Why Friendship Matters in a Long-Term Relationship

I think this is going to be a really obvious blog for people who are reading, but I've been surprised before, so it's worth it to share. 

When I work with couples, I tell them that the work they do is broken down into three large themes (too much detail to get into, seriously), all of which are based around the Gottman's work. We spend time on conflict (duh - that's what most people come in for), existential issues (i.e. life roles, dreams, meaning), and friendship

Yes, friendship.

Seems really simple, right? "Just be friends with your partner!" is what they tell you, "Laugh together!" is what they say. But when you're in the throes of conflict, or when you can't even look at your partner without feeling resentment or rage or exhausting frustration or defeat, then laughing together seems like the absolute furthest thing from what you're capable of.

And, to be honest, that's not the type of thing I would tell you

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Four Signs It's Time To Leave

Generally speaking, I'm an advocate for relationships. I spend most of my time helping people work out their issues, dispel myths around love and relationships, and create new patterns within their relationship. I love what I do.

There have been a handful of times in my career that I've not advocated for the continuation of a relationship, and they all have very similar things in common. So, before I go further, please keep in mind that:

a) I love relationships and am pro-relationship when I work with the vast majority of couples,
b) I don't typically spend time telling people 'signs to leave,' but there are some pretty important things to consider.

Here goes.

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Give Your Brain a Break

Think about the very first thing you do in the morning. If you're like the vast majority of people (let's stick with in the United States), then you probably reach to your nightstand and check your phone. I'm assuming you check for social media updates, personal and work email, and maybe the news. Am I guessing right?  

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Dealing with Difficult People

We've all been there. There's that one person who just gets under our skin, who we can't understand, and who operates in a way that makes little to no sense to us. 

Let's get clear on a few things before I start getting into this. First of all, when I say difficult people, I don't mean 'people who are intentionally difficult.' I simply mean people who we experience as difficult. That's key here. Secondly, difficult people can include those people who we just don't click with.

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Three Keys to a Successful Relationship

There are three basic things you can do to make sure that your relationship is in a good place. Granted, I can't make you (or your partner or partners) do any of these things, but I can let you know what these basic things are in the hopes that you'll start to implement them. 

Let's get clear on one quick thing. These things are simple, yes. Although they aren't necessarily easy.

Of course not, right?

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Embrace The Boredom of Life

I'm just going to come out and say it. Life can be boring, mundane, and monotonous.  There. It's out in the open. Can't take it back.

It seems that so many people strive for this "perfect" life, but don't realize that striving for something that doesn't exist without embracing this basic sort of fact (that's clearly a personal bias) that life can be boring at times leads to feeling dissatisfied and unhappy. It's not that I don't want people to strive for better or more or more content or happier, but I want people to be realistic about their strivings.

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Your Life is Now, Not in Five Years

I'm sure I've read something similar to this somewhere - most things I reflect on come from things I read or hear (probably not alone in that). SO, it was this notion that the best predictors for where you're going to be tomorrow and then the next day and then the next week and so on is not where you are today, but what you're doing.

Basically, the best predictor of future actions are current actions. I'm not going to go so far as to say that nobody can 'move' in their life. I don't think that's true. What I do think is true, however, is that people only move when they put in the effort, intention, and focus on moving. And I think that getting to the point where you're putting all that time and energy into something you don't see results for right away is, well, pretty disheartening. So then we say "eff it" and go back to what we were doing right before. 

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Anxiety - Part III (Psychological)

Well, well, well... we meet again, friends. As promised, I'm going to tackle anxiety from the next angle. And for today's post, I'm going to focus on the psychological component of anxiety. More specifically, I'm talking about our cognitions. I'm not going to get into biology or genetics this time (it's coming, don't worry), but I am going to get into how our cognitions, in particular, can impact our anxiety. 

As an important note, cognitions are not the be-all-end-all of anxiety. One of my biggest frustrations is my experience of many counselors believing that all anxiety can be taken care of by thinking differently. ENHHH (*airhorn*), WRONG! While this is helpful in some contexts, it's not enough in and of itself. Here's why. 

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Anxiety - Part II (Existential)

Alrighty, friends. This is a continuation of the first part in a series of posts on anxiety. Each post covers one distinct aspect of anxiety (existential, biological and genetic, evolutionary, psychological, and behavioral) and all aspects can comprise your (or anybody's) experience with anxiety. Although some might be more relevant than others. The purpose of this isn't to tell you how to 'cure' your anxiety and it's not a magic fix; the purpose is to think about anxiety in a different way. 

I don't know how to say this, so I'm just going to say it. Lots of counselors that I know think of anxiety as purely a psychological problem. That is, they believe anxiety is a result of your thoughts... and that's about it. My take is that there are many more pieces to the puzzle (see the list above of all the different aspects). When we start to understand all these aspects and see how they influence and/or show up in our own lives and in our experience of anxiety, then we can start moving forward in an effective and efficient way in managing and living with our anxiety.

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Anxiety - Part I (Existential)

This may be my favorite series of posts EVER. 

First and foremost, I love anxiety. To experience it can be hell (and that's putting it mildly), but I love to talk about it with clients because a) it normalizes what they're going through, and b) it de-stigmatizes anxiety. Both of which are wins. 

Secondly, this is a multi-part blog. Anxiety is a lot. There are many ways of looking at it and understanding it, and I'm going to try to do it some justice by writing about it from each of those angles. For those of you who are wondering, "Um.. what angles is she talking about?" These angles: existential, biological and genetic (not the same, but will be covered at the same time because they can be confusing to understand as separate), evolutionary, psychological, and behavioral. 

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