Half the World has One: Giving the Vulva it’s due.
The clitoris is one of the body parts that just doesn’t get talked about, so you can only imagine my delight in seeing a New York Times article that focuses on the clitoris. As a sex therapist, people love to talk about sex with me. When I mention this part of my work, it either seems to embarrass the hearer or permits them to talk about things they never mention.
Such was the case the other night over dinner. Some fellow volleyball parents and I were getting a bite to eat after the game. The mention of my work inspired another mom to lean over the table, as people do, and generalize what I must see in the therapy room. The usual assumption is often that in heterosexual relationships, it is the man that is not attending to the woman’s pleasure during sex. While that may be true in some cases, I find that it is just as often true that the woman is uncomfortable with the focus on her pleasure. This article on the clitoris explains part of what’s going on.
Sex education doesn’t include much about it. Doctors don’t seem to consider it, and most women aren’t told much about it. Over a lifetime of OB-gyn visits, the entire area is shielded from us as it is examined. The call here for increased study and consideration is long overdue and appreciated.
What Are The Three Types Of Sex?
“Sex” can be difficult to define. Most often, when we refer to sex in this society, we are talking about penetrative sexual intercourse. But sex can include other acts as well including oral sex and foreplay.
Foreplay itself can range in definition, depending upon who you ask and can range from the kissing and touching of erogenous zones to laying around in bed together before, between, or after a sex act(s)— laughing, snacking, etc.
The science of attachment theory has shown us that there are three kinds of sex. Dr. Sue Johnson, in her book Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, describes these kinds of sex and dispels some of the myths about sex—“good” sex—that many of us have come to believe.
Myths like: sex is always best at the beginning of a relationship, it is always “good” and effortless between partners that really love one another, that “good” sex means both partners have an orgasm, and that sex happens between people who have a lot of love or a lot of chemistry. Maybe you can think of more!
Surveys have shown that people have reported their best sex when in a long-term relationship in which they speak openly and honestly about their sex life and are willing to do the work it can take to improve and build upon the sex they are having (or not having).
These couples understand that sexual desire ebbs and flows over the course of a relationship, and they do not define the health or quality of their relationship by this natural cycle.
The following types of sex are common and “natural,” and we may have experienced one or all three at some point in our lives. These descriptors are not meant to be critical or judgmental of any one particular type—whatever kind of sex you are having, there are perfectly reasonable circumstances that have led you there. There is no “bad” or “good” type.
However, in becoming aware of the kind of sex you are having, you may find that you would like to either continue having that kind of sex, or try and find a way to have a different kind. Sex therapy is one effective way of building upon that awareness and creating the change you want to see.
Solace Sex is a reassurance seeking sex. When a person is having this type of sex, they are hoping to be assured by their partner that they are desirable and valuable. The main emotion driving Solace Sex is anxiety.
Dr. Johnson quotes a patient, Mandy, who says:
“Sex with Frank is okay. But to be truthful, it’s the cuddling I really want. And the reassurance. It’s like sex is a test, and if he desires me, then I feel safe. Of course, if he ever isn’t horny, then I take it real personally and get scared.”
If this sounds familiar to you, you may be engaging in this type of sex.
This kind of sex has the benefit of helping to keep a relationship secure (seemingly) for a while. A drawback is that it can feed into patterns of anxiety maintenance and exacerbation.
The main object of this type of sex is to please your partner through your sexual performance so they can reassure you, through their sexual response, that you are loved and your relationship is good.
Or it can show up in the form of becoming sexually demanding—requiring frequent or performative sex that can sometimes have the opposite of the desired effect and causing your partner to desire sex less or even avoid it.
Ironically, with this type of sex, a person is more susceptible to being hurt. If the partner does not feel in the mood for sex or perhaps doesn’t orgasm, for whatever reason, the anxious person is likely to take this as a personal rejection and/or a sign of something wrong (with him or herself or the relationship as a whole).
This type of sex is common among people who have never learned to trust another person enough to become emotionally close or among people who feel insecure in/about their relationship. The focus is on self-assurance through stellar sexual performance and achieving orgasm.
Here, the person remains emotionally aloof while maintaining a singular aim of arousal and orgasm. Emotionally connective acts like kissing or cuddling are usually avoided. In long-term relationships, this sex can seem mechanical.
This kind of sex is perfectly fine for a one-night stand or brief tryst. However, this kind of sex is very damaging to a long-term romantic partnership. The partner may often wind up feeling used and, in fact, there may be many partners. In order to maintain distance and passion at the same time, the novelty of a new partner can become necessary.
This type of sex can occur when we are feeling emotionally safe enough to express our needs, communicate openly, be playful, curious, engaged, and relaxed during sex.
It is during this type of sex that partners can be more in synch, being in tune with and responding to each other. These emotional traits also tend to exist outside of the sexual life as well.
This is not to say that partners who are having Synchrony Sex are always having “perfect” sex. Real-life sex can involve some awkwardness or a misalignment of desire, just like relationships outside of the bedroom can involve some disagreements.
Partners who feel secure emotionally with each other can feel safe enough to explore sexually and endure the differences and difficulties that arise over the course of a long-term relationship—again, both emotionally and sexually.
Movies and TV shows give the impression that sex is “easy” and that partners do not need to work at it or even talk about it. However, studies show that couples who speak openly and honestly about their needs and preferences have more engaged and satisfying sex.
If you are looking to achieve (or regain) Synchronous Sex, which is most conducive for a long-term relationship, it will require some work. One way of getting help with that work is through therapy.
At North Brooklyn Marriage and Family Therapy, you will have the opportunity to work with licensed and certified therapists to explore what is working in your relationship. We can help you use those strengths to reinforce any areas that feel less secure so you can be on your way, together, to having the sex and love you desire.
How Do I Know If My Husband Is A Narcissist?
Whether you’re married or living with your long-term partner, sharing a living space with a significant other can be difficult, especially during a lockdown. If you’re beginning to notice a lack of empathy in the man you walked down the aisle with, then you may be dealing with a husband or partner that is a narcissist.
Without jumping to conclusions by looking at just some personality quirks your S.O.’s been exhibiting, let’s take a step back and look at this man’s behavior as a whole.
You might be wondering, is my husband a narcissist or just self-centered? While a narcissist can exhibit many of the traits of a selfish individual, there are some specific quirks you should be looking out for.
Oftentimes, individual or couples therapy will be your best solution.
What Are Some Common Traits Of A Person With Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?
There’s much more to a man with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) than just simply being self-centered. Here are ten major indicators:
- He Makes Every Conversation About Him
A man who was put on a pedestal as a child and had parents who catered to his every need could very well exhibit narcissistic traits. Did your husband grow up an only child?
This might be something to consider, as only children are used to being the center of attention. Unless taught early on, these children can carry these traits of entitlement and self-centeredness into adulthood. This isn’t to say that all only children are narcissists, but it’s worth noting.
- He Expects You To Place All Your Attention On His Wants And Needs
Do you often find yourself placing all your time and attention catering to his every need? Maybe you’re spending your days cooking, cleaning, running his errands, or even taking care of your little ones at home without any help. If so, you may be dealing with more than just a self-centered man.
A narcissist will be so focused on himself he won’t even realize you may have wants and needs. Has he ever asked what he can do to help you? Have you ever heard him say, “Don’t worry, honey–I’ll cook dinner for us tonight so you can have a break.”? A narcissistic man wouldn’t stop to think twice about anyone other than himself.
- He Doesn’t Show His Appreciation For You
Random acts of love are the simplest way to show someone you love just how much you truly care for them. These romantic gestures don’t have to be anything more than a kiss on the cheek or simply a “thank you” for all that you do. If your partner isn’t showing you he appreciates you it some way, it should raise a red flag
- He Claims Only He Knows What’s Best For You
A caring partner may offer up his advice when you need it but should ultimately let you be the one to make the decision that’s best for you. By contrast, a narcissist will exhibit controlling behavior and try to discourage you from making your own decisions.
- He Never Admits Fault
It might be difficult to admit we’re wrong sometimes, but an adult that’s truly in the wrong should be capable of admitting it and moving on. A man that cannot seem to find it in himself to admit fault even when he’s done wrong is a telltale sign of a narcissist.
- He Always Wants the Spotlight
While self-centered people crave attention and may talk about themselves a lot in conversation, they’re still capable of listening to others. A narcissist will not only seek attention but will never truly listen to others when they speak.
A narcissist may listen, but don’t be fooled–it’ll only be to jump at the opportunity to make a conversation about them and all their achievements.
- He is Close-Minded And Blames You For All His Wrongs
A narcissistic partner is incapable of seeing the bigger picture and will be one to shut down those with views not like their own. A good partner can entertain ideas that are not his own rather than acting immaturely by refusing to see other perspectives.
He might also be manipulative and find ways to accuse you of things he’s doing. A narcissistic husband who’s been unfaithful will look for any chance to turn the attention away from himself and on to you. He may, for example, start an argument with you over why you’re 30 minutes late coming home from work and try to accuse you of cheating.
- He Throws Tantrums When He Doesn’t Get His Way
Much like a toddler when you tell them “no more candy,” a narcissistic man is like a spoiled child that throws a fit when he doesn’t get his way — yes, even if it’s unreasonable. These fits of rage don’t necessarily have to be overt fits of anger — they can be passive-aggressive behaviors as well.
- He Thinks He’s Superior To Others
Sure, maybe a highly intelligent and accomplished individual will have an heir of arrogance. The difference is, a narcissist will have a superiority complex and an overinflated sense of self.
If you notice your partner often saying things like “I’m better than you,” or “What do they know. They’re a nobody,” chances are you’re dealing with more than just arrogance.
- He Is Two-Faced
Maybe your partner is incredibly charming around others that don’t know him as well as you do. But behind closed doors, there’s another side to him. A narcissistic man might try to put his best foot forward so that others think he’s a catch when in reality, he’s hiding behind a mask.
Get Expert Help
It might be a close call, but if you take a deep dive into your partner’s character traits and quirks, you can sift through the misinformation and figure it out.
If you come to realize you are dealing with a narcissistic husband, don’t hesitate to seek help. A licensed therapist or marriage counselor can help you understand the steps to take when dealing with a man with NPD.
Couples living in and around Brooklyn, New York can rely on North Brooklyn Therapy for all their advice and partner or individual counseling needs. Our licensed therapists are proud to offer Zoom sessions so that you can easily engage in therapy from the comfort and safety of your home.
How To Keep Your Relationship Strong When You Both Work At Home?
Coronavirus quarantining has forced us to spend more time alone with our partners than ever before. Daily activities like work, parenting, and social time mean we need to figure out a way to get along all day long. For many people living in a small space, this means even in the same room. As things open up, many of us will still remain working at home for a long time to come. Being at home all day together has challenges for couples.
It can be very difficult for couples who are used to busy schedules and spending only portions of their day together. Now we are spending morning, noon, and night with each other and during an incredibly stressful time in our world.
Couples Counseling In The New York Area
How Can You Keep Your Relationship Strong?
Spending so much time together in close quarters can make the smallest things annoying. Things like chewing food loudly or whistling every morning could have you wanting to pull your hair out. The most important thing you can do is talk about it. Communication is essential. You don’t want small annoyances to turn into anger.
Creating space may seem impossible if you live in a small place, but it’s important to feel independent and not do everything together. If you cannot physically move away from each other, balance out how you spend time together. A good example would be not watching every show or movie together. Let your partner pick a night they want to watch something while you spend time at the kitchen table reading or any other hobby that allows you space.
Keep The Romance Alive
When you are stuck inside day in and day out, it can be difficult to feel romantic. A fun idea is to schedule date nights. This doesn’t mean you have to leave your house. It’s all about spending quality time together. Throw a blanket on the floor for an indoor picnic. Turn your TV, computer, and cellphones off and do something together like play cards or paint. Anything that allows you to shut out the world and create time for just the two of you.
Acts Of Kindness
It’s easy to forget during stressful times that you are in this together. Showing your appreciation towards your partner will come back to you tenfold. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but small things like surprising your partner with coffee and snacks while they are working, paying compliments for no reason, or running to the store so they can rest are all simple ways to show how much you care.
How To Handle Arguments
- Schedule Your Arguments – This may sound like a strange thing to do, but it can be the best way to get out your frustrations at the right time for discussion. It can also be a healthier way to deal with things if you have children quarantined with you in a small apartment. Children are also dealing with a lot and hearing their parents argue won’t help the difficulties at hand.
- Establish Your Needs – Asking for what you want and need in your relationship is not bad. Now that you are spending so much time together, your needs may be changing. Open up a conversation with your partner, acknowledging how what you need is different than before. If you are not reminding them of their shortcomings, it should be an easy conversation.
What can you expect if you decide that counseling is the best idea for you? The main goal of marriage or couples therapy is to help eliminate conflict and improve your overall relationship. You will learn introspective insights into each other and the relationship.
Counseling for you and your partner is provided by experienced and licensed therapists, focusing on relationships and relationship building. In most cases, you’ll attend therapy sessions with your significant other. There may be occasions where you might be asked to attend individually.
Why North Brooklyn?
At North Brooklyn Marriage & Family Therapy, located in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, they have a staff of experienced and licensed therapists. We offer couples therapy to people all over the New York City metro area.
Our therapists are available via Zoom virtual sessions so that you can still receive the assistance you need during this unprecedented time.
Remote Marriage Counseling During Quarantine
Social distancing and quarantine situations can create extra stress and anxiety for a lot of people. For many couples and partners, it is an unusually difficult time, creating hardships on even the best relationships.
Being quarantined with your partner with nowhere to go to have some space, can bring up a lot of repressed emotions and if you are already experiencing relationship problems, you could reach a breaking point.
Schedule A Video Therapy Appointment Today
According to a recent report on MSN.com, divorce cases have risen in China as couples spend too much time together during coronavirus home quarantine.
This is proof that if you and your partner are struggling, you are not alone, and it might be time for counseling or marriage therapy.
What Can You Do To Help Your Relationship?
Even temporary quarantine can have negative consequences on your relationship. The good news is there are several things you can do to cope.
- Do Something For Yourself, By Yourself – Even in a small space you should be able to go into at least one room and close the door. This is a must. Take some time for yourself for an extra long bath or shower, meditate, read, talk to your friends online or watch a movie that you know your partner would not enjoy. It’s important to have some space, especially if your relationship is suffering.
- Find A New Activity To Do Together – Physical activity plays a big role in your mental health so consider online classes, check out Google for at-home workout ideas, or if you live in an area where you can still walk outside in nature, do it together. Maybe you will find a new hobby that you can share with your partner for a long time to come.
- Set Aside Time To Have A Real Conversation – Set aside time specifically with your partner to have conversations about the things that are bothering you and the issues your relationship is currently facing. Trying to start a conversation when one person is not ready or focused is not going to do anything but cause more fighting and problems. After you have shared your issues take time to find solutions the best way you can.
- Remote Therapy – Convenience, flexibility, and privacy are just a few of the reasons to begin marriage therapy remotely even beyond the Coronavirus. Remote therapy allows you to speak to a professional therapist while staying in the comfort of your own home. Being in your safe space to share your personal issues allows you to feel freer, and can often make therapy sessions even more effective.
Keep Up With Your Appointments Via Zoom. CLICK HERE.
Is Remote Marriage Counseling For You?
Starting marriage counseling during this time probably feels overwhelming in itself. It may seem intimidating or even embarrassing to share relationship details with a stranger. But for couples starting marriage therapy for the first time by remote, it can make the experience easier.
Opening up for the first time to a professional therapist isn’t always easy. If you can have your first session at home in a place where you feel safe, it is more than likely that your first session will be effective and you will be comfortable sharing even more.
An NPR interview with Seth Gillihan, a clinical psychologist in Philadelphia, says that he has switched all of his patient sessions online. He said it might feel weird for the first few minutes of that first video chat. But that you’ll hardly notice it after a while:
“What people seem to find is that you forget about the medium relatively quickly. I think about it kind of like watching a movie. At some point, you stop being aware of the fact that you’re staring at a screen. Then, you get really immersed in the story.”
Marriage Counseling & Therapy Via Zoom
During social distancing, self-care is important. Remote video therapy is a great way to begin or continue to take care of your relationship. At Northbrooklyn Marriage & Family Therapy, we offer remote sessions available through HIPAA compliant platform Zoom. This service is available to all of our clients with all of our therapists.
Find out more about how we can continue to serve your individual and relationship needs during this stressful time.
Wishing you continued good health.
For Information On Remote Therapy Sessions CLICK HERE.
Marriage Counseling Vs. Couples Therapy: What’s the Difference
Marriage and couples counseling overlap so much that it can be hard to notice the difference. Many in the industry use the words interchangeably, which can add to the confusion.
Marriage counseling tends to deal with present day events rather than the past. It focuses on the ‘now’ and the challenges of married life so that you can get your relationship back on track.
Couples therapy deals with the present day but also any history that causes unhealthy patterns of relating. You will look back on previous fights and arguments and get to the root of your problems and how it all started.
Do You Need A Marriage or Couples Counselor? Click Here For More Information
What Is Marriage Counseling?
According to Marriage Guardian, “Marriage counseling tends to deal with present events more than past events. Counselors provide advice and/or show you how to develop your own rational solutions.
Many couples seek marriage counseling before the wedding. These types of marriage counseling techniques can ensure that partners are entering a relationship as strong and healthy as can be.
Communicating and learning conflict resolution skills, can make the biggest difference in whether or not your marriage will be a success.
Whether you seek counseling before or during your marriage is completely up to the individual. If you have any concerns, any time is a good time to seek professional help.
Marriage rates are on the decline. While it’s an oft-repeated statistic that 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce, that number has remained unchanged for the past 30 years.
What Is Couples Therapy?
Couples therapy techniques are similar to marriage counseling, but the problems dealt with have a history, creating unhealthy patterns of relating. Therapists look for the reasons behind the emotions that drive these patterns.
Couples therapy also deals with communication and how to resolve conflict. It can also cover issues such as substance abuse, infidelity and child-rearing conflicts.
Couples therapy appointments can be done with both partners present or can be done individually.
Find Out If Marriage Counseling Or Couples Therapy Is Right For You.
How Do You Know If Your Relationship Needs Help?
Relationships can be a roller coaster, and no matter how long you have been in them, they are a work in progress. Maintaining a good marriage takes time and patience, and many times the help of a professional.
Here are a few good reasons you may need marriage or couples counseling:
- You no longer have the ability to communicate easily.
- One or both of you has had an affair.
- You can no longer resolve differences.
- You are only staying together for the sake of the children.
- The only resolution you can see is separation.
The Goals of Marriage Counseling And Couples Therapy
Like any type of therapy or counseling, the goal is usually the same: to help the person manage or overcome some type of emotional or psychological hindrance.
Marriage Guardian is adamant that “…the goals in both can be the same, such as reduce conflict, change behavior, change your responses to your spouse’s behavior, find realistic and practical solutions, and empower you as a couple to make a terrific marriage.”
Therapists can help you alter how you and your partner relate to one another, and create healthier patterns for dealing with conflict and communication.
Expect to be prompted to talk openly and honestly about your relationship. You might be asked to speak about topics that could make you a bit uncomfortable, but it allows your therapist to get to the root of certain marital problems.
The Timeline of Marriage Counseling and Couples Therapy Sessions
There is no real set timeline or deadline for completing marriage and couples counseling. The frequency of sessions depends on the couple themselves.
“Around 30 percent of the couples coming into marriage counseling are mixed agenda couples,” says Bill Doherty, a professor in the family social science department at the University of Minnesota
Some couples may need more time with a professional than others. This in no way means a couple that stays in counseling longer has more issues.
It simply means these couples may need more time to unpack roadblocks such as communication, intimacy, etc.
Marriage and Family Therapy New York
Relationships can bring us joy, but when there are communication or conflict resolution problems, that joy has the potential to turn into frustration and disappointment.
We specialize in working with couples to help them find that joy again.
Through the use of both short-term solution-focused therapy and deeper relational techniques, we guide clients to find the relationships they long for.
If you’re looking for a place that can provide you with the marriage counseling or couples therapy techniques to get your relationship back on track, look no further.
North Brooklyn Marriage and Family Therapy have a plethora of professionals who are ready to tackle all of your marital and relationship issues.
Speak To A Professional Today.
Find a professional in your area and do some research on what they specialize in. It’s important to speak to them directly while ensuring that you ask all the right questions. It will be a matter of instinct as to whether or not this professional is right for you. Take your time.
While they are often interchangeable terms, the two may vary for several reasons. Things like how they approach sessions to licenses and training. Sometimes the word counseling can mean short-term. It’s important to ask the right questions when contacting a professional in your area so that you can work with the right person.
While every therapist’s process is different, sessions typically begin by covering informed consent rules, and then discussing the “why” of your attendance. This first session will include goals and desires, and deciding if individual sessions may also be important. There is no time-line for how long the sessions may continue. It could be weeks or months. You will want to be open, honest and of course patient.
It is important to find a marriage therapist who has specific training and is experienced in marriage and couples counseling. Asking the right questions is critical. Be sure your therapist can address the issues you need to sort out and that when you speak with them you feel comfortable, instinctively.
How to Overcome Fear of Commitment (Relationship Anxiety)
Anxiety surrounding new relationships is normal. But if your fear of commitment is making it impossible for you to enjoy a long-term romance, it will limit your quality of life. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help overcome your fear of commitment and eliminate your relationship anxiety once and for all. This article examines relationship anxiety and offers some practical solutions for overcoming it.
What Are Some Reasons People Fear Commitment?
The fear of commitment and anxiety during or before engaging in a relationship is quite common. Reasons often include:
- Fear of rejection
- Afraid of emotional betrayal
- Can’t let down emotional guard
- Don’t want to lose independence
- Trust issues
- Fear of responsibility
Many individuals who grew up in homes that experienced divorce during their childhood also experience relationship anxiety. They don’t want to end up being a part of a relationship that ends up in failure so they close themselves off.
What Can I Do About my Fear of Commitment?
First, it is important to remember that perfect relationships don’t exist. Believing in the fairy-tale relationship fantasy sets up for unrealistic expectations. Going into a relationship understanding that there will be ups and downs helps take away some anxiety. There are several simple steps you can take to help alleviate your fear of commitment, including:
Practice Positive Thinking
Negative thinking often leads to negative outcomes. When entering a relationship it’s imperative to go into it with a positive attitude. It’s easier said than done, and for some, it takes time to “rewire” your thought patterns, but approaching relationships from a place of positivity can make all the difference.
You’ve probably heard the saying “with no risk, there is no reward.” The same goes for relationships. If you don’t put yourself out there, you might miss out on finding the perfect person for you.
No Need To Rush
Don’t put pressure on yourself. Take your new relationship slow at first. Don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself or your new relationship partner. By slowing things down it allows your relationship to grow at a pace that is comfortable for you.
Have Compatible Relationship Values
Have open and honest conversations about what both of you want in a relationship. When you communicate what you are looking for, it allows for both of you to see if your values are compatible. If they aren’t, you’ll know early in the relationship before it gets too serious.
Before jumping into a relationship, make sure you know yourself. Openly and honestly explore the reasons for your relationship anxiety. Write down what is making you nervous, no matter how silly it seems. Just the simple act of getting your thoughts on paper can help relieve anxiety.
Let Go Of Control
Understand that you can’t control everything. This includes your relationships. To let go of relationship anxiety, allow both you and your partner to have some space to grow. Find some hobbies that are just yours. The act of doing something just for you allows individual growth.
Consider Therapy For Underlying General Anxiety
Sometimes there are other factors at play behind your fear of commitment. Often, those who suffer from relationship anxiety have an underlying general anxiety condition as well. If this is the case, seeing a professional therapist can help you find tools to face your anxiety in life and your relationships.
Stop Looking For Quick Excitement
Some people experience relationship anxiety because they get attached to the emotional feeling of new relationships. A new relationship is always exciting, and it is possible to get addicted to those feelings. But if you are looking to shed your fear of commitment, you’ll need to start looking past the beginning excitement and towards the rewards a long-term relationship can offer.
New relationships are bound to bring about anxiety from time to time. But if your fear of commitment is making you miss out on meaningful relationships, it’s time to seek help. In Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York, expert counselors at North Brooklyn Marriage & Family Therapy are there to help you get past your fear of commitment. Call the office or book an appointment conveniently online.
How to Deal with In-Laws (Simple In-law Solutions For your Marriage)
On television and in literature in-laws are always made out to be the bad guys. In reality, they aren’t a bunch of overbearing outsiders trying to get into your relationship business. But there are times when they can strain your relationship. Where can find in-law solutions? This article will guide you through strategies to help you deal with in-laws in both positive and negative situations.
Often In-laws Have Good Intentions
Remember, in-laws have the parental instinct. They want to help, and most times their intentions are good. But sometimes problems arise when in-laws try to help a bit too much or offer too much unsolicited advice.
Just keep in mind that it also takes time for your in-laws to break away from the role of being “parents.” For years they had been offering advice and guidance to their children, so it sometimes is difficult for them to realize that you and your spouse are now grown adults capable of making good decisions.
In-law Solutions —Show a United Front
It’s important when dealing with in-laws to maintain a united front with your spouse. The worst thing you can do is play to both sides and split your loyalties. Your spouse has to come first, so work with them to figure out a plan for troublesome in-laws. Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page.
Protect Your Boundaries
Make sure to make your boundaries are clear. If your in-laws are offering unsolicited advice or meddling in your relationship affairs, you need to make it clear that it is not okay. It is best to set boundaries as soon as possible, because the longer you wait the more blurred the lines between you, your spouse, and your in-laws becomes.
Remember, you and your spouse are the authority figures for your family. You make the decisions, and your in-laws will have to learn to respect it. Respect must go both ways for relationships with your in-laws to stay healthy.
Meet Outside of The Home
If there is tension between you and your in-laws, often meeting them at a space outside of your homes can make things easier. A restaurant, park, or even a stroll through the city, allows you to maintain a relationship, but also keeps you from feeling trapped. If things start to go poorly you can always cut the outing short without feeling like you are kicking your in-laws out of your home or stuck in their home.
In-law Solutions —Be Wary of Favors
If you are already on shaky ground with your in-laws, be wary of accepting any favors from them. Sometimes favors are double-sided and your in-laws might try to hold it above you or demand something in return.
Keep in mind, this isn’t the case for all relationships. But if your relationship with your in-laws isn’t the best, power dynamics could be at play. In these cases, it might be best to decline a favor.
It’s Not About Taking Sides
If it’s your in-laws causing problems, it’s not uncommon for your spouse to feel conflicted. Remember, these are your spouse’s parents and he or she has spent the entire first part of their life growing up with them. Your spouse wants to please them and please you. Acknowledge these emotions as valid.
Just remember asking your spouse to stand up to your in-laws isn’t about taking sides. It is about setting a boundary between their relationship and yours.
In-law Solutions —Don’t Share Marital Problems
One of the best ways to set up boundaries for you in-laws is to not expose your marital problems. It might be tempting to want to talk about them, but your in-laws aren’t the right sounding board. Doing so gives them an open door to enter into places in your relationship where they aren’t welcome.
Instead, if you are experiencing marital problems, consider scheduling a marital counseling session with an experienced couple’s therapist. These professionals have the education and knowledge to guide you through marital issues. And the best part is, your in-laws don’t need to be involved.
In-laws can be a great addition to your extended family. But there are times where they might overstep their bounds. Remember, it’s your marriage and your family and you set the rules. If situations with your in-laws aren’t as smooth as you’d like, use this article for tips to help improve the relationship.
Different Opinions About Money
Money and finance differences are some of the biggest factors causing arguments between couples. In fact, money issues are the number one reason why couples fight, and over one-third of couples claim money issues are the major source of conflict in their relationship. But just because you and your partner might have differences in opinions about money, it doesn’t mean those differences need to lead to heated arguments. This article will help you navigate those differences and work out amicable solutions.
Early conversation on opinions about money
As often is the case with young couples, there are plenty of conversations about the future. Marriage, jobs, goals, and children all seem to be discussed, but for some reason money is often left out of the equation until later in the relationship. By this time couples are often set in their ways. It’s recommended to have serious conversations about money before marriage or cohabitation. Some questions or talking points to discuss about may include:
- What are your financial goals?
- Investing and saving for the future
- Spending habits
Opening up about some of these topics can set you on a path for a financially stable future.
Make financial decisions together
Just like other aspects of relationships, conflict often arises when one partner makes decisions without the other’s input. This is particularly true with finances.
Keep in mind that this can sometimes be difficult. Why? Because money is used for everything. It becomes easy to spend without much thought. But try your best to discuss even the smallest purchases with your partner.
Try a spending plan
A spending plan allows both you and your partner to visualize your finances. It gives you both accountability when it comes to your money. Take some time to figure out how much you spend each month and what is your combined income. Now is the time to make sure you are both on the same page when it comes to spending habits. Hold each other accountable to the plan you created as a team.
Set a schedule
There is nothing more frustrating than missing important payments on bills. It’s embarrassing when the bank or landlord keeps calling about late mortgage payments or rent. Sometimes one partner feels like they are the one who remembers the due dates while the other neglects them.
One good way to avoid conflicts about missed payments is to set up a payment schedule. With today’s technology it’s easier than ever. Set up notifications on Google Calendar, or schedule automatic bill payments either through your bank or your lender.
Also, use these scheduled sessions to address your financial needs, worries, and expectations.
Seek professional advice on opinions about money
Even if you are just beginning to save for the future, speaking with a professional financial planner can help you navigate your spending and saving habits. Not only does a professional have insights that you don’t; an unbiased and objective voice can help lead you to correct strategic financial decisions without arguments with your partner.
If you are still struggling to discuss your finances and it’s causing conflict in your relationship, consider talking with a licensed therapist. A professional relationship counselor has the skills needed to improve your communication not only about money, but other aspects of your relationship, too.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach
What works financially for one couple might not be the correct approach for your relationship. Some couples create joint financial accounts, while others keep things separate and split everything 50/50. There is no right or wrong way to manage your money. The important thing is to find something that best works for your relationship dynamic.
Honesty is key
Many conflicts about money stem from lying. With your finances, honesty is a must. Make sure your partner knows about all of your expenditures. Remember, withholding information about your spending habits isn’t being honest. It is unhealthy for your relationship.
Keeping track of finances isn’t easy. There will be plenty of mistakes along the way. But when you do make a mistake, be honest about it and head off conflicts before they begin.
Money will always be a stressor in any relationship. But differences in opinions about how money is handled don’t have to break your relationship. There are plenty of strategies to improve your financial differences in ways that are best for your relationship. Try some of the ideas from this article, or sit down with your partner and communicate the best plan for you.