. Others believe that things will possibly be better if their partner has a similar issue. Are compatible experiences with mental health really necessary for a successful relationship?
Continue reading Does Your Mental Health Condition Need to Align With Your Partner’s?
As a couples therapist, I see many couples who are enmeshed, meaning that they have very poor boundaries. This means that both partners are only friends with the same people (or with no people, if partners didn’t agree on which friends were tolerable), they hang out only together, and they have no external interests that aren’t shared.
Often, one or both partners secretly — or openly — feels constricted and trapped within the relationship. However, they struggle with asserting their own needs or desires for independence, because the relationship has developed into this pattern and there seems like no other option is available.
In the earliest stages of dating, when it feels like you and your new partner are the only people on earth, it is normal and even healthy to want to spend all of your time together. This is the infatuation or honeymoon stage, and it can feel very intense and amazing. But this stage doesn’t last forever, and it is unhealthy to try to extend it for the entirety of the relationship.
Continue reading How to Set Boundaries in a New Relationship
It’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy, right? Not necessarily.
If you find the back-to-school blues affecting you this month — despite no school to go back to and no life changes since June or July — you’re not alone. There’s evidence that the return of chillier weather, including shorter days as we edge toward winter — can raise anxiety levels among adults and school-age children alike.
Continue reading August Anxiety: Why We Get Anxious at the End of Summer
Sometimes depression can sneak up on us, seeping into our lives without detection until it hits hard weeks, months, or even years later. Other times it shows up suddenly, like a heavy, wet blanket that has been thrown on top of us.
Either way, one of depression’s hallmark features is our loss of interest in seemingly everything, whether it’s a favorite pastime or the people closest to you — it can make getting out of bed at all nearly impossible. The world, which once seemed round, flattens out. We’re no longer having any fun and sometimes it’s downright hard to function.
The culprit? In the case of clinical depression, usually it’s a symptom referred to as anhedonia.
Continue reading Why Does Depression Make it Difficult to Function?
I’ll admit it: when my Talkspace editors suggested that I write about how to overcome harmful relationship patterns, my first thought was “Hey man, I wish I knew.”
I, like most of us, have had my fair share of bad relationships, from “it’s complicated,” to “it’s really complicated,” to abuse (and there’s no Facebook status for that). I, like most of us, have gone into each new relationship hoping it will be different this time, but worrying that old patterns will come back to bite me in the derrière. And I, like many women and queer people, have swiped through a dating wasteland of those too eager to show me their genitals, wondering why it has to be so difficult to find someone who will treat me with respect. And of course, I’ve had my fair share of wonderful moments, sweet partners, and fulfilling relationships, too.
But in a world where many of our experiences of intimacy are marked by trauma or negative patterns of behavior, how can we work through the bad stuff to find enduring, healthy love?
Continue reading How to Emotionally Prepare Yourself for Your Next Relationship
Noted hip-hop philosophers Salt-N-Pepa once sang, “Let’s talk about sex baby / Let’s talk about you and me / Let’s talk about all the good things / And the bad things that may be.”
They were definitely onto something. Talking about sex isn’t always easy, but seldom does the best sex happen without some sort of communication. Now, for a lot of people, asking for what they want in bed is no walk in the park. But ask someone who has pushed through and communicated even if they felt awkward doing so, and while they may say “yes,” they’ll likely also tell you it’s well worth it.
Continue reading How Not Expressing Your Needs in Bed Harms Your Mental Health
Often, people come into therapy complaining that their partner is difficult, or depressed, or self-absorbed. Yet, over the course of counseling, it becomes obvious that they, themselves, struggle with these issues.
However, instead of openly admitting and acknowledging these issues in themselves, their subconscious throws up a defensive wall, and they instead tell themselves that these issues characterize their partner.
Continue reading Are You Projecting Your Problems Onto Your Partner?
Having a crush feels amazing — the butterflies, the newness, the way you find yourself smiling when you’re thinking about that special someone. But wait, what if all those warm fuzzy feelings are happening when you’re in a committed relationship…and they’re not directed towards your significant other? Depending on the nature of you and your partner’s relationship, you might have a bit of a dilemma on your hands.
Continue reading Is it Okay to Crush if You’re in a Committed Relationship?
We have all faced moments in our lives where we felt completely inconsolable. Maybe it was after a loss like the death of a loved one — or perhaps after a devastating breakup, job loss, or any other life-change that seemed out of our control and that we grieved deeply.
At times, though, there is no discernible cause: those of us who suffer from depression or anxiety know that sometimes our feelings overwhelm us so intensely that they become hard to shake — and it feels like nothing can console us in those moments.
But what if you are on the other end of such an experience, not suffering from these feelings yourself, but witnessing an inconsolable loved one?
Continue reading What to Say to Someone When They’re Inconsolable
Science knows the secret to happiness — and it’s a lot more simple than you’d think.
That, at least, was the message of a recent New York article that summarized the scientific consensus on what makes humans happy. And, well: turns out that you could probably guess the answers. Beyond having your basic needs met, money, as your mom probably could have told you, does not buy happiness — though it can buy free time to do what you want, which does make you happier. Gratitude is good. Social connection is important. Doing things for others makes us feel better about ourselves.
This is all well and good for the long term. Sure, we all plan to incorporate more family time into our days, take up a hobby, and give back. But when you’re having a crappy day, it’s not enough to plan for the future — you want to know how can the research on happiness can make your day better now.
Continue reading 5 Ways to Turn Your Day Around NOW