Do We Need Conflict in a Relationship?

Imagine this scenario: Your partner and you have similar temperament. You both like some solitude and time for yourself separately, and then enjoy being with one another and with friends. You are on the same page with political views, religious beliefs, and even follow a vegan diet. Heavenly? Or not? Personality theories on relationships predicting harmony vary from it being enhanced by similarity or by compatibility. The more similar we are to our partners, the less the conflict. However, one of the glitches in the human mind is that change towards improvement does not come when all is well and […]

New Year, New You?

So we are close to starting to write “2020” on all communications that require a date. Without getting into the perennially useless new year resolutions, what are you looking forward to doing better in your relationships? This does not only refer to romantic ones, but also to family, friends and colleagues. The oft-used slogan has been “New year, new you.” I prefer to look forward to improving the connections I already have while being open to new ones. A recent blog in Scientific American (Blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/which-personality-traits-are-most-predictive-of-well-being) discusses which aspects of our personality contributes most to a sense of well-being. The well-known […]

First Date Red Flags

Grindr, Tinder, Zoosk, PinkCupid, whatever.… So you’re going to meet. Or, you already met somewhere and now it’s the first real date.… What do you pay attention to? What gives you the feeling this is good? Or really bad? Signs to keep going, or bail out? Malcolm Gladwell, in his recent book, Talking to – Strangers, discusses the how, why, and why not of trusting and believing other people. To each new situation and encounter, we bring our own beliefs, opinions, and views. How we approach a person is affected by those existing mental sets. For example, if you are […]

Do We Need Passion in a Relationship?

Who can deny the joy in connecting with another and experiencing the height of emotion, the passionate encounters and even that peaceful time after the peak? Dictionary definitions of passion include: “Any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate. Strong amorous feeling or desire; love; ardor. An instance or experience of strong love or sexual desire.” So, there is a mixing of feeling or emotion and chemistry or sexual desire. Can one feel passion for another as desire but not love? Alternately, can one love another without desire? This is a really tough area of relationships to […]

Time to Leave?

At the beginning, it was exhilarating … Looking into each other’s eyes, holding hands, hooking up, savoring the physical and the emotional highs. Then, slowly, all seemed to be calming down. You started to notice little quirks that annoyed you. The same quirks that you used to think were oh so cute …. You asked: Why do you leave the wet towels on the floor? Who do you think should be putting them in the hamper? For a few days, that behavior improved, and then, back to the old ways… So for every relationship, there does come a time when […]

Are You Overreacting?

How do you measure whether your emotional reactions are completely out of proportion to the situation? If I start crying because I lost my pen, it would be an overreaction. But if the same response was to putting my cat/dog to sleep, it may not be. Cultural factors and expectations play a huge role in evaluating emotional expressions and their intensity. Many boys and men have been raised being taught that “boys don’t cry.” There are those who have grown up with the belief that being angry, or even very happy, is a no-no. Family traditions, religious thought, and gender […]

Who, Me? Anger

How would you finish this sentence: “I get so angry when my partner…”? You may know that we all have a roughly almond-shaped mass of gray matter in our brain: the center that is involved in the experiencing of emotions. So when we feel angry, it means that center, the amygdala, has been triggered. Based on how we were raised, what we were taught about feelings, and what our inborn temperament is, this emotion is expressed, or suppressed. Some of us may deny we are angry. Some may fly into a rage. However you experience it, and however you express […]

Who, Me? Entitled?

One of the issues that emerge in human interactions is what is called a sense of entitlement. How do we define and detect this? If you have ever felt like someone is bearing down on you with their needs, wants, and demands, you know what it feels like. The question that pops into one’s mind is: Why does this person feel they are entitled to this privilege or satisfaction of what they want? Why is it my duty to keep them satisfied regardless of what I want? This becomes a destructive factor in a relationship if the demands are going […]

Me – Past and Present

These days, we hear a lot about what politicians said or did a number of years ago. That got me thinking about how we can look back at past relationships and see if we handled them any differently than what we would do today. I remember at one time, going through the old books (!), I realized that in all relationships, I had been the one to leave or to end the connection. Some food for thought there for me …. So what about you? Have you had long-term affairs? Mostly short-term? What works for you and what doesn’t? Ideally, […]

Self-Interest in Relationships

For each of us as individuals, self-interest is a central issue. The roots of this fact go to the need for survival. Back in the old days of wild animals and a threatening and uncontrollable nature, the human brain had to provide the internal guidance to be safe, so it was wired to watch out for what would ensure one’s survival, at times at the expense of others. So how would this tendency work in a relationship? If each person looks out for his/hers truly, how does the relationship bloom? By definition, a relationship is an emotional or other connection […]