Tag: communication

5 Gutsy Things to Say on Valentine’s Day

It never hurts to tell your partner “I love you” or whisper a seductive compliment to him or her, especially on Valentine’s Day. That said, there are some other, more unexpected things you might confess that could surprise your partner with your emotional depth and sophistication. This Valentine’s Day, try sparking some romantic conversation with one of the following, at first somewhat baffling, statements. Read more

Rethinking “The Divorce Talk”

This article is actually an email I sent to one of my clients who was dreading having “the divorce conversation” with her kids. Like many faced with this daunting task, she assumed her children (both between the ages of 5 and 10) would be devastated by the news. Two days after sending my 8 tips, I received the following response from her: Thank you SO much for this help! [Spouse’s name] and I read it over several times and did just as you laid out– and all is okay! The kids seem fairly unaffected so far and were happy and excited about xxxxxx’s apartment having a pool. Anyway, I guess as far as this talk goes, it was really successful. You pointed out several things I wouldn’t have thought about, so thank you. And thanks for always being available and willing to help. You rock!!  This article shares the 8 tips that I offered her.

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Life Doesn’t Suck: Outsmarting Life’s Illusions

The human mind can be easily deceived sometimes. In its perennial effort to accurately interpret our world, it is unfortunately prone to making some serious mistakes. This is exceedingly evident in the case of optical illusions, were the mind is tricked into believing something is true that, in fact, is false. The image below, for instance, is completely static and unmoving, made by colors and patterns fixed in space. Is this what you see?

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Under New Management: The Art of Rediscovery

I’ve been feeling a bit like a restaurant lately, which is an uncomfortable thing to admit. I’m not used to comparing myself to buildings, much less ones that serve food, especially considering that I am a notoriously poor cook. Nonetheless, it dawned on me recently just how perfect this metaphor is to describe a phenomenon that I believe is fairly common among people in general, not just me. In fact, I bet you’ve felt like a restaurant plenty of times before; you just didn’t describe it in these terms.

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Understanding Threesomes

Relationships are the stuff of life. Quite literally, nothing in the universe exists that isn’t in a relationship to a whole bunch of other stuff, not to mention (indirectly) everything else in existence too. Of course, we homo sapiens, when we discuss relationships, we’re usually referring to the face-to-face, human-to-human variety, which are by far the most complicated of them all. In this article, I’ll explain what makes our interpersonal interactions just so mischievously difficult,  and what to do about all those threesomes in which we keep unwittingly finding ourselves.

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Being the Shore: The Ins & Outs of Emotional Closeness

People are always changing, flowing through shifting emotional states. As we morph throughout time, one of the things that fluctuates is our desire for emotional–and physical–closeness. This phenomenon can really complicate relationships! Your partner might not want to cuddle or have sex or share a meaningful conversation at the exact moment you do, or vice versa. You might want to feel closer to someone who doesn’t want closeness, or want more distance from someone who seeks greater closeness from you. An important question then arises: What’s the best way to manage these ever-shifting desires for closeness and distance? Here’s what I tell clients.

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Top 10 Relationship Myths

Conventional wisdom is great for creating ordinary relationships, but creating extraordinary relationships takes extraordinary means, means that replace conventional thinking with a less conventional, more out-of-the-box approach to connecting. In this article, I quickly debunk the top 10 relationship myths I see most often in couples counseling.

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Building Self-Esteem and Confidence

Confidence is one of the biggest predictors of future success. Those who have an abundance of self-confidence radiate conviction and strength; they carry themselves unapologetically, willingly take on new challenges, and face obstacles with determination and optimism, certain that they will triumph against any and all odds. Indeed, those with high self-esteem seem to have a much easier go of things in general, in work, in relationships, in everything. Unfortunately, some people struggle with this important trait, while others have it in spades. As such, I’d like to discuss why this disparity exists and, more importantly, what anyone can do to build their own self-esteem–and reap the rewards of doing so.

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Asking for Permission

When we were young, we asked permission quite often. Can I watch another TV show? Can I be excused? Can I spend the night at Bobby’s house? Can I borrow the car? When we had parents or caregivers lording over our choices and freedom, asking permission made perfect sense. Since childhood, you’ve probably been taught that asking permission was the polite, courteous and appropriate thing to do. After all, it seemed a whole lot more considerate–and ultimately less complicated–than sneaking out of the house or stealing the family car without asking.

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In Praise of Manipulation

Manipulation gets a bad rap. In The Two Truths About Love: The Art & Wisdom of Extraordinary Relationships, as well as in my counseling sessions with clients, I explain how each and every one of us has 99% control of every relationship. Upon occasion, a client will remark, “Oh, but I don’t want to be thought of as controlling.” What a travesty! Such a person has yet to awaken to the limitless rewards that come from being manipulative. My goal, as a therapist, is to help people realize the essential role that skillful manipulation plays in our pursuit of success and happiness.

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Hot Intimacy

Falling in love is grand. There’s that spark of aliveness and vibrancy, energy, passion, and epiphany, like everything …

Taking Risks

This past weekend a good friend (and soulmate) of mine assembled a group of his closest allies to join him in celebration …

Hassle-Free Traveling, Living

We get dropped off at the curb at LAX in the morning, a few days after Christmas, the four of us, myself, my wife, two toddlers, …