Swiping Left: Tips on Dealing with Unwanted Romantic Attention Online

Many of us are all too familiar with this uncomfortable scenario: someone initially catches your eye, but for one reason or another you lose interest. After letting them know you’ve changed your mind and are no longer interested, they keep messaging you. Or perhaps you’ve never been interested in someone, but they seem to think you’re wrong about your own feelings and keep trying to persuade you otherwise. Dealing with unwanted romantic attention online can be annoying, anxiety-inducing, and harrowing in many ways. Here are some precautions you can take to do the best you can to avoid these kinds of interactions.

Look for Friends

If you’re just looking for friendships to start off, then make it clear from the beginning that you’re not looking for a relationship. Any woman can tell you that this doesn’t always work to dissuade a persistent harasser, but it’s a great place to start covering your bases.

Start Out Incognito

Don’t give out your cell phone number to anyone you haven’t met in person. Use a Google Voice number or use another messaging app that doesn’t show your phone number and has a blocking feature just in case. You can also get a special email address just for dating.

Don’t tell people where you live or where you work. You can tell them what you do and what city you live in but keep the details to yourself.

Go Somewhere New

When you meet, don’t take them to your favorite spots. Take them somewhere you’re unlikely to return so you don’t run the risk of bumping into them if you have to break things off.

If You’re Just Not Interested

If things aren’t going well and you need to break it off, it’s important that you’re very clear with the person that you’re not interested in pursuing anything romantic with them and don’t want to talk to them anymore. Don’t try to “drop hints” or sugar coat your message. All this does is create wiggle room for the perpetrator to start thinking that “maybe there’s a chance.”

Instead, be direct, and be honest with how you feel. As you’re letting the person know you’re not interested, make sure your message ends with a “final goodbye” at the end. “I’m sorry, but I’m not interested at all,” or “I don’t see this going anywhere romantic. Good luck.” Attempts to take the sting out of your message with emojis or compliments will only muddy the waters and your suitor might take this as a cue to amp up his pursuits.

Stop Responding and/or Block

If they keep responding to you, ignore them as best you can despite how tempting it is to respond negatively. Don’t agree to be friends. If they continue to pester, block their number. Do not answer calls, respond to texts or agree to meet for closure, to return items, or any other reason.

 

It might seem cold or cruel, but it’s not. It would be cruel to both of you to continue any sort of relationship out of guilt or a sense of duty. It’s better for both of you to move forward and find the right match.

Are you searching for a relationship and need help navigating the single life? A qualified mental health professional can help. Call me today and let’s set up a time to talk.

How to Fit Romance Back into Your Scheduled Sex Life

It’s the natural course of things in any romantic relationship: as time passes, the “newness” and “butterflies” gives way to routine. You always know what to expect from your partner, and you’ve heard all their stories. While your love for your partner has grown and matured along with you and your relationship, it’s not uncommon for what was once a fiery passion to have fizzled out over the years.

All areas of a relationship takes work, and romance in your relationship is no exception. If you’re looking for ways to stoke the fire of romance with your spouse or significant other, below are some tips that can help.

Listen More

It’s always more difficult to hear than to be heard. You might feel like you know everything there is to know about your partner, but people change. Make an effort to ask more questions, and really listen to your partner’s responses with interest. Ask them how their day was, probe them about their interests, and talk to them as you would if you were getting to know a new friend.

Touch Often

Research has shown that physical touch is a form of non-verbal communication that satisfies the desire for a physical connection. A lack of physical touch is often construed as a lack of physical affection, which can greatly decrease relationship satisfaction. Show your partner affection by making an effort to touch your partner’s skin through a hug, a touch of their arm, hand or back. Hold hands and kiss more often.

Try New Activities Together

No matter how long you’ve been with your partner, there are bound to be things you’ve wanted to do together that you haven’t gotten around to. Or perhaps there are things you’d love to try that you never thought of before, if only you could discover them. Whether it’s joining a hiking group, trying a new wine bar, or exploring your sexual fantasies, enjoying new and different activities together is sure to help bring back the spark that may be missing from your relationship.

Revisit the Past

Take a weekend trip to your honeymoon spot, revisit the place where you had your first date, where you got engaged or your old stomping grounds. Revisiting familiar places when you were just getting to know each other will help remind you both of the how’s and why’s of your love story.

 

Keep in mind that relationships are never perfect, and that it’s natural to have ups and downs with your partner. If you’re going through a difficult time, know that things can improve. With love, trust, and hard work, you can get your relationship with your partner back on the upswing.

Are you and your partner struggling in your relationship? A licensed therapist specializing in marital and couple’s counseling can help you both work on improving your relationship. Call my office today so we can schedule a time to talk.

Starting Over: Dating After the Death of a Significant Other

Whether it’s expected or sudden, losing a partner is always a devastating heartbreak. The finality of the loss of the love of your life, and the idea that you will move forward in the world without them by your side, might be one of the most difficult challenges you will face.

If you’ve suffered the death of a significant other, have grieved and come up on the other side, you may be at a point where you want to find love again. You might have feelings of fear, anxiety, or even guilt, and you’re not sure how (or if) you should start dating again. Read on for some advice that can help you begin the process of starting over.

There’s No Timeline

In grief, there’s no handbook or checklist; how you mourn and move forward is completely personal. Whether it takes you 3 months or 3 years, your timeline is your own. When you begin to feel the sadness lift, and you find yourself yearning to share your life with someone again, it is probably time to begin the process of dating. Sharing every day with someone is a very intimate and special experience, and it’s healthy and natural for you to move forward with your life in a positive way.

Letting Go of Guilt

While it’s important to take the time to heal and recover from this devastating loss, it’s also important not to prolong the period of mourning. Your partner would not want you to live the rest of your days in sorrow. If you find yourself feeling guilty, know that your feelings are natural, but know also that you deserve to be happy.

Family Expectations

Your children and other family members who are also grieving the loss of your spouse may not be ready for you to date again. While it’s important to be sensitive to their grieving process, you must also remind them that it’s your decision to make. Keep in mind that their journey of grief is personal to them. As you remain sensitive to their process of mourning, remain true to yourself and move forward when you are ready.

Overall, when you begin dating again is an entirely personal choice. As someone who has suffered such an incredible loss, it can be a difficult decision; but it’s a decision that is only yours to make. Moving on with your life doesn’t erase the memories of the past, nor does it do a disservice to the spouse that you loved and lost. A new relationship will bring you joy and happiness, creating more loving memories you can add to your life.

 

Are you struggling to move on after the death of a significant other, and need support and guidance? A licensed therapist can help. Call my office any time, and let’s schedule a time to talk.

“Who Wears the Pants?” Advice for Balancing the Power in Your Relationship

When it comes to relationships, it seems there is often a driving force behind the couple, or one partner who seems to always have the upper hand. This is often referred to as “wearing the pants.” The partner who “wears the pants” is the one most often in control of the relationship.

“Wearing the Pants”

But what does it mean to have control in a relationship? For one partner to have more control over the other often means that one partner in the relationship is more committed to and interested in it than the other. If one partner is less interested than the other, then the partner with more interest is frequently the one giving up their power in the relationship. This partner may do a lot of chasing and begging while the other wields the upper hand, giving little.

Self-Respect

To avoid this scenario, each person in the relationship must value themselves. Each person should see themselves as “a catch” – a person with value, who deserves an equal and loving partnership.

Maintaining a balance of power in a relationship requires self-respect. If one person in the relationship doesn’t value themselves and they’re willing to do anything to keep the other person in a relationship, they are also setting the relationship up to fail. The person in control will lose respect and attraction, while the person giving up control will build resentment towards their partner.

Balancing Power

To create or maintain balance in your relationship, you must learn to stand your ground. Make your demands known, figure out what your deal breakers are, and be prepared to walk away if necessary.

As you make your needs known, be sure to do so in a calm manner and don’t create an argument. If there are important things that your partner needs to change, set a time limit. For example, if they frequently put you down or name-call, give them a period of time in which they have to make significant improvement. Know in advance what you’re willing to accept, and what behavior is unacceptable. It’s possible that your partner won’t change, and if so you need to be prepared to walk away while your self-esteem is still intact.

 

Are you having difficulties in your relationship, and require the help and guidance of a licensed professional? Call my office today and let’s set up an appointment to talk.

7 Tips for Getting Through a Breakup

No breakup is ever easy, but some breakups can make you feel like you’ve been sucker punched. And during those times, it can become sincerely difficult to see a way forward. Maybe your friends and family don’t seem to understand why you’re struggling so much, but you have every right to your feelings and your personal journey of mourning. (Because yes, you are allowed to mourn over a relationship!)

I know that things may feel dark right now, but I’ve got two great pieces of news for you. One, you’re not alone – your struggle and experience is valid and difficult, but you can take strength knowing that many other men and women like you find a way to fight through similar tough experiences all the time. And you can too.

The second piece of good news is that you have the power to make yourself feel better. Now, I’m not trying to say you can snap your fingers or simply make a mental decision, and suddenly you’ll feel better. However, you are strong and capable, and there are many things you can do to help yourself climb out of this hole and back towards your personal “normal.”

Let’s get you started with a handful of solid first steps you can take.

1. Practice self-care.Instead of wallowing in your misery, distract yourself by indulging in something you truly enjoy after all self-love is the most important love! Do something you’ve always wanted to do, take yourself on dates or buy yourself a present. It will definitely help you feel better.

2. Use social media smartly.You might want to stay off social media during this period. Seeing pictures of happy couples on your Facebook or Instagram feed might unnecessarily trigger you. Remember that nobody’s life is as perfect as it appears to be on social media.

3. Rely on your support system. Nobody should have to go through a breakup alone. Calling your BFF and crying it out on the phone can be extremely cathartic, plus you get to hear someone you love remind you of how awesome you are. Allow your friends and family to be there for you.

4. Find a good therapist. Talk therapy can help you with some much-needed evaluation. It can help you see what went wrong in the relationship, what you really need in a relationship, and who you really are.

5. Seek your passion.Find something that you’re really happy doing, and spend a lot of time doing it. That way, you have something positive to channel your emotions to, and you’d be too busy having fun to think about your ex.

6. Practice gratitude. Think about all the other people in your life who love you completely, and be thankful for them.

7. Focus on becoming a better person for YOU. Now is a great time to do those things you’ve always wanted to do. Start exercising, eat healthily, learn a new skill, and travel somewhere new. Grow in as many ways as possible and watch yourself flourish.
Remember, grieving the loss of a relationship is completely normal. Give yourself the time and space you need to get through the breakup. Seeing a professional therapist is a great step towards healing. If you need someone to help you through your breakup, please reach out to book a session with me.

5 Ways to Reignite the Spark in Your Relationship

‘The spark’ is a phrase that’s used a lot when it comes to romantic relationships. In fact, you might have felt ‘the spark’ in the beginning of your relationship, and as a result, the early days were very exciting for you and your partner. However, like every other flame, ‘the spark’ needs to be kept alive by both partners. When you think of intimacy, you probably imagine physical attraction, and sexual relations, however, intimacy is so much more than that. It encompasses both the physical and the emotional.

At the beginning of your relationship, you just can’t seem to get enough of your partner. You want to see them all the time, and they are constantly on your mind. Naturally, romance blossoms and intimacy is high and effortless.

However, as time goes on, life sort of gets in the way. Routine and the stress of everyday living makes it almost impossible to sustain high levels of intimacy without effort. It takes practice, time and effort to keep intimacy levels high in any relationship.

Here are 5 ways to strengthen the intimacy in your relationship, and keep your flame burning hot.

1. Do exciting things together- As your relationship develops, you are bound to form a routine. However, routines become boring. Shake things up by making an effort to do really exciting things together, such as climbing a mountain, going on a vacation, taking a special class together or going bungee jumping! It will provide a much-needed breath of fresh air in your relationship and help you discover new things about each other.

2. Have deep meaningful conversations– Talk about your relationship, your current lives, plans for the future and your emotional state. Try as much as possible to be vulnerable with your partner and let them see the real you. Lack of communication and bottling up negative emotions can lead to resentment. Explore the things that make your relationship work, and strengthen your commitment to each other. Having a therapist facilitate these conversations can make them really fruitful and rewarding.

3. Be thoughtful – Intimacy isn’t always about the grand gestures. Something as simple as writing your partner a love letter or stocking up on their favorite snack can make them feel incredibly loved and appreciated.

4. Make couple time- It can be really hard to focus on one thing in today’s digital world, and sometimes we unconsciously pay more attention to our gadgets than to our lovers. At least once a week, turn off all electronic devices and participate in an activity you both enjoy. You could watch a movie, cook together or massage each other. This gives you time to enjoy each other and connect on a deeper level.

5. Express gratitude- Every night, before bed, express gratitude for one thing your partner did during the day, no matter how small or random.This will help them feel loved and appreciated.

If you would like to improve intimacy in your relationship and strengthen the bond between you and your partner, please book a relationship therapy session with me.

5 Ways to Reignite the Spark in Your Relationship

‘The spark’ is a phrase that’s used a lot when it comes to romantic relationships. In fact, you might have felt ‘the spark’ in the beginning of your relationship, and as a result, the early days were very exciting for you and your partner. However, like every other flame, ‘the spark’ needs to be kept alive by both partners. When you think of intimacy, you probably imagine physical attraction, and sexual relations, however, intimacy is so much more than that. It encompasses both the physical and the emotional.

At the beginning of your relationship, you just can’t seem to get enough of your partner. You want to see them all the time, and they are constantly on your mind. Naturally, romance blossoms and intimacy is high and effortless.

However, as time goes on, life sort of gets in the way. Routine and the stress of everyday living makes it almost impossible to sustain high levels of intimacy without effort. It takes practice, time and effort to keep intimacy levels high in any relationship.

Here are 5 ways to strengthen the intimacy in your relationship, and keep your flame burning hot.

1. Do exciting things together- As your relationship develops, you are bound to form a routine. However, routines become boring. Shake things up by making an effort to do really exciting things together, such as climbing a mountain, going on a vacation, taking a special class together or going bungee jumping! It will provide a much-needed breath of fresh air in your relationship and help you discover new things about each other.

2. Have deep meaningful conversations– Talk about your relationship, your current lives, plans for the future and your emotional state. Try as much as possible to be vulnerable with your partner and let them see the real you. Lack of communication and bottling up negative emotions can lead to resentment. Explore the things that make your relationship work, and strengthen your commitment to each other. Having a therapist facilitate these conversations can make them really fruitful and rewarding.

3. Be thoughtful – Intimacy isn’t always about the grand gestures. Something as simple as writing your partner a love letter or stocking up on their favorite snack can make them feel incredibly loved and appreciated.

4. Make couple time- It can be really hard to focus on one thing in today’s digital world, and sometimes we unconsciously pay more attention to our gadgets than to our lovers. At least once a week, turn off all electronic devices and participate in an activity you both enjoy. You could watch a movie, cook together or massage each other. This gives you time to enjoy each other and connect on a deeper level.

5. Express gratitude- Every night, before bed, express gratitude for one thing your partner did during the day, no matter how small or random.This will help them feel loved and appreciated.

If you would like to improve intimacy in your relationship and strengthen the bond between you and your partner, please book a relationship therapy session with me.

4 Signs Your Partner is Potentially Being Unfaithful

Remember when Ashley Madison, the website that helps people cheat on their spouses, was hacked? As news spread, many of us probably wondered if our own partners would be capable of cheating.

A survey by polling company YouGov uncovers some rather startling statistics. When they asked roughly one thousand Americans about their fidelity, 21% of men and 19% of women admitted that they had, in fact, cheated on their partners. Another 7% stated they would prefer not to answer the question. It’s safe to say we can probably put that 7% over with the “yeses.”

Another study, this one published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, found that the average person has about a 42% chance of cheating on their partner. 9% of these participants admitted they had already strayed.

If these numbers are getting you to wondering about your own relationship, here are 4 signs your partner is being (or is thinking about being) unfaithful:

(Before hopping into this, while these are potential signs, please do not interpret this as, “Yes, my spouse is cheating,” or “No, they aren’t”).

1. More Time Away from Home

Has your partner suddenly become a social butterfly? Are they spending time at social events or out with co-workers after work? Does their job suddenly require they spend more time on out-of-town travel assignments?

2. Secretive Smartphone Usage

Do you find your partner spending more time texting on his or her smartphone? When you enter the room, do they suddenly put it down?

3. They Seem More Irritable

Do they seem like they get easily irritated by anything you say or do? Do they blow up when asked simple questions or accuse you of accusing them of something?

4. Lack of Sexual Desire

Even though they are getting slimmer and wearing tighter, sexier clothing in public, they have a lack of sexual desire in your direction.

You Can Recover from An Affair

While it is painful to recognize your relationship may not be as strong as it once was, the good news is, you can recover from an affair. When the offender shows true remorse and the partner is ready to truly forgive, healing can begin, and the relationship can become even stronger than it once was.

If you or someone you know is reeling from the betrayal of infidelity and you’d like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me. I’d be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

The Impact of Grief on Relationships

Experiencing the death of a loved one is one of the most painful things each person must face. The shock of your beloved friend or family member having passed away, along with the finality of their death is difficult to deal with.

Everyone Mourns Differently

The process of mourning is a very personal experience. Because grief is so personal, each person reacts differently to the death of a loved one; your instinct may be to reach out and connect, and the instinct of your friend or relative may be to retreat, distract themselves with work or hobbies or shut down.

Your relationship with the deceased was a unique one, so the process in which you grieve the loss will also be unique and personal to you. The close friends and family that you would expect to be there for you in one of the most challenging times of your life may not be present in the way you’d hoped or anticipated. Even your spouse or partner may not provide the comfort you’d expect.

Relationships Impacted by Grief Will Change

Although it’s disappointing and hurtful to experience what feels like a breakdown in your relationships when you need them the most, you must realize that your friends, family and spouse are likely also affected by grief, and going through their own process of mourning.

It’s also important not to rely solely on your spouse for comfort. It’s healthier for both of you, and will ease the stress on your marriage, if you have other people to turn to for help.

The impact of grief is an incredible strain on your existing relationships, as who you are as a person is temporarily altered as you struggle to cope with the loss and find a way to move forward. Your close friends and loved ones may have difficulty coping with how you’re mourning, causing them to pull away temporarily. They could also be very used to seeing you as a source of strength, and a pillar, and seeing you in this vulnerable state (in addition to possibly dealing with their own grief) is more than they can bear.

Seek Out New Sources of Support

Maintaining relationships takes effort, and they’re vulnerable to the difficulties we face as we move through life. You may need to turn to distant family members, other friends or acquaintances, make new connections through bereavement groups or seek professional help from a mental health counselor to find solace and understanding.

Although we can expect bereavement to change our relationships, we can also expect some semblance of normalcy as everyone affected copes with the loss over the passage of time. By forgiving friends or loved ones who weren’t there for you as you dealt with your grief, you can re-establish lost connections.

If you’re having difficulty with your relationships as you grieve and need some understanding and guidance, please give me a call and we can set up an appointment to talk.

How to Deal with Infidelity in a Relationship

When infidelity occurs in a relationship, it can be very devastating for the parties involved. Infidelity involves breaking a promise to be completely faithful to your partner, and when it happens, it erases the trust that existed in the relationship. Dealing with infidelity can be pretty challenging and it raises tough questions. Should you stay? Should you forgive? Can trust be rebuilt? Will things ever be the same? If you’ve just found out that your partner has been unfaithful and you’re not sure of what to do, this article is for you.

It’s important to note that infidelity can occur in any relationship. We often think it’s never going to happen in our relationship, but existing statistics show that infidelity occurs in about a third of relationships.

Why do people cheat?

People cheat for a variety of reasons, and it rarely has anything to do with the person that’s being cheated on. You might think your partner was unfaithful because of something you did or didn’t do, but that’s rarely true. Here are some reasons people cheat:

– To feel desirable
– Impulse/Lack of self-control
– Boredom
– Impaired decision making under the influence of drugs or alcohol
– Sex addiction

Remember that none of these reasons is an excuse, and the cheater made choices.

Can a relationship survive infidelity?

Yes, it’s possible for a relationship to survive infidelity, but it means that both partners have to be willing to work hard at rebuilding the trust that has been broken, healing, and making the relationship strong again.

Here are a few tips:

– Talk about the affair- It’s important for both parties to have an open and honest discussion about the affair. It also helps to talk to a relationship counselor together, and explore ways that you both can heal faster.
– Remember the good times- Cheating is painful, but it helps to reminisce about the good times and all the wonderful things your partner did for you in the past.
– Tackle old issues- Now is a great time to tackle all the underlying issues in your relationship and create a fresh start.
– Practice radical honesty– Try to be completely honest with each other about how you feel and how you want to be loved.
– Set a timetable for recovery- Both of you need to be intentional about your recovery. The cheater needs to allow the betrayed party ample time for healing, and honor the other person’s recovery process.
– Start something new- Remember how excited you both were when you just fell in love? Rekindle that magic by doing an activity you both enjoy together, and incorporating more romance into your relationship.
– Reaffirm your commitment- There needs to be an understanding that infidelity will never occur in the relationship again, and a willingness to keep that promise by both parties.

In rebuilding a relationship damaged by infidelity, patience is key. With the support of each other, family, friends and a good therapist it is possible for a couple to move past an affair and become even stronger. I offer relationship counseling services for couples who find themselves in this difficult situation, and you can contact me to book a session.