Browsing All posts tagged under »Marriage«

Fantasy vs. Reality in Long-Term Relationships

February 20, 2012 by


Well, I’ve talked myself out for the moment on the topic of mediation, but thought it might help us to take about 10 giant-“Mother-May-I” steps backwards–to the time when you looked at your to-be-spouse and saw only potential, positivity–and here’s the scary one–perfection. Have you ever found yourself believing your partner to be perfect, in […]

How In the WORLD Could This Work?: The Possibilities of Mediation (and How You Might Have Achieved Mental Illness Without Looking)

February 17, 2012 by


Julie came from a wealthy family–grew up with that proverbial silver spoon practically shoved down her throat. Were her parents thrilled when she met Jim, whose highest vocational training had occurred at McDonald’s and who had never owned or rented his own apartment–and then shared the news that the two would be married within a […]

“He’s MY Daddy:” Campaigning For Attention in the Blended Family: New Spouse vs. Children

February 12, 2012 by


To finish off this series on the blended family, let’s address what happens when the ones campaigning for attention of a certain parent are a child–and the new spouse. Look, let’s face it. Your child has very little cause to be invested in your new marriage. Either he’d like things to go back the way […]

The Triangle–What It Looks Like In Family Life

January 16, 2012 by


Molly is a difficult [in my more honest moments I think of her as nearly tyrannical] early adolescent, who makes her mother’s life a horror. She picks on Mom’s clothes, her hairstyle–the way she chews her toast in the morning. It seems little escapes Molly’s critical eye, despite the fact that her mother Marge has […]

All In the Family: The Triangle–In Theory

January 15, 2012 by


As you may have noticed from that genogram on the first post, family systems therapists are into shapes. A line, a squiggle, a square with an ‘X’ through it–these make our days. But the fundamental unit of relationship is that beautiful, potentially-pythagorean shape: the triangle. Of course, you might argue, isn’t the fundamental unit of […]

Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Changing the Ground Rules #1: Losing a Career

January 10, 2012 by


Before I leave the topic of issues to consider when you’re thinking of leaving your marriage, I wanted to bring up a few situations that make the decision to stay or go vastly more complicated. What happens in a marriage, and are you obligated to stay, when the very ground rules of that marriage have been […]

Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Changing the Ground Rules: Some Suggestions

January 9, 2012 by


What do you do when faced with a situation like Trish’s, where your partner loses a career and becomes a mere shadow of him or herself? Or one like Timothy’s, where your life’s mate morphs into someone you don’t know at all? Or one where you’ve become more a nurse-maid than a spouse? Of primary […]

Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Changing the Ground Rules #3: “I Changed My Mind,” ct’d

January 9, 2012 by


Well, your spouse pulled that old Mitt Romney, “I changed my mind” on you, and now you don’t even recognize your own marital territory. It’s hard–and my heart goes out to you. But before you make any decisions, I think you need to get over your righteous indignation. Yes, you’re right that it’s unfair–it really […]

Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Changing the Ground Rules #3: “I Changed My Mind”

January 9, 2012 by


Betty and Brian were devout atheists, and had been since they were teenagers. So when her Catholic family and his Jewish family protested about their marriage, they laughed at the small-mindedness of their parents and threw themselves a huge wedding bash. Lisa and Leon knew one thing for certain–they didn’t want children. It was nice […]

Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Changing the Ground Rules #2: Illness and Disability

January 9, 2012 by


Tamika and Timothy had an unusual arrangement, but it worked for them. Tamika, an open-heart surgeon, became quite successful, to the point where she was able to take only private pay patients. She surely brought home the bacon. And Timothy did the frying up in  the pan. He finished college with a degree in education, but never worked–they married […]

Should I Stay or Should I Go?: Low Conflict Marriages #2: So What’s Wrong?

January 9, 2012 by


Here’s a statistic from Dr. Paul Amato, sociologist at Penn State University, that I find staggering:  Around 55-60 percent of divorces occur in low-conflict marriages, where hollering is at a minimum, and arguments might even be quite rare. Dr. Amato calls these marriages “good enough” marriages, with the distinct implication that these relationships could be salvaged. So […]

All in the Family: “There’s Triangles All Over the Sky”

January 8, 2012 by


So triangles are fascinating enough when viewed as entities in themselves, say between Molly, Marge and Mark, or Sara Delano and Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, and much work can be done in breaking up triangulated relationships with a good family systems therapist. But in my mind triangles even further earn their keep when you can […]


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