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A group of independent counselors serving Kingwood and Houston
Specializing in Gottman MethodTM Couples and Marriage Counseling

Archive for the ‘Sex and Romance’ Category

The Conversation Every Couple Should Have on Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Loving Couple Holding Arrow And HeartNo matter how you celebrate Valentine’s Day, be it at a trendy new restaurant or a home cooked meal, make Love Maps part of the evening.  Love mapping is a phrase used in Gottman Method Couples Therapy that means asking open-ended questions to better know the internal world of your partner.  Asking these types of questions can deepen intimacy in a relationship.

In the beginning phase of relationships, Love Maps are generally strong because we are curious about the person we are falling in love with . . . we want to know everything.  We ask questions about their favorite music, foods and travel destinations, career aspirations and so on.  But Love Maps are also about hopes, goals, values and convictions.  Human beings are complex and there are an endless supply of questions we can ask.

But as love relationships progress past the honeymoon phase we often fail to continue asking these types of questions.  We think we know everything there is to know about our partner and we lose our curiosity.  This is unfortunate because as we evolve what was once true may no longer be.  Love Maps are important all all stages of relationships.

So this Valentine’s Day we suggest that you have more intimate conversation by asking Love Map questions.  Ask questions about their past, present and future . . . and don’t forget to throw in a few sex Love Maps questions.  Here’s a sample of the types of questions you can ask.

1.  What is your favorite childhood memory?

2.  What is your sexual fantasy?

3.  If you won the lottery, how would you spend the money?

4.  How do you envision your life after you retire?

5.  What are your top 5 travel destinations?

6.  What is the biggest challenge you are currently facing?

7.  Who do you most admire?

8.  What does romance mean to you?

9.  What is your biggest regret?

10.  What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

11.  What is the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?

12.  What are your most treasured possessions?

13.  What do you like most about yourself?

14.  What do you like least about yourself?

15.  What do you most fear about getting older?

16.  What are your religious/spiritual beliefs?

17.  What is your biggest unrealized dream?

18.  When we met, what was your first impression of me?

19.  What is your favorite lovemaking position?

20.  What makes you feel most competent?

 

Questions such as these build a deep friendship and intimate bonds that surpass all other relationships.  Now isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is all about?

Mary Beth George, MEd, LPC

Certified Gottman Therapist

 

 

 

5 Things We Love About our Couples Weekend Workshop

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

IMG_1669In October we put on another Art and Science of LoveWeekend Workshop.  It was our biggest workshop to date.  As we reflected on the success of the workshop we realized there are many reasons we love this work.

1.  We love seeing couples committed to working on their relationships.  At this workshop we had couples travel far and wide to deep their connection, IMG_3654including Virginia, Illinois, Mexico and even South Africa.  Good things happen when couples commit to building friendship and intimacy.

2.  The fact that we had couples from such diverse locations speaks volumes to how Gottman Method Couples Counseling is spreading.  Therapists trained in this method are now in Australia, Canada, Korea, Norway, Sweden and Turkey.  A therapist from Mexico attended our workshop and she now is seeking Level 1 training.  It is exhilarating to be involved in this global movement.

3.  We love and appreciate the support of our partners in putting on our workshops.  Both of our husbands help us role play techniques taught over IMG_3651the course of the weekend.  We demonstrate how to deal with actual issues from our personal lives.  Invariably evaluations show this to be a favorite part of our workshop.  Seeing the vulnerability of our partners and learning that all couples have conflict make this approach very accessible to participants.

4.  We love that this is a comfortable process for couples.  Couples appreciate that we make the workshop fun and interactive, yet a private, intimate experience.  It is not therapy yet yields the same results as 6 month of marital therapy.

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5.  This material works!  Time and again we have seen couples re-ignite the flames of passion, smooth out rough spots or make a complete transformation in their relationship over the course of the weekend.  Gottman Method Couples Therapy is based on 40+ years of research and the techniques used are powerful.

ASL Eval Quote

Mary Beth George, LPC

Certified Gottman Therapist

Is Facebook the Source of Relationship Problems?

Monday, August 18th, 2014

The recently published study of Facebook participants and how emotions can spread across social networks caused a big stir.  The researchers called it “emotional contagion”, meaning that our moods are affected by our friend’s posts.

That study is the tip of the iceberg on how social media affects us.  As a couple’s therapist I can tell you not a week goes by that I don’t hear the myriad ways Facebook impacts relationships.  And yes, that definitely affects your mood.

Here are some common scenarios . . .

1.  Singles often use Facebook as a free, online dating site.  You could meet new people through friends of friends or reignite an old flame. Meeting someone this way feels safer than engaging with total strangers.

The down side is everyone makes themselves look better on Facebook.  You miss body language, facial expressions and tone, three things that help us discern sincerity from deception.  Online communication often turns from platonic to flirty (or sexual) very quickly.  While that may be ego boosting, it can also cause poor decision making early in relationships as we can confuse lust for love.

2.  Facebook can be a source of relationship betrayal, and that includes everything from arousing feelings of jealousy to actual infidelity.

Our egos demand that we collect many Facebook friends, the higher the number, the better.  Problems arise when these friends are not friends of the couple.  Exes, co-workers and old friends are all targets of jealousy by your partner.  Commenting on how great your co-worker looks in her bikini seems innocent enough, but problems with trust almost always ensue.

Since it is easy to meet or re-connect with someone on Facebook, it is the genesis of many extra-relationship affairs.  Facebook is available 24/7, thus increasing the temptation to communicate.  It is easy to hide messages from your partner, and you can even change your password or block your partner from seeing your timeline.

3.  We all have curiosity about our exes when we break up, but Facebook makes it easy for us to keep tabs on them.  Why unfriend your ex when you can see their relationship status, where they are going, who they are with and how much fun they are having?  Facebook stalking is a form of throwing salt on your own wound.

It seems logical to point an accusing finger at Facebook for these relationship issues, but social media is not the the problem.  Poor boundaries, loss of friendship/romance, and lack of trust are the underlying causes of pain.

The internet provides convenience in all aspects of life, and that includes relationship issues.  Before social media we would “go the store to get milk” to create time to see our affair partner.  Now all we have to do is log on and that could be while we are in bed next to our spouse.  We used to have to drive by our exes apartment or workplace to keep tabs on them, but Facebook stalking is much more efficient.

The internet gives the illusion of secrecy so we say and do things we wouldn’t dream of saying in person, especially in the presence of our spouse. Making negative comparisons of your real life partner to a photoshopped Facebook picture makes the fantasy of a perfect partner feel more real.  But these things are major boundary violations in your relationship and help you to jump on the express train to infidelity.

If your relationship is suffering and Facebook is a central theme, it may be wise to dig below the surface.  Facebook is most likely a symptom of bigger problems.

Mary Beth George, MEd, LPC

Certified Gottman Therapist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What To Do for Valentine’s Day When Your Relationship Is on the Rocks

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

broken heartbroken heartbroken heartbroken heartThere’s no avoiding it . . . heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, a sea of red and pink greeting cards, ads for diamond jewelry and tents of roses are assaulting us at every turn.

To those newly in love, Valentine’s Day is a day full of sweetness and romance.  For long-term, stable couples it’s usually a pleasant but perfunctory gesture.  But for those in struggling relationships, it is a painful reminder of what is no longer.

For couples not exactly “feeling it” but not ready to throw in the towel, searching for the right Valentine card is overwhelming.  Mushy cards are out.  Humorous cards mock your struggles.   Blank cards to write your own loving sentiment make your stomach tie up in knots.  ”Forgetting” to get a card feels like a slap in the face.

Just this morning I read an article by a so-called marriage expert on how to handle the Valentine’s day-struggling-couples issue.  He suggested finding the right card that doesn’t gush but says I love you, a token of that love (truffles, perhaps) and avoid trying to win over your partner over with your gift.  He said you know your partner well, so get exactly the right thing that will remind them of the love you once shared.  Oh and one more thing, put aside your feelings about how your partner handles cards and gifts . . . after all this is the day to express your love.

The problem with advice like this is that is suggesting that avoidance is the route to coping with loss of romance and passion.  It implies that a token can transmit your deeper thoughts and feelings, that you don’t need to communicate your wants and needs because you and your partner are so connected that you will select the right gift  to tug at their heartstrings.

Ok, maybe if you are from a Vulcan blood line you can do the whole mind meld thing and words are not necessary, but trust me, if friendship, passion and romance are fading, the kids or co-workers will get the truffles and he or she will run over that token of love with the SUV.

Let’s be honest, what struggling couples really want is their friendship back, because it is through friendship that the flames of passion and romance are re-ignited.   They want to be heard, understood, appreciated and emotionally connected to their partner.  They want the fights and negativity to end.  They crave physical affection.

So if you are struggling, what is so wrong with reaching out to your partner and saying “Valentine’s Day is hard for me, it reminds me of how we used to be.  All I really want is to feel connected to you again.  Would you be willing to work on that?”

Sure, it feels risky to make yourself vulnerable and ask your partner to work on things.  But doing nothing means that the relationship will continue to erode . . . and that’s not what you really want.

If you or your partner are resistant to the therapist’s couch, a couples workshop may feel safer.  In our Art & SCIENCE of Love Couples Weekend Workshop, there is artscience-300x223no public disclose of your issues.  It is not therapy, yet you still work on skills to build friendship and manage conflict.  The workshop yields similar results to six months of couples therapy and 86% of couples who have attended the workshop report positive outcomes.

Two days spent communicating and connecting with your partner could change the trajectory of your relationship . . . and end the Valentine’s Day struggle once and for all.

Mary Beth George, MEd, LPC

Certified Gottman Therapist

 

This is Your Brain in Love

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Who doesn’t love the feeling of falling in love?  The newness of love relationships is like no other feeling . . . when we are in love, all is right with the world.  We see things with greater appreciation, we are highly motivated and we never want that feeling to end.

Biologically speaking, many changes occur in our brains when we fall in love.  Hormones (oxytocin, DHEA, testosterone, etc.) are released and make falling  in love very pleasurable, almost addictive.  Oxytocin is sometimes called the cuddle hormone because it is associated with bonding.   It helps mothers bond with their babies but it is also secreted during orgasm.  Having an orgasm with someone changes how you feel.

Oxytocin also creates bad judgment.  It shuts down the amygdala and we are not as afraid to take risks.  If you have a lot of orgasms early in relationship, before knowing someone, it can lead to bad decisions.  There was actually a Swiss study done where they sprayed oxytocin or saline in people’s noses.  Study subjects were given the option to invest money through an anonymous trustee.  Typically investors are cautious with their money, but this study showed that the oxytocin group threw caution to the wind.  In other words, when we are falling in love we think we can trust the other person!

The second phase of love is actual trust building.  All arguments early in relationships are about building trust.  Can I trust you will be monogamous?  Will you be good with money?  Will you put me first?  Trust is all about being able to say my partner has my back and is there for me.

Once trust is developed then we can move on to the third phase, commitment.  This where we stop comparing and thinking we could do better.  We cherish what we have rather than focus on what we don’t have.  Commitment is believing (and acting on the belief) that this relationship is one’s life journey . . . for better or for worse.

In long term, happy relationships what we find is that couples fall in love over and over again.  ALL relationships have rough spots and they traverse through time, but the key is to continually renew the relationship and keep the love alive.

Mary Beth George, MEd, LPC, RD/LD

Certified Gottman Therapist

 

How Does Weight Gain Affect Couples?

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

“You’ve gained so much weight . . . I am no longer attracted to you”.

More than 34%  of Americans are now obese and it has become a national epidemic.  Co-morbidities related to obesity, like diabetes, often take the spotlight but weight issues have deleterious effects on relationships as well.

Weight gain often accompanies marriage.  Couples can become couch potatoes, watching TV instead of being on the go.  Working out may take a backseat now that one is no longer on the prowl for a mate.  Nurturing your loved one with delicious meals, celebrating with food and frequently enjoying cocktails together can pack on the pounds.  Couples can influence one another with eating patterns, often to their detriment, and this can boost caloric intake.

Much to my chagrin, weight and body shape changes can and do occur over time.   Pregnancy, menopause and the aging process all contribute to changes in size and shape.  Couples who support each other through these transitions tend to be the happiest.  Change is inevitable and it is best to accept that some change in weight and physical attractiveness will happen for both of you over time.

Unfortunately for many couples weight issues take front and center stage in marital unhappiness.  When one partner gains weight, the other often doesn’t know how to handle it.  Sometimes they try unsolicited advice like “Go to the gym with me” or “Maybe you should give Weight Watchers a try”.  Advice giving can morph into nagging or ultimatums, and this constant pressure adds conditionality to the relationship.

Derogatory remarks about weight are devastating to a relationship.  Name calling, telling your partner you are no longer sexually attracted to them or saying oink oink every time your overweight partner reaches for seconds all cut to the core.  Being critical of your partner is toxic and according to John Gottman is one of the predictors of divorce.  We all want to feel loved for reasons beyond the number on the scale or our clothing size.

Attacking the overweight spouse compounds the problem by adding layer upon layer of shame and humiliation.  Making negative comparisons or ogling a sexy stranger makes the overweight partner feel worse, more insecure and vulnerable.  Instead of feeling cherished, one feels disrespected and devalued.  Using shame as a tool to motivate always backfires.

Shame is different from guilt.  According to Brene Brown, shame researcher from University of Houston, shame is very painful and focuses on our self worth and sense of belonging.  Shame says “I am fat and unworthy of love”.  Guilt focuses on behavior and says “I overate and feel miserable”.  Shame interferes with our connection to self, as well as to our partner.

Women who have engaged in lifelong battles with their body are especially prone to shame when they plump up after marriage.  They feel big and unsexy and often dress to hide their curves.  Whereas they once pranced naked in front of their partner, now they dress and undress in private.  They often avoid sex in order to avoid rejection.  They simply feel “not good enough” or unworthy.

We used to think that men were less prone to body image issues, but the truth is their issues were present but off the radar.  They often share the same feelings of shame when they gain weight.

Secrecy is often a component of shame and weight issues.  This wreaks havoc in relationships, especially if the overweight partner has binge eating disorder (BED).  People with BED eat salads in front of their partner and gorge on junk food in private.  Bingers are not only grazers and chocolate cravers, but they feel out of control with eating.  They avoid eating in front of others to avoid judgment and in the process destroy intimacy and emotional connection.  It’s like an affair, only the affair partner is food.  Not only does the couple need marital counseling, but the binger will also need individual therapy to deal with their issues.

Many other dysfunctional patterns arise in couples where eating issues or BED are present.  Chronic dieting to compensate for overeating affects how couples approach food in social situations.  It also affects rituals of connection like family dinnertime and holiday food traditions.  Sometimes we see issues of codependency or enabling by placing the responsibility of the eating issue on the normal weight partner.  Other times we see sabotage through the form of temptation, especially if the binger loses weight and there are underlying power struggles in the couple.  And sometimes couples abuse food together to promote a sense of closeness.

But is the excess weight or the presence of BED to blame for plummeting marital happiness and sexual intimacy? Not so according to Gottman.  In his extensive research of couples he found that 70% of both men and women report satisfaction with sex, romance and passion when the quality of their friendship was good. Additionally he found that couples whose sex lives go well after the birth of a baby stem from the man keeping his mouth shut about the changes in his wife’s body.

Friendship, fondness, admiration and deep emotional bonds are what keep couples connected as they traverse changes over time.  Attraction to your partner has more to do with what’s in the emotional bank account than the number on the scale.  Physical changes are not at the heart of deteriorating marriages.  Happy couples see their partner as worthy of honor and respect.

In couples where weight has become a weighty issue, there are underlying problems that are being overshadowed by the weight gain.  It is easy to point the finger at the obvious, but loss of the friendship system, emotional avoidance or problems with conflict management are more likely the root cause.  Weight loss alone will not change the trajectory of a troubled relationship.

As we say in Gottman Method Couples Counseling, every positive thing you do in your relationship is foreplay.  Never comment adversely about your partners weight or your attraction to them.  Instead be affectionate and appreciative.  Focus on their positive attributes instead of dwelling on their weight.  Kind comments reassure your partner that you love them no matter what their body looks like.

As for dealing with shame, the antidote is empathy.  Replacing shame talk with positive self talk is crucial.  In other words, if you are overweight talk to yourself like you would talk to your child.  When shame is present it grows by leaps and bounds when it is stuffed.  Release shame by talking to your partner . . . their job is to express empathy and understanding.

Couples need to maintain positive regard for one another to cope with the changes that time brings, and that includes changes in weight and physical attractiveness.

Mary Beth George, MEd, LPC, RD/LD

Certified Gottman Therapist

 

 

 

 

 

Sex in the Digital Age – 5 Things to Tell Your Teen

Friday, July 19th, 2013

 

Because of the nature of the work I do, I am privy to some of the latest trends in what couples do in the bedroom, except the bedroom is now really cyberspace and it only takes one person with a pulse to have a sex life.  As a couples’ therapist who endeavors to teach people the joys of deeply connected intimate bonds, cybersex is throwing a wrench in the works.  Being the mother of a teen coming of age in this new sexual culture, I have realized that the standard Birds and Bees talk is not hitting the mark.  Yes folks, that’s right, you now have to teach your kids that true sexual intimacy means two live people, not one person with a good internet connection.

Tell your children . . . .

  1. You cannot fill your emotional and sexual needs online.  Building a truly connected relationship means touching each other heart and touching each other physically.
  2. Internet pornography and chat rooms are cheap thrills, and usually degrading.  It is true that the sexual scenarios played out online are steamy and real life partners may not measure up, but building a true connection takes more than a hot sex life, much more.
  3. Virtual partners, such as Furries are a growing trend.  Because these images are anthropomorphized and sexualized it is easy to confuse them for real life people.  But they are not.  They are computer generated and don’t really understand you or have an attraction to you.
  4. Develop a comfort level where you can openly talk about sex, not just dirty jokes or crude remarks.  Being able to talk to your sexual partner about what you both desire and building a true intimate connection, not just a sexual connection, is what real relationships are all about
  5. Understand that pornography, chat rooms and virtual partners are not real.  When you engage in these activities you can be hurting yourself and your partner.  You can become addicted to these things and your partner can feel betrayed, reducing your chances of having a beautiful, loving, trusting relationship.

Teach your teen not just about STDs and how to prevent pregnancy, but also the importance of building an emotional connection.

Mary Beth George, LPC, RD/LD

Certified Gottman Therapist

 

 

Sex and the Midlife Woman: 7 Tips to Get Your Sexy On

Monday, May 6th, 2013

It is not unusual for middle aged women to think of great sex as a distant memory.  If your once fiery sex life has reduced to burning embers, there are things you can do to bring the passion back.  Hot sex and hot flashes don’t have to be incompatible.

  1. Lubricate, Lubricate, Lubricate:  One of the number one complaints of middle aged women is vaginal dryness, which can cause painful sex.  Use a lubricating agent like Astroglide or Replens to feel more youthful and sexy.  Having lots of sex also helps improve blood flow, which in turn increases lubrication, and self-stimulation counts here ladies.
  2. Build Your Muscles:  At midlife we can visibly see a change in our muscles, but what about the muscles we can’t see?  Pelvic floor muscles need to be toned like other muscles to support vaginal strength and prevent problems like uterine prolapse.  Doing Kegel exercises several times daily helps to keep pelvic floor muscles strong, decreasing the likelihood of prolapse and painful intercourse.
  3. Approach Sex Like Your Younger Self:  When you were younger and sex was more plentiful, chances are you approached it differently.  If you had a date and were hopeful that it would culminate in sex (and yes, you spent time thinking about having sex), you made yourself feel sexy by tending to your hair, makeup and clothing.  Fast forward and thoughts of sex are nowhere to be found, so update your look and start thinking about having sex.
  4. Develop a Ritual of Dating:  After the kids come along, dates with our partner disappear along with getting enough sleep.  We forget how to be a couple and that kills the passion in a relationship.  Making time for our partner and remembering how to have fun on dates is one of the best aphrodisiacs.  Along with the dating ritual should be a foreplay ritual.  No longer can either one of you turn on like a light bulb, so be sure to include some good old fashioned making out on your dates.
  5. Better Living Through Chemistry:  As we age our hormones shift, affecting our genital sensation and libido.  Testosterone and estrogen/progesterone play important roles in our sex lives and we may need to give them a boost at midlife.  While not right for all women, hormone replacement or creams have helped improve many a sex lives.  All hormone therapies, even bio-identical, come with some risks, so be sure to discuss the pros and cons with your health care provider.
  6. Be Daring in the Bedroom:  If you haven’t kept up with sexual trends as you grew older, take a lesson from the younger cohort. Sex toys can add different levels of stimulation and whimsy to a dull sex life.  Used alone or with your partner, sex toys can spice things up.  Afraid to be seen in public purchasing these items?  Try safe internet orders at sites such as Good Vibrations.  In addition to your expanding toy collection, try different positions and locations so as not to fall into a routine.  Allow yourself to fantasize and ask for what you want.
  7. Keep Your Relationship Healthy:  Having deep emotional intimacy with our partner improves sexual intimacy.  If bad relationship habits like criticism/defensiveness, avoidance tactics and lack of appreciation have worked their way into your relationship, it may be time for a tune up.  Working on your sex life without working on the overall health of your relationship is like trying to diet without changing your eating habits.

Don’t accept that lack of libido is the norm for your age.  Find what works for you and enjoy a healthy sex life at any age.

Mary Beth George, MEd, LPC, RD/LD

Certified Gottman Therapist

Fifty Shades of Foreplay

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Over the last few months I have had more than one person tell me that Fifty Shades of Grey has spiced up their sex life.

So out of curiosity I joined the ranks of people reading what is now being called “mommy porn”.  And that it is . . . erotica that goes to the edge of pornography, but not hardcore.  Women are exploring their sexuality and realizing they want to be more adventurous in the bedroom.

Erotic fiction is a way for women to explore their fantasies and they are getting turned on by the steamy sex scenes.  The use of sex toys, various positions, locations and submission/dominance scenes is offering some variety to dull sex lives.  In my opinion, probably the more important thing that Fifty Shades is providing is stimulating the brain and the vocal cords.  One of the biggest problems with dull sex lives is that couples do not think about, prepare for or get excited about sexual encounters with their partner like they did during the early phase of their relationship.  Typically during that phase sex is exciting.  Couples plan for it by buying sexy outfits, anticipate having sex and making sure that it happens . . . alot.   Over time these things wane as pregnancy and children enter the picture or as couples stop focusing on their relationship as a priority.

The book series is getting couples talking about sex.  Women are sharing the detailed sex scenes with their partners and talking about their needs and fantasies.  Having intimate conversation with your partner is one of the best ways to rev things up in the bedroom.  Talking to your partner about sex before, during and after the act is the best way to make sure your needs are met.  Sure, erotica can spice things up and be considered normal and healthy, but don’t lose sight of what is important in a relationship, and that involves lots and lots of talking.

Women often wonder what is normal and healthy regarding sex and don’t know where to turn to get answers.  John Gottman, relationship expert and bestselling author, along with his wife Julie, have developed a very good series on sex that guides couples to more intimacy and satisfying sex lives.  Check out www.gottsex.com for more information.  Dr. Laura Berman, psychologist and sexologist, also offers great information on her website and TV/radio programs http://www.drlauraberman.com/homepage

My mission is to help couples have the whole enchilada . . . an emotionally satisfying AND sexually satisfying relationship.

Mary Beth George, MEd, LPC

 

 

Romance Novels and Rom Coms vs Real Life

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

I think there is a possibility I might get kicked out of book club.

Or at the very least I will be labeled a killjoy.  Call it a hazard of the job, but I just find it hard to embrace novels or movies with dysfunctional family drama or unhealthy relationships.

Last month I pointed out the sociopathic behavior of one of the characters and how the heroine of the story got revenge in an equally dysfunctional way.  I was disturbed rather than entertained.  In this  month’s selection I was equally disturbed by a two day torrid sexual affair that the character was convinced was her true love.  She carried the pain of the loss of that relationship for her entire lifetime.

I have a dear friend who refuses to see Rom Coms.  He says that the plot always makes it  permissive for the protagonist to have an affair. The character is made so likeable that the audience is cheering on the infidelity.  Humor is craftily woven into the plot making it easy to condone these behaviors, and since it always works out well for the main character, who cares that the relationship started dysfunctionally?

Well, I guess I do.

I embrace the idea of escapism.  We all need a break from our daily lives and these movies and books offer entertainment and talk around the water cooler.  Who wants to read about stable, healthy relationships that depict mutual love and respect.  We want those relationships in theory but we don’t want to read about them because they are well, uh, kind of boring.

The problem I find is that people with relationship difficulties often seek out the drama and intensity that is portrayed in the movies.  They get addicted to intense beginnings.  The problem is that intense beginnings often have intense endings.  Healthy relationships trade that intensity for the slow development of trust and respect.  Both parties know and  respect themselves enough to maintain good boundaries in their relationships.  By being honest with themselves and with each other, they can adequately deal with their  relationship struggles without being an abuser or a victim.

The seemingly boring plot development of healthy relationships lacks drama and intensity, but the trade-off is a true feeling of trust, validation, intimacy,   and love.  Unfortunately, they don’t teach “Healthy Relationships” in high school and many families are poor role models.  So without knowing what a healthy relationship is, people may actually believe that what they see in movies or read in books is the way relationships are supposed to be.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you find that your relationship is mirroring the drama of a romance novel or a rom com, it may be time for a tune up.  You may need to trade some of the drama for a healthy dose of reality and some guidance in healthy relationship behaviors.  Working towards healthy, fulfilling relationships is a key ingredient to life’s peace and happiness.

Mary Beth George, MEd, LPC, RD/LD

 


Couples Counseling and Psychotherapy Associates provides service to Kingwood, Humble, Atascocita, Porter, Fall Creek, Summerwood, North Houston and surrounding areas.

Couples Counseling & Psychotherapy Associates

2330 Timber Shadows Drive
Suite 106
Kingwood, Texas 77339
Ph: 281-812-7529

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