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January 2011



Recent Posts


Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

The Today Show recently did a piece on married couples that people in significant relationships may find relevant in today’s day and age.

The three questions they pondered were:

  1. 1.  Money – Should couples married couples (or people in long term relationships) have a joint account or separate accounts?

  2. 2.  Grooming – When it comes to the bathroom, should there be boundaries?

  3. 3.  Alone time – Should there be alone time in each relationship or is it OK to be attached at the hip?

These are topics that often come up in therapy; the only one that is missing here is a question about what is too much or too little sex in a relationship?

Psychiatrist Dr. Maria Padro hit the nail on the head when she implied, at the end of the day, there are no shoulds when it comes to these questions. In fact, we need to watch out for the shoulds when they naturally arise as automatic answers to these questions.

Read Article in Full:  http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=29841&cn=289

By Elvira G. Aletta, Ph.D.
April 14, 2009

Getting married is a pivotal moment of life, like the first time you had sex or assumed a mortgage. So-called ‘reality’ TV shows would have us believe it’s all about throwing a really fabulous party and wearing a really fabulous dress. Back on Planet Earth we know getting married means stepping into a profound adventure, part joyful, part terrifying, all hopeful. Add to that voluntarily taking on a new identity; spouse, partner, wife, husband – how we describe ourselves to the world and to ourselves changes.

How easily we grow into our new role can be helped along or hindered by our in-laws.

When you get married, like it or not, you marry into each others’ families. Most of us have no idea what that means until we’ve been married a while. We assume that because our intended is the epitome of wonderfulness, their parents are great as well.

If you are lucky, and I hope you are, your new or future in-laws already know that Good In-Laws….

  1. 1.  Maintain respectful boundaries. They treat their new son/daughter-in-law as the full-fledged grown up they are; as they treat their own adult child.
  2. 2.  Do not assume instant love. Good in-laws know relationships need time and nurturing to grow.
  3. 3.  Never give unsolicited advice. Never. They wait to be asked and even then answer only the question posed and wait for the next question.
  4. 4.  Visit only when invited and limit calls to a reasonable once in a while. If the newlyweds are living with them, good in-laws are respectful of the young couple’s privacy.
  5. 5.  Never complain about the non-blood family member to their adult child. If they have a problem with their child-in-law they think long and hard before deciding it is necessary to tell that person directly. Most good in-laws just hold their tongue.
  6. 6.  When good in-laws visit they resist the urge to point out and fix whatever is broken. No matter how handy they are, a good in-law waits to be asked and then helps (if they want to) without conditions.
  7. 7.  Understand that the adult child’s primary allegiance must be with their spouse. Good in-laws defer to the newlyweds as a couple and make it clear that they are there for both of them. They never assume they can come between them by working one against the other. Or by saying something absurd like, “But I’m your mother, so of course you want to please me first.”
  8. 8.  Good in-laws understand the new couple needs to blend the traditions of two families and honor their need to find their own way of doing things. Good in-laws do not presume that “Our way is the right way.”
  9. 9.  Don’t insist the new relative call them ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad’ or ‘Mother Brown’ or ‘Miss Sally’. The good in-law is flexible and sensitive to what their new child-in-law is comfortable with and will figure it out together using a good dose of humor.
  10. 10.  Resist the urge to enable troubles the new couple may have. They don’t “rescue” them by throwing money at the problem or in any way encouraging dependence rather than independence.
  11. 11.  Are not competitive with the new couple or with the other set of parents.
  12. 12.  Good in-laws have satisfying lives of their own and mind their own business.

And to complete a baker’s dozen.

Good in-laws understand that becoming a grandma or grandpa is not license to ignore 1-12.

This post originally appeared on the Explore What’s Next Blog.

9 Steps to Better Communication Today

By John M Grohol PsyD
April 14, 2009

Relationships don’t exist in a vacuum. They exist between two emotional human beings who bring their own past experiences, history, and expectations into it. Two different people also have different levels of skill when it comes to communication. But better communication, because it is a skill, can also be learned.

The most popular myth about communication in relationships is that since you talk to your partner, you’re automatically communicating. While talking to your partner is indeed a form of communication, if it’s primarily about everyday, “surfacey” topics (“How were the kids?” “How was work?” “How’s your mother?”), you’re not really communicating about the important stuff. This article is primarily about how to talk in a more open and rewarding manner with your significant other.

Communication either makes or breaks most relationships. You can improve your relationship today, right now, by putting into practice some of these tips for improving the communication in your relationship.

Read Article in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/04/14/9-steps-to-better-communication-today/

Why Do We Choose Our Mates? Ask Charles Darwin, Prof Says

Main Category: Psychology / Psychiatry
Article Date: 16 Jun 2009 – 7:00 PDT

Charles Darwin wrote about it 150 years ago: animals don’t pick their mates by pure chance – it’s a process that is deliberate and involves numerous factors. After decades of examining his work, experts agree that he pretty much scored a scientific bullseye, but a very big question is, “What have we learned since then?” asks a Texas A&M University biologist who has studied Darwin’s theories.

Adam Jones, an evolutional biologist who has studied Darwin’s work for years, says that Darwin’s beliefs about the choice of mates and sexual selection being beyond mere chance have been proven correct, as stated in Darwin’s landmark book The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. His work has withstood decades of analysis and scrutiny, as Jones states in his paper, “Mate Choice and Sexual Selection: What Have We Learned Since Darwin?” in the current Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Bottom line: It’s no accident that certain peahens submit to gloriously-colored male peacocks, that lions get the females of their choice or that humans spend hours primping to catch the perfect spouses – it’s a condition that is ingrained into all creatures and a conscious “choice” is made between the two so the romantic fireworks can begin.

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