When a therapist describes a couples attachment style, they are referring to the way a couple supports, loves and disagrees with one another. There are three different attachment styles that are most often cited. The first is secure, which refers to a feeling of safety when conversations become difficult. The couple is able to disagree and express thoughts, emotions and feelings while,still feeling securely attached to one another. This securely attached couple does not do for days without talking. They can argue and repair the relationship quickly. The second attachment style is ambivalent. This Insecurely attached couple become anxious if one or the other is not in agreement. They may attack or criticize each other, or withdraw when the topic feels unsafe. They lack the ability to differentiate while still allowing room for the other to express thoughts, feelings and desires. This relationship is often controlling and blaming of the other. Finally, disorganized attached couples are often abusive and needy. They confuse themselves and each other. Love and security is desired by these couples, but those desires represent lack of emotional safety. These couples will fight when it feels the relationship is going really well
Most couples have a bit of each of the three attachment styles. Of course, Ideally the secure attachment style is the desired goal. The good news is that attachment can change over time and even insecurely attached couples or disorganized couples can improve their relationships.
Since Donald Trump was elected president, I have experienced several couples in therapy who have become distant due to their different views on Trump. Most often it has been the male who is the Trump supporter and the wife or girlfriend who “detest the man”.
This subject can drive a couple apart or it could create a deeper understanding of one another. If you are a couple and find yourselves on different sides of the political fence, be curious about the other? Take a deep breath and ask questions such as, “what is important to you about voting for Trump?” Do still believe in affordable health care?” “How do you feel about women’s issues”? ” “Do you understand that he is frightening to me?”
A shared moral code is one of the hallmarks of long term relationships. Even though the two of you are voting for different sides, you may continue to have similar beliefs. It may be that you simply view different paths to get to your shared goals.
Jeannette York, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Burbank, CA 818 200 9513
My favorite quote on forgiveness , “Mistakes are always forgivable if
they are admitted”. ( Bruce Lee). When you find yourself in the
position of apologizing to you partner, remember to acknowledge
are apologizing for. Never say, ” I am sorry you got hurt”, or ” I know
you are sensitive”. Those are neither sincere or believable. Be direct
and say, ” I am sorry that I forgot to pick you up for work and you
stood out in the rain, that must have been miserable”. It doesn’t
matter whether your actions were accidental. The important
piece is that your partner got hurt.
In my practice, I have seen on several occasions instances in which an older sister will try to undermine her younger brother’s romantic relationships . Sometimes this can show itself by rudeness whenever the girlfriend or wife is around. Or it can begin when there are family events planned and the wife or girlfriend is not included.
This often happens in families in which the sister at some time in the brother’s childhood was made to take a maternal role due to the mother’s death or illness or even neglect. In this family dynamic the younger brother is never seen as grown up whether he is 19 or 49, the sister assumes she knows best. She has taken on the role as her brother’s protector even when he has long outgrown the need of a protector.
Often the brother feels torn between his girlfriend and his sister and family members. Even though he know that he should stand up for her and let his family know that his romantic choices are his alone to make, this may not be behavior that he is used to. However it is important for the family to be told that they must be cordial and polite and inclusive of the brother’s wife or girlfriend. Once they know that he is going to stand up to them, most often they will back down and start the acceptance process. In the mean time, its important the the wife/girlfriend understand that the behavior was not meant to be malicious but simply was a way to protect the “little brother” of the family.
In my private practice in Burbank, Ca, I often hear couple’s complaining that their partner will no longer have sex with them. For some couple’s this time of no sex can last for months or even years. The partner who is no longer interested is often the female in the relationship, but not always. About 15% of the time it is the male.
Research shows that touch, hugs, kisses and sexual intercourse are important components in keeping couples emotionally close. When sex seems to have gone away, I advise couples to continue to shower together, to give each other massages and back rubs. When sitting on the sofa watching television, make it a point to touch. Stay connected to each other’s bodies even if intercourse is not happening. This will go a long way in protecting your relationship over the “dry” spells.
Jeannette York, LMFT 818.200.9513
Contact Jeannette York, LMFT for premarital counseling. (818.200.9513) Topics included are money, parenting, traditions, religion, sex, families, finances, Facebook, and other topics that the couple determines are important.
The word Co-Dependent gets thrown around quite a bit these days. Often we hear about parents and Adult children in co-dependent relationships. The definition of co-dependence is excessive emotional dependence on another person. The part of the word that is “Co” is that the excessive dependence goes both ways but shows itself in different forms but really two sides of the same coin.
For example, a husband is dictated to by his wife. She demands to know where he is going at all times and where he is at all times. The wife controls the husbands where bouts and controls the money in the relationship. Sounds sad for the husband, right? The Co dependency comes in when the husband begins to ask the wife when and if he can go certain places or he “sneaks out” like a little boy. This couple has entered into a relationship in which the husband on some level is dependent on the wife to manage his life and the wife is emotionally dependent on the husband to behave like a son (child) and not a grown man. In healthy adult relationships, adults do not tell adults what to do.
There are families that for whatever reason are unkind to new people. It may be a culture of suspicion or jealousy. Its also that its possible that the family considers itself a closed system and “outsiders” are not welcome.
Most people want to introduce a new important person to their family. It cannot be shocking and embarrassing when a parent or sibling behaves rudely or ignores the introduction. The first course of action is to apologize to your sweetheart. Do not act like the behavior is acceptable or not happening. The next step is to leave. The new person in your life should subjected to your family’s rudeness.
When you are alone with your family members, ask them gently what was behind their behavior? Explain that you are hurt by it and want to understand. If it continues, tell your family that you will no longer bring new people in your life around for them to meet.
If possible, family counseling would be very beneficial to help you and your family understand the unspoken dynamic around “outsiders”.
Recently I have had several clients who express confusion when someone they have dated simply” disappears.” They are no longer calling, emailing or in contact in anyway. Sometimes in worst case scenarios the person has blocked them from their Facebook and other social media accounts. The utter confusion is that this is done without a conversation or hint that things are not going well.
I have found that it seems to happen more to women than to men. The first thought is to check and see if something happened such as an accident or family emergency. When it proves that that is not the case, then the pain and confusion sets in. The best course of action if you are ever ghosted by a past sweetheart is to make one phone call. Not a text and not an email. Call this person and express your concern and wish to have a conversation about what has happened. If the person does not return your call, then do not call again. Assume that you have been in a relationship with a coward who cannot handle looking you in your eyes and explaining what is happening in their heart and mind. If you continue to try and contact them, most likely they will distance further. If you are able to wait and be patient there is a high likely hood that they will contact you eventually.
So you are a bleeding heart liberal and your sweetheart is die hard conservative. Can this relationship work? YES! But each of you must practice, civility, patience, respect and self control.
There is no reason to argue every policy with your sweetheart. Save those political debates for friends and family. Pick you battles with your partner, when it comes to your differing views. Isn’t that what you do anyway? When two people love one another, they look for ways to connect.
Studies show that conflicting religious beliefs are harder to overcome than conflicting political views. However if a couple is on the opposite side of the fence on both these issues, all is not lost. Be curious about what your partner thinks and believes without trying to talk them out of it. Be respectful and always use humor. Keep in the forefront that your relationship is what is important.