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Ask Dr. J

Ask Dr. J

by Janan Broadbent, Ph.D

I recently learned a new acronym: “LAT,” or “Living Apart Together.” It reminded me of a quote from Katherine Hepburn: “Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.” Setting aside the gender reference, what does this trend to be in an intimate relationship but not living together say to us in this culture? How acceptable is it? How widespread is it in all age groups and minority populations? There is not much research on these questions.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Relationships & Anxiety

We’re in the middle of growing anxiety and despair not only in our culture, but also in the world. Climate change issues loom over the horizon. Globalization creates economic insecurity in people. Polarization pulls people and groups apart. Social media keep us in touch instantaneously with all parts of the universe. Cultural and ethical norms change. There are numerous political developments that affect everyone, and more so with minority groups like the LGBTQ.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Long and Short of It

Stability and success – Two different dimensions

Huzzah! This issue of Baltimore OUTloud proudly celebrates 15 years in publication. It’s no small feat to survive when you have a defined audience and to go through the worst economic crisis in the history of these U.S. Especially so when we see the decline in staff and demand for print media. But, now in the long-to-be-remembered words of an unnamed (!) person, “Nevertheless, she persisted!”

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Lies and Untruths

The White House? No, your relationship!

Lying is one of those powerful words that did not use to be thrown around too frequently, though more easily used in the personal context. The influence of social media brought in a more user-friendly version of the concept. Anonymously, people could hurl this accusation around in addition to personal insults. Then came that moment when a congressman yelled, “You lie!” to the highest office holder in this land and in the world. Maybe that is when, paradoxically, there was a crumbling of the strong effect of this word.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Blind Spots Anyone?

And how to see them

Have you had discussions or arguments with others when one person or both are said to be “not listening”? When you hear that said to you, what do you think? Do you take it seriously and take it to heart? We all have blind spots. With some, those take up a huge area of their self-concept and thereby impede understanding why one does or says things unintentionally. Put another way, it ends up with a person not expressing what they feel or believe, again unconsciously.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Loss for One, Loss for All?

What happens when a person in a relationship has to be a caretaker, or experiences a loss so that their focus shifts away from the partner? Under the best of circumstances, much mental, and oftentimes physical, energy would be directed elsewhere. Sometimes it also means financial resources are taken away from the home front. How does one deal with the sense of not being as directly emotionally or physically involved?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Solitude in a Relationship

Do you see solitude and relationships as compatible or mutually exclusive concepts? Over the years, I’ve known a number of people whose partnerships broke up due to disagreements, death, or entanglements with others. Some immediately sought another connection. By immediately, I mean in the next week, if not the next day. Those were people who just could not imagine life without a partner, and “needed” someone there for their emotional (and perhaps social or financial) support. Those connections had a faulty basis: If need is why you seek a person, you set yourself up for dependence – which in turn, fosters resentment sooner or later. Those negative feelings may come from the one who is needy, recognizing that there is that kind of need, or it may come from the one who is providing the support, who then feels the burden.

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