Relationship Builder: Positive Mood

There are many self-help books on how to improve your relationships, love life, or friendships. Let’s take a look at what we can do for ourselves because how we feel definitely affects those in our lives. I just listened to a couple who realized that some mornings, one of them got up in a foul mood and then the whole day went downhill for both of them because the other person resented having to deal with this which he saw as no fault of his own. So how was the first person dealing with his negative mood? According to psychologist […]

Relationship Buster: Egocentric Bias

Do you know a person who thinks everything that goes on around them is about them? Or is it possible you are one? This is the trait referred to as “egocentric bias” when we feel the world revolves around us, so we take responsibility for it all. Not in the positive sense of owning our role in it but in a way that refers all events personally to us. If when you tell your friend or partner that you are getting a promotion, their response is to tell you they are also scheduled for one or the last time they […]

Security or Adventure?

Human beings have contradictory needs and wants. It’s our task to reconcile these, so we can lessen conflicts within ourselves and with others. A long time ago, it occurred to me that I could not eat everything I wanted and look the way I wanted. What to do? The child wants it all and does not want denials or boundaries. Hopefully, by adulthood, we start to accept that we have to make choices. This issue is so crucial in our relationships. Think of when you first met your beloved. The stars in the eyes, the strong chemistry, the connection that […]

No Sex in Relationship? Continued

There were several responses to the previous edition of this column so I wanted to continue on the subject. The frustration this situation brings on can take different forms. The ones who want more sex definitely feel the lack and see it as rejection. That, in turn, creates more obstacles to intimacy. Often this is the start of a cycle of anger and resentment that adds another layer to the distance the other partner feels so even when they want to get close, they sense (or know) the anger and feel immobilized. On the other hand, the partner that feels […]

No Sex in Relationship?

Increasingly, I hear from couples that after the initial few years, the sex drive of one or the other starts to wane and then comes a period of feelings of rejection on the party that wants more and pressure on the one who wants less. What is going on? I have met people who haven’t been physically intimate in years. Of course, it’s possible that there may be physical issues or illness that prompt this kind of a situation. Regardless of what the reasons are, some of which may bring on more resentment than the others, how do you deal […]

Infidelity – Take 2

If there’s an affair involved in your relationship, at which point do you decide to end the involvement, whether it is you or your partner who has been unfaithful? To be clear, I am talking about relationships where there is an understanding of commitment, be it in a monogamous, or a polyamorous context. Even in open marriages, there seems to be an expectation of boundaries. So being unfaithful is about going beyond those boundaries and expectations. How do you even start to sort through the feelings and the back and forth arguments? In the distant past, there were some common […]

Infidelity – The Road Taken

Is there anyone out there whose life has not been touched by affairs? Yours, your partner’s, your spouse’s, or your family or friend’s? However it might have entered your radar screen, this is a subject that brings on quite a bit of discussion because it involves morals, judging, and strong emotions. Take the simplest case: Away on a business trip, with too much alcohol and revelry, you sleep with someone. A one-night stand. What to do when you get back to real life where a relationship exists? If this becomes a repeat routine, then there’s an issue to examine. But […]

What Makes a Relationship Work?

I just did a Google search on this subject and in 0.49 seconds, I got 994,000,000 hits! So it’s obvious that we all want to know what leads to successful connections and happiness with our partners. After all, as the old saying goes, “No (wo)man is an island.” There’s a ton of research that underscores the importance of relationships with relatives, friends, family, partners, and colleagues. Conflicts collide with our mental balance. I’ve never heard anyone say they like conflicts, although there seem to be people whose way of relating to others is indeed through creating chaos. That aside, there […]

How to Live / Work with a Difficult Person

Is there anyone in the world who has had to work or live with someone who creates conflict or makes your life difficult in general? The bottom line is that you have to learn to negotiate in life whether it is for eight hours a day or all the time you are in the living quarters. The simplest example is the person you share workspace with and one who talks loudly or keeps asking questions that interrupt your day, or the one who likes it too warm or too cold so keeps overriding the thermostat. It is easy to dismiss […]


If you’re into social media, if you watch any TV, or even when you overhear others talking, it is impossible not to notice that in this past year, quite a number of people have become more open in expressing beliefs and opinions that would be considered hostile, bigoted and just plain rude. There was a time when a person would feel shame if they were caught in a lie. No more… Last May, Omar G. Encarnacion wrote in Foreign Affairs ( that “No revolution worth its salt comes without pushback.” He states that in Western Europe and the Americas, this […]