Focusing on the “pair” in “repair”

A new couple, Anna and Thomas,* is in my office, sitting as far away from each other as they can on the couch. Anna is silently crying as she wads a piece of Kleenex between her fingers. Her husband Thomas is talking about an escalated argument they’d had that morning. “I hate it when she…

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It begins with a secret

It begins with a secret. You start to think that you are unhappy in your relationship, and you keep that knowledge close to your private heart. You are unhappy in your relationship, and you keep getting proof of it. Your partner just isn’t meeting your needs. You’re unhappy. Look – there they go again, doing…

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On setting boundaries

 I found a turtle up on the hill behind my house the other day and it made sense. My talk with many of my clients recently had been around boundaries, you see, so it made total sense that I would happen to find a turtle. At least that’s what I told myself as I walked…

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A Valentine’s Day tale

Once upon a time there was a couple. Let’s call them Andrea and John. They fell in love after meeting online. They had both had previous relationships that hadn’t worked out, and had been looking for each other. As soon as they met, it felt right, even fated. Andrea appreciated the obvious cherishing coming from…

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I hear you. I see you. I am here for you.

I hear you. I see you. I am here for you. Do you long to hear those words from your partner? Maybe you haven’t truly heard them in a long time. Maybe they have gotten covered up by all the stuff that couples have to juggle these days – children, household tasks, jobs, aging parents,…

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The gifts my clients give me

You may not realize this, but every time you come in to see me, you give me a gift. I have quite a collection of them now.  Let me open a few with you so you can see some of their contents. Here’s a long flat box I’m pulling from the bottom of the stack.…

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Fine fall day – a reflection

It’s a fine fall day. The sun, although low in the sky, is warm enough to be felt through my down jacket as I scuff through the damp leaves, my old dog pulling back to sniff at the detritus. I look back at her and see her brown eyes meeting mine, her lovely face grizzled…

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Dear Liz…

Dear Liz,* Please help me. I am so frustrated. My partner and I seem to be stuck in this awful pattern whenever we argue. I’ll bring something up that’s an issue with me – honestly, it doesn’t seem to matter what it is. No matter how I try to word it, no matter my tone,…

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Avoiding conflict in a relationship

9-10-18 She is sitting on the couch in my office with her eyes downcast. Her husband is doing the same.* They are both silent. I repeat my question. “How do you bring up a potentially conflictual issue with each other?” They look at each other. They tell me that they don’t really bring up issues.…

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