Category Archives: Relationships

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The 5 Best Ways to Prevent Money Arguments With Your Spouse

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According to CNBC, finances are the leading cause of stress in a relationship. 35% of people surveyed said that money was the primary cause of friction in their relationship. Managing your finances as a couple can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 5 tips to help you prevent money arguments with your spouse. Continue reading

Marriages That Last: Small Gestures Yielding Big Benefits

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It has been sixty-five years since my parents’ wedding, a ceremony celebrating their commitment to love each other forever. Many years of dedication and shared experiences after they wed, Alzheimer’s disease stole the memories of this promise. After their diagnoses, I watched in amazement as my parents newly discovered each admirable trait which brought them together decades before.

Now refined through trials and seasoned with life’s experiences, their attraction was magnetic. My parents’ shared disease made me wonder: what keeps marriages strong despite the challenges of life we all face? I believe it is more than sheer grit and determination. Experiencing my parents’ love on autopilot led me to believe the key to lasting love is in developing basic traits which become the essence of who we are. Continue reading

The Three Most Important Qualities to Look for in a Partner

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Have you ever looked back on a relationship and asked yourself why you had even been with that person in the first place? Although there are many things that can attract us to someone, if you’re looking for a partner in life, there are a few very important qualities to look for.

Obviously, you want to look for someone who has the core qualities that you desire such as honesty and integrity, but there are a few key qualities that most people don’t ever think about. In this article I will outline the three most important qualities that I find people overlook when entering into relationships. Continue reading

7 Signs You Are a Victim of Gas Lighting

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If you are (or were) married to a narcissist, then you may be familiar with the term, “gas lighting.” It is the narcissist’s masterful manipulation technique to gain control over you. As your relationship begins to weaken, he carefully causes you slight anxiety or confusion. But as the relationship worsens, he punitively devalues you, and you thereby question your mental sanity. Extreme or long term gas lighting can ultimately lead you to having a distorted sense of reality: not knowing who is right or wrong, feeling guilty for being the person you are, and losing any remaining self-confidence.

Gas lighting is an extremely dangerous form of emotional abuse, as it causes the narcissist’s victim to question her judgment, on even the smallest issues, thereby making her dependent of him. If, for example, she is repeatedly told that she is bad with money, she will begin to believe it, and think that without her narcissist by her side, she will be financially ruined.

The term “gas lighting” comes from the 1944 film, ‘Gaslight,’ where a young woman named Paula falls madly in love with her suitor, Gregory. After an intense romance that led to marriage, Gregory begins to display pathological narcissistic behavior, leading to Paula’s insanity. In one scene, Gregory tampers with the gas light in the attic, causing the house lights to dim. When Paula mentions hearing footsteps in the attic and the lights dimming, Gregory tells her it’s completely her imagination, making Paula question her judgment. Gas lighting is now the widely used term for when a narcissist truly messes with your head.

Depending on the stage of your narcissistic relationship, gas lighting at first appears to be subtle, but then gradually worsens. Below are the signs you are a victim of gas lighting, in order in which they may occur. This list illustrates that as the relationship declines, so does your mental clarity and grasp of reality and truth. Continue reading

Dating Yourself

date-yourself    Over the past three years, I’ve done a lot of soul-searching in my recovery from codependence.  I did not have my own identity, and I didn’t even know what things I really liked to do, watch, or listen to.  I’d like you to ask yourself when was the last time that you did something completely for yourself.  What did you do?  What do you remember the best about it?  I know for me, it had been almost my entire life that I did things for others and not for myself.

Doing things for ourselves and having our own identities is so important to our health and well-being.  When I started recovery and learned about these things, I didn’t know how to go about finding out who I was or the things that I liked.  A recovery friend told me about the idea of dating myself, and I knew that it was something I could do to find out a little more about myself, and I hope you can too. Continue reading

Dealing With Financial Income Inequality in Marriage

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The love of money may be the root of all evil, but arguing about money is the third leading reason (at 22 percent) given for divorce. Going into a marriage, two partners think they’ll “make it work.” It turns out that blending what often are two disparate views about finances isn’t quite so easy, and the issues become even more intransigent if one or both partners refuse to talk about it. Here are some ways you might be able to avoid the dreaded “D” word, and we don’t mean Dallas. Continue reading

What It Takes To Have A Mutually Amazing Relationship

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In the movies and on TV, relationships happen very easily and quickly. Tension builds as the program progresses. Characters show obvious signs of liking each other. Usually, the tensions build to such an extreme that in one dramatic moment they can’t take it anymore, stare into each other’s eyes and kiss passionately. They don’t talk, they don’t even discuss whether or not they like each other. They are inexplicably drawn together by the desire to kiss (and possibly participate in other intimate activities) all within the short span of about 15 seconds.

Just like real life, right? Ugh, No.

In TV, this is the “perfect” relationship. One where two people like each other so much that they just get together and live happily ever after. They look beautiful, sound beautiful and everything is perfect every time. What percentage of people have relationships start like this and live forever together without ever dealing with misunderstandings, assumptions, and annoyances?

When you look at deeply at any relationships, you recognize there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. Continue reading

Codependency

codep     When I first realized I was a codependent, one of the things that I began to understand was that I lived my life playing the victim.  Everything was always happening TO me, people were always doing harm to me, and I was completely innocent, and the list could go on forever.  I victimized myself, and I wallowed in every bad emotion I had.  Doing this made me lose sight of the good things in life.

Today, I’d like everyone to grab a pen and paper so that we can make gratitude lists.  This is one of the tools that helps me feel good about myself and my life, and it helped reframe the misery I was putting myself in. Continue reading

Daring to Trust Again

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You were brave. You let yourself love fully. You were vulnerable and open. And you were crushed when the person you gave your heart to abused your love. Now, even though you want a healthy new relationship, it’s hard to trust that you won’t be hurt again.

Does this sound familiar? It’s not just you. I’m a therapist as well as a dating coach, and as such I’m well aware that many people re-entering the dating field after a bad experience are understandably cautious. They have seen the darkness and felt the risk of loving.

More most this isn’t just an intellectual decision, it’s a feeling. You might genuinely want to date, but find it hard to feel excited about anyone you meet. Or you lose any emerging feelings of attraction for them over the slightest thing. Our you just feel flat, and exhausted when you think about dating.

On some level, you know you’re protecting yourself from being hurt again, but you can’t control the way you feel. It’s like knowing you should eat a healthy meal, but having absolutely no appetite. What to do? Continue reading

The Second Half of Life Relationship Rules: Six Ways to Keep the Fires Burning till Death Do Us Part

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Being married for any length of time is truly an accomplishment these days.  Just last week a woman asked how long I had been married and when I said forty years this July, her eyes got huge and she said, “To the same person?  How is that possible?”

When we got married people were taking bets on how long our marriage would last.  The average bet was between two weeks and two years because of our age difference and personalities.  Let’s just say, my husband is calm, wise and conservative and I am the exact opposite.  I do remember feeling really shaky when I said my vows. … “for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and health, till death do us part.” Now that’s a huge promise!  Could I really do this?

Flash forward forty years.  We are still married, happy and love each other, although it hasn’t been an easy road and our relationship has been tested on many occasions, and I’m sure more will come as we navigate through our senior years.

Someone once said, “I married you for better or worse, but not for breakfast and lunch.”  I never really understood that until now.  Obviously, when couples first get married, it is exciting challenging, romantic and fun.  And then if children come along, the marriage gets even more interesting and challenging as people try to raise their kids, together.  But after the kids are gone, and retirement looms, people start to feel displaced as their roles in life change.  Who are we without our careers and kids?  What do we have to talk about?  And why do we keep bumping into each other in the kitchen?

So in order to keep a marriage going all the way to the end, here are six rules of engagement to keep the fires burning. Continue reading

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