Discover more about sex therapy, learn the differences between healthy love vs. unhealthy love, explore how to overcome fear, learn how to manage marriage power struggles, explore how to tell your partner about an affair, learn how to live your best life after coming out, and find new ways to discuss and plan for the holidays.
With so many people feeling raw and on edge these days, approaching the subject of Holidays from a place of kindness and understanding is best. Talking openly, honestly, and thoroughly about your hopes, needs, and fears can be crucial.
So how can you do that in your relationship? By really thinking through things together and examining all angles.
Prepare yourself, and each other, for the reality that no one is likely to get everything they want in this unique year.
Here are some things to talk about to see if you can get on the same page. (Be sure to make the “page” big enough for you both!) You can even review Key #4 in our downloadable book to help with communication skills before beginning the process with your partner.
When planning for the holidays during the pandemic, there are several questions you should talk about together. The below examples are just that — examples. You'll likely have issues specific to you and your family.
What you are about to tell them will undoubtedly be hurtful.
You will need to show empathy and kindness when you tell your spouse about your affair.
The following is an exercise to help you prepare to disclose an affair to your spouse.
There are five items to think about before you begin to share the affair.
This conversation is purely to disclose your affair. This isn't the time to tell your spouse how you feel about your marriage. Do not do any finger-pointing. Don't turn the conversation around to focus on them.[Read more...]
We always hear that we could have a better sex life. But, how often do we actually go 'under the covers' to better understand our desires and most embarrassing questions?
How do you decide who you're going to trust with some of your most intimate experiences?
Most people do their best to try to fix issues in a relationship when it's not going well. But sometimes, seeking professional help in this area can be fraught with risk as some therapists aren't able to deal with these intimate issues effectively.
There need to be two separate and parallel conversations when couples come to sex therapy. The first conversation is about the relationship's emotional health, and the second conversation about the sexual health within the relationship. Many people think that if the relationship gets better, then the sex will too, or vice versa. Both thoughts are a myth.
It is essential to encourage couples to speak openly about their erotic needs, which seldom happens outside of the therapist’s office. When these are brought out into the open, discrepancies between each other’s inner erotic worlds can be discovered. Exploring uncomfortable desires more deeply can open the door to a greater understanding of themselves, increased empathy for their partners, and potentially healing their sex lives and relationships.[Read more...]
Have you ever questioned your love for someone?
Do you feel as though your relationship is not growing or evolving?
There are telltale signs of an unhealthy versus healthy love. Let’s take a look at both.
Falling in love and staying in love both require giving a part of yourself away, but healthy love is not demanding or uncompromising.
Healthy love allows you to be your best self and socialize with colleagues, friends, and family.
Healthy love is not controlling or dependent.
Healthy love is ever-changing and growing in subtle ways.
Positive love encourages and is kind and thoughtful of the other. It is honest and supportive...
Fear is one of our least favorite guests. When fear shows up—and it shows up for all of us—we’re rarely in a position for it. Right now, we might be trying to get away from some fear before it arrives—even if we need to vacate the premises—our body.
The more we try to run away from our fears, the stronger it gets. Fear goes where we go—regardless of how much we may stuff it, medicate it, or deny it.
This sounds like bad news. But it is actually good news if we learn how to work with fear rather than run from it. Working with it means turning toward it intellectually—and emotionally.
There really is no point in trying to say to ourselves that we shouldn’t be afraid because we only shame ourselves for being afraid, which drives our fearful selves into more activities … more busyness to compensate for being afraid—anything to get away from it.
The Biochemistry of fear - I won’t get into the whole physiology of fear. Still, I would be remiss if I didn’t say something about the electrifying biochemistry of fear—increasing blood flow, heart racing, and gastrointestinal issues. Flight-fight-freeze responses are part of the physiology of fear. Fear can show up in many forms...
How to come out involves informing the people in your life that you do not identify as heterosexual.
The assumption for most people is that everyone is heterosexual until proven or informed otherwise.
I find it most helpful to assume that everyone is gay. This way, I can more efficiently identify those who are heterosexual because they make no bones about letting it be known.
Coming out is directed at the people already in your life who have assumed you to heterosexual.
How to be out, on the other hand, is different than how to come out. Being out is the experience of living without censorship or hiding your sexual orientation from others. This happens after you’ve done the work of figuring out how to come out to all of your friends and family.
Being out is more about stopping something (to stop censoring) than it is about sharing something (“I’m gay”).
When you think about it, proclaiming, “I am gay” is awkward for reasons unrelated to your sexual orientation. When this statement is lobbed out into the air, it is difficult to know how to respond. It’s not a question, an instruction, a request, or even a helpful tip. It’s random, possibly unsolicited information.
Oh, it can get downright painful and destructive combat between lovers. Imago Therapists call it "The Power Struggle" phase of the marriage. It typically shows up within a couple of years of togetherness. It is reactive fighting - Lizard Brain stuff.
In case you didn't link over to Wikipedia, that part of our brain is located at the base of the brain stem and is only concerned with "fight or flight" needs.
It's the bat phone for adrenaline. It senses real or *perceived* danger, and like some kind of emotional flypaper for our childhood pain, snags anything that comes along that will suffice for an outburst—a temper tantrum—or stonewalling.
Nice. Not really. It's painful. And "if it's hysterical, it's historical." And that part of your brain doesn't know what year it is.
Now don't get me wrong; there are plenty of times when that part of your brain has saved your life. It is responsible for all kinds of heroic and lifesaving acts. That's the job - kind of like a little almond-sized 911 center in your brain. So it serves an important function. But negotiating emotional needs in a relationship is no place for temper-flaring-adrenaline rushes.
Nor should you ignore your needs to prevent a fight. That will likely just serve as bicep curls for resentment over the loss of self over time. Don't try it; it won't work. We need another plan.
We hope you've enjoyed reading our Imago Relationships health and wellness blogs & tips this month. If you love quizzes, be sure to check out our Imago Relationships Quizzes!