by Mira and Charles on April 21st, 2014
Last time, we talked about the challenges kids and families face when a boy or girl goes off to college. We also talked about what parents need to do to make this go well.
This time we want to begin talking about how parents often do things to make this transition so much harder. The ways parents cause problems—often very serious problems—all grow out of quite understandable fears. But while the fears are understandable, the things parents do in response to their fears can be quite harmful.
Fear #1. “My child will go off to college and forget about me, never call, never really come back home. I’m afraid I’m going to lose my child.” Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on April 15th, 2014
It’s that time of year when acceptance letters from colleges start rolling (or trickling!) in. And it starts to become very real to the whole family: in just over four months little Bobby or Jenny, whom you just held in your arms mere minutes ago—or so it seems—will be leaving you.
Many of us bravely say, “Well, it won’t matter. We’ll still be a family, just the way we were.”
But we know that’s not true. You may turn out to have an even stronger family than you had before, but it won’t be the same. If you’ve done everything right, and are lucky, Bobby/Jenny are being launched now. This is a process that starts at around now and may very well take their entire 20s to complete. And then they are adults off on their own.
They have a lot to do. To learn how to live alone. To make good decisions and plan work. To find and form a viable relationship. To settle into the right career.
This is a lot to do, and almost no one glides through it easily and without any costly errors.
Now the best thing parents can do to make it easier is Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on April 5th, 2014
List the 5 best things about you. Don’t bother writing them down. Don’t take any time. Just your quick take on this.
What did you come up with? “I’m a good friend”? “I work hard”? “I’m a good person”? “I have a good sense of humor”? “My blue eyes”? Most people come up with things like this.
I’ll bet that if I collected hundreds of these little lists, one virtue would appear on very few lists. Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on April 1st, 2014
We’ve all had this experience. You’re talking to someone who seems totally normal and reasonable, and suddenly they come forth with some facts and opinions that make you wonder if the two of you live on the same planet.
It’s not like discovering that your new friend likes vanilla ice cream, when you like chocolate. It’s like discovering that your new friend thinks vanilla is linked to the forces of light and chocolate with the forces of darkness. Whoa!
Well, I had a similar experience reading about a person—I’ll call her X—who’s received a certain amount of prominence for her writing about marriage and affairs. She is a therapist who is now saying that people are cheating even though they are happy or content in their marriages.
And that’s where I go, Whoa! Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on March 29th, 2014
I think I’m about to do something very bad. Or good. I don’t know. I can’t figure this stuff out.
But I sort of get the sense that Gwyneth Paltrow isn’t cool but making fun of her is.
Well, I say, who cares? Yeah, life is high school, but I say, Isn’t it time we all graduated?
Anyway, cool or not, Gwyneth called her breakup with Chris “conscious uncoupling” and BOOM! everyone was all over her.
What the hell is wrong with everyone?
We need more Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on March 25th, 2014
Let’s say that two people come together and form a committed relationship. And part of their shared understanding, their full and total agreement, is that they won’t have kids.
Fine. Every couple is entitled to set things up the way they want.
But then, five years later, on of them changes her mind. People she knows start having kids and it seems great. Now she wants kids too. This is a sincere change of heart. Not, as I’ve seen in some cases, a situation of saying one thing to get into the relationship and then “changing your mind” once you’re married.
And she wants to talk to him about her change of mind but he won’t do it. A deal is a deal, he says.
Oh oh! Now what? Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on March 21st, 2014
Will your relationship last?
Hmmm. Let me see…
Uh…yes! Data just in: your relationship will last!
Well, that was easy. Except, of course, as you well know, it ain’t that easy. There are no crystal balls.
But—oooh!—maybe there are equations! Everyone’s impressed by an equation. And the more complicated the better. So how about this one:
L = 8 + .5Y – .2P + .9Hm + .3Mf + J – .3G – .5(Sm – Sf)2 + I + 1.5
Wow: that equation has a lot of stuff in it. It must be really smart!
Well, no. Even with equations, garbage in, garbage out.
This particular equation is brought to you by the folks at the MSN website and comes complete with a picture of couple very happy in bed, though what the woman is doing with the dice Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on March 18th, 2014
I’ll be brief. (I know: that’s a first!) If you want to understand what’s going on in your relationship, as well as what a couples therapist is thinking about when she’s trying fix your relationship (and, stats show, usually succeeding at it), then please check out this interview.
The most interesting questions we’ve ever been asked. You be the judge on the answers!
by Mira and Charles on March 7th, 2014
Here we are, back with our occasional series on books we’ve written. (Here’s a previous entry.) This time I want to talk about a book I’m really proud of, one that’s helped a ton of people, one that has a huge proportion of 5-star reviews on Amazon.
But it’s very controversial, and for all the wrong reasons. It’s one thing to hate a book because you disagree with its message. That’s fine. But the minority of people who are upset with When Good People Have Affairs just don’t know what we’re saying. They’re disagreeing with a message we never sent.
This book grew out of our work with people caught up in terrible relationship ambivalence. It turns out, not surprisingly, that many of them had got themselves in a relationship with another person. Which just added to their anxiety and confusion, while throwing in huge guilt for good measure.
Our goal Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on March 5th, 2014
Yes. Stress does kill. It kills relationships.
I am suddenly seeing this all over the place. Relationships chewed up into little pieces because one or both partners is over-burdened by stress.
What exactly am I talking about, and what can we do about it?
Stress is not simply hard work. It’s perfectly possible to put in a hard day at the office or the store or the coal mine and come home tired but sane.
Stress comes in when you are Read the rest of this entry. »