Galleries

Therapy Pearls For couples who plan to marry or want to commit long term

I have seen hundreds of couples over my 25 years of practice. Here are some very common themes and issues to ponder. Not discussing these topics will eventually result in marital discord or divorce if ignored. It may surprise you to know 70% of the folks that end up in my office have not had true honest discussions in these areas. Part of the work in  therapy is talking through any feelings of resentment, sadness or confusion as a consequence of avoiding these areas early on.

 

It is never too late to have a heart to heart/one-one with one another on these important topics.
Not all at once of course.

Before you get married, or commit long term it’s important that these basic communication building blocks are are discussed between you . This will enable a clearer understanding of one another thus more solid foundation. 

▪️The ability to laugh together

▪️Mutual Respect for one another

▪️Being Polite and Kind to one another

▪️Mutual Intimacy (emotional closeness)

▪️Honesty

▪️Sexual compatibility

▪️Trust

▪️ Your ability to be vulnerable (and a true willingness to put your pride aside when your partner needs you).

▪️True Acceptance of WHO YOUR PARTNER IS (women who like to fix or are co dependent please take heed) and please do not have an “agenda” that you can change them. I hear this A LOT. You can’t.

People only change something when they want or feel uncomfortable enough to seek help.

You will not change them, by asking them to fundamentally adjust who they are. They will only resent you for not accepting who they are. If you don’t like something from the beginning, think if it’s something you can accept and live with.

Obtain clarification on these important key issues:

▪️ Children: do you want them? how you will raise them if you choose to have any, Religion ? Spirituality? Adoption? IVF? Are these options? Boundaries with extended family disciplining the kids ?
Any worries in this area? It needs discussion.

▪️ Money: and everything surrounding this topic. Whether you are very wealthy, financially comfortable, middle of the road, or dont have much, it makes no difference. Money is a thing. Money is Money. Wealthy people argue about similar things that middle class people argue about.
Money is power. Money is Freedom.
It is one of our primal survival tools. People can be very different inside when it comes to money. Upbringing, personal values, becoming wealthy very fast has it’s own set of problems. All are acceptable the topic(s) simply need a discussion. Is one person supporting the other? are both of you working? Will one be at home? Are costs going to be spilt? If one of you is making significantly less then the other? And is this ok in the long run? Who pays for what? It’s not about what’s fair, it’s about what you each think will work or not, for you.

If one of you losses your job and doesn’t work ( health issues aside) would it be a deal breaker if it continued a few years? 5 years ? 10 years? Forever? Whatever fits is ok as long as it’s discussed and you both come to an agreement or compromise.

One couple came in for a tune up, after many years of doing well. When after several years of marriage; they found they were “stuck“. Both were very successful providers. The husband got laid off and after a year not landing another position he wanted he thought it would be nice for him to stay home with their kids and be their primary caretaker whilst giving up a potential 6 figure salary, for a job he could surely obtain.
Wife agreed to let him be a fun dad at home for a bit. But neither clarified how long this would last. She continued to work and supported their 5 member family. This was fine until they got to year 6 of him not working. Then another session was needed for her to clarify her needs & boundaries and let him know he needed to go back full time because she wanted to cut back and was getting resentful. He didn’t want to go back to work by then. Thus the conflict.
Would it had made a difference early on if she said

“ I dont want to work until I’m 50, I want to be a mom too, how do you feel about that ?” Or “ ok do this for a year then it’s my turn “ or something.

Again, its all good as long as it’s all good with both of you. Being broadsided in the midst of a marriage by a huge financial and identity change will surely shift the marriage dynamic and will need some exploration.

I treated another couple where the woman was a bank President. She decided at 40 that she wanted to teach high school French. The husband was 100% supportive, they worked out how to supplement her 200k income while she was in college and visited France. They are both now very happy. They had much experience talking about money As they both were in the industry and when they met and both were able to express their worries, excitement as well as fears to one another.
talking is key.

If one is a heavy spender now, it will only continue over time. Please don’t ignore red flags. Money issues create HUGE intense resentment and anger over time and those subterranean feelings can surely taint the love when there are no discussions. Marriages often break up over not talking through the sensitive areas money brings. It’s avoided and ignored because of fear.

I have had clients decide to break off their engagements when they learned their personal views and values around money were drastically different from their future spouse. One woman in particular learned her future husband’s intention, showed her his rigidity and what she described as his ‘ unloving lack of consideration’ for her. He went to see a lawyer without including her before legally showing her the document 2 weeks before the wedding. The document stated that she was not entitled to and was not getting any of his money. Ok, that’s a pre Nup. He made clear that when they got married and over the the coming years whilst he continued to accumulate large amounts of wealth with her, and she was a successful business owner, that he simply wasn’t willing to buy another home with her because he liked his ( the home he shared with his x wife who died in the home) that was 40 miles from her home. She asked how he felt about combining some of their separate wealth as well as discussing making wills. As they both had older children. Who were successful. That’s when he dropped this bomb: 

“ I love you so very much, you should know that regardless of how much I love you and how long we are married if something happens to me and I die, (this was second marriages for both) all of my monies (millions) will all be going to my grown children. And honestly, I don’t feel I should have to leave you anything at all.
But you will have your social security right? “
 
As a side she was very stable financially.

He was making a point. Your not getting a dime sister. Cook for me, love me, be my arm candy, let me in your heart, help me when I’m sick, “just don’t expect any money from me. Am I not enough ?”

What do you think?

Hot for Teacher…

If your an adolescent or a young man under the age of 16, there may be a hot teacher at a school near you and if she hits on you, chances are she’s serious. And these women most of them are quite attractive. I mean like some are hot. What’s up with that?
Almost weekly in the paper and/or online news I am reading about another adult female professional teacher who had sex, with teens or a teen at the school where they work.
In a the closet, in a car, In the parking lot, near a bar at her house, at the beach, in the classroom or where she’s going to teach.

Brianne Altice, 34, was arrested in October 2013 after one of her former students approached Utah police and told them that he had a sexual relationship with the English teacher beginning when he was 15 years old. He was able to describe tattoos on the teacher’s body, and told police that they had sex at least seven times, including once in a public park.

Summer Michelle Hansen, 31, was charged in August 2014 with sex crimes involving 5 students at the California high school where she taught special education. Hansen allegedly sent sexually suggestive texts to at least one student, who claimed she had sex with him as a “prize” for doing well in a baseball game.

Diana Leigh Farnell
Diana Leigh Farnell, 28, turned herself in to North Carolina police on Sept. 12 following accusations that she’d had sex with one student at the high school where she taught English.
One student told WCCB that he noticed flirting between Farnell and certain student in his English class

Rachelle Gendron
Rachelle Gendron, 27, was charged with five counts of rape stemming from her alleged affair with a
14-year-old student. The former sexual education teacher allegedly sent the boy photos of herself in “various stages of undress, with breasts and genitals exposed,” according to an indictment.

And of course the most publicized:
Debra Lafave
Plead Guilty Former middle school teacher Debra Lafave found guilty to two counts of lewd and lascivious battery. Lafave, now 31, whose sexual liaisons with a 14-year-old middle school student made tabloid headlines, avoided prison as part of a plea agreement. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara/FILE)
* all sources Huff Post

Recent psychological discussions in
my community on this topic are circulating that these woman who commit this boundary crossing with young men seem to have very different motives then their male teacher perpetrators. Not that it makes their behavior any less psychologically damaging or inappropriate of course. Many of these woman were said to be “lonely” and were seeking to perhaps care for a male who seemed to have had a turbulent or difficult home life, and the emotional nurturing the teacher offered soon developed into the teacher wanting to feel sexually attracted, or wanted by, the adolescent. So she made a move. Clearly she’s not getting what she needs in her own world so she chooses vulnerable young men most, I’m sure, who have never had a sexual experience. Maybe she thinks that’s a gift she’s giving. It is of course just the opposite. It’s a shining albatross.
Here in the USA all teachers are warned from the time they get into their degree programs to the time they are hired that any physical or sexual relationships with students is prohibited and emotionally destructive to the student. And it is. Very.
Although many teens in our
culture often boast it as ” hot” if you get a hook up with an amazingly pretty teacher, it has lasting damaging effects on the student in more ways then I can begin say. Into adulthood.
I treated a man of 39 who told me his first sexual experience was with an older woman (he was 14 she was 28) who was his summer school teacher.
He carried so much shame and guilt for so many years and not only struggled socially with girls and woman after this, he stated that throughout his life with women he had severe trust and intimacy issues. And he never really did well relating to girls his own age. No shock there folks.
His first sexual experience was with an adult who used her power in her position as a teacher to seduce him for her own needs. This is not mutual or equal, at least not initially. These kids who brag about having sex with a smokin’ teacher are not as well received by their bro peers as you think. One kid videoed the teacher giving him oral sex in a school closet. He then showed his friends and one of them went home to tell his parents he was so effected by it.
Most kids know it’s just not ok. And most do tell. Although it can of course feel appealing as well.

The recent retired Baltimore Ravens Cheerleader who was married to a very wealthy CEO in Baltimore, MD tried to pay the family of the young man she seduced 10 Million dollars to keep the incident off the radar. The family looked out for their son and decided it was not in his emotional best interest to do so. She was just a mom who seemed to be oddly obsessed with her sons friend.
I guess throwing money at a problem doesn’t always make it go away. The now accused rapist Molly Shattuck, 47, once made history as the oldest woman to become an NFL cheerleader. On November 6, 2014 she was indicted in Delaware on nine counts, including two counts of third-degree rape, four counts of unlawful sexual contact and three counts of providing alcohol to minors. She brought underage boys to a beach house, gave them beer and blowjobs and her marriage was over in 3 weeks.
As I always say, everyone has an emotional breaking point. Talk to your kids about boundaries even when they are teens. The more mental health funding that gets cut, the more of this acting out we will see. I’m very interested in everyone’s thoughts about this. In particular from other countries.

IMG_7570.PNG

IMG_7566.PNG

IMG_7568.PNG

IMG_7567.PNG

IMG_7571.JPG