Anger Management During Shutdown (Video Ideas and Suggestions)

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Anger Management While Staying Home: How to Help Yourself, and Help Others

Cabin fever, anxiety, fear, powerlessness…all are part of the coronavirus and subsequent shutdown experience right now. You’ve probably felt more than one of these at a time, or maybe they go back and forth from day to day. Either way, you and your loved ones are all dealing with these things, and getting angry is going to do more damage than need be right now.

If you’re home, you’re probably feeling cooped up, and chances are that if there are others in your household (or not), you’re getting irritable, angry and triggered by things you may not have before. Thresholds are lower automatically, so people aren’t acting their usual selves anymore right now.

If you’re quick to trigger with others, and find yourself saying and doing things that you’re regretting, read on.

Here are some tips and strategies to think about when you’re shut down for, well, God knows how long these days. Good anger management skills can go a long way in preventing conflict and preserving the harmony in your household.

  • Exercise regularly as best as you can: Get out for regular walks to shed some of your energy. Try light jogging or fast walking, if you’re not used to that typically, or just get out to get some nature and sunshine in, especially if you’re in Phoenix right now where the weather is ideal.
  • Eat regularly to prevent mood swings, so you’re not acting out of “hanger” when you don’t mean to.
  • Try taking a hot shower, and processing your feelings in the shower. Sometimes, the feelings will cool and process better while in there.
  • Or, try taking a car ride, if you need to leave the scene for a while. Music can also facilitate getting out some frustration and angry energy.

As far as dealing with others in your household, here are some other things to think about. You’re going to be cooped up here for a while, and you and yours (kids included) aren’t used to spending nearly this amount of time together in a confined space.

People are going to get incited, so think about yourself, and how you’re showing up with your family or significant other in terms of overall family harmony. Are you angry and contributing to the overall negative energy in your space or household? Might people be reacting to your negativity, anger or irritability.

Think about these things:

  • Know what triggers you to anger or frustration: try naming them to yourself first
    • What are your “hot spots”? Can you write them down, and maybe share them with your spouse/significant other?
    • How can you communicate this to those that might trigger them (knowing or unknowingly) in a healthy and productive way?
    • What are your partner’s triggers, and how can you work to identify them, and work around them so as to not trigger them
    • Can you have a productive conversation about those together?
  • Get in touch with what’s making you irritable
    • Ask yourself if you’re upset with someone, or something: what is it, exactly?
    • Watch for self-blame or the negative self-critic
    • What else would you be feeling underneath your anger? Powerlessness? Fear? Anxiety?
    • Can you talk about those feelings instead of resorting to anger or frustration?
  • Try communicating your feelings, needs and what you want from the other person, rather than attack them and leave them wanting to get defensive with you.
  • Watch the need to lash out, blame or attack those in your line of sight. They are probably innocent bystanders, or at least deserve a better way for you to engage with them. This is especially true with your kids if they’re driving you crazy.
  • Try talking out your irritability with your spouse, significant other, roommate, or call a friend who can listen. Yes, people are using the phone again now!
  • Journal out your feelings and irritability
    • Use a voice app to allow yourself to speak as quickly as you’re thinking
    • Get out the feelings into your phone, while you’re feeling them
  • Try online yoga while you’re at home: go to YouTube, or find studios in your area that are offering online classes now.
  • Try deep breathing or progressive relaxation exercises: there are plenty of good resources out there to instruct you online.

Other anger management ideas to consider about your situation in general:

  • Understand that everyone is feeling similarly now as you do: Your feelings are normal, so let them in and don’t push them away. When you push them away, they gain in strength. When you welcome them in and deal with them, they lose their power over you. Learn how to move into them rather than constantly push them away, or shut off from them.
  • Men often feel depressed, or powerless, and get angry as a result, because anger is more empowering than the other feelings. Know this, and consider your situation and what else you might be feeling underneath (“primary” emotions versus the secondary emotion of anger)
  • Communicate to your significant other, especially if they’re the focus of your anger or your frustration, that you’re angry but that you’ll be back to talk. Don’t just leave without letting them know you’ll be back, or else you might trigger their anxiety or abandonment issues

Dealing with anger, or anger management skill building, is as important now as it is when you’re not in shutdown mode. Pick one or two of these things, and commit to practicing them this week. Look out for your triggers, and know them beforehand, so you’re not caught off guard when they appear.

What are your specific triggers, and how do you deal or cope when they happen?

Are you dealing with other things as well as anger? See our services page, and you might pick other things you’d like to deal with. You can call us directly if you’re dealing with anger and think you might need some help.

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Dealing with Depression and Loneliness During the Shutdown

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Money Issues + COVID-19: What To Consider About Your Finances and Your Mental Health

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How to Survive (And Kind of Thrive) at Home Under Lockdown, Without Losing Your Marbles: Stay Home Strategies for COVID-19 Living

So, it’s 2020, and the whole world is under shelter in place or quarantine due to a pandemic. Did you ever think we would find ourselves in this position in a million years? It’s Twilight Zone time.

Now that we’ve been stuck in place for a couple of weeks, I hope you all are adjusting and learning how to create a life under quarantine.No, it’s far from an ideal situation, but I think that there are some things that you can do to create structure and get through the time as best as possible for yourself, and those living with you.

I’m going to go through some suggestions, ranging from financial, to emotional/psychological, to lockdown marriage tips, to self-care, including how to alleviate inevitable boredom that’s probably showed up in the first week.

As far as the financial front goes, I hope you’ve been able to keep your job. A lot of people have been able to, but many have suffered furloughs or income losses. Fear, anxiety, and panic around money are completely understandable in this situation, and you may experience all of those things at different times, or all at once. As of April 7th, I’ve settled down a lot, and have gotten into a consistent emotional rhythm, although still feeling powerless as to know what’s to come tomorrow, or the day after that.

It’s important to recognize the emotions and irrational thinking that we may succumb to, and make those different from the practical steps that we can take now. You don’t want to act on those emotions, or irrational thinking, as to make a misstep.

First, being clear and communicative with your spouse is a very good first step (or anyone else living in your household under lockdown). If you need to communicate with others, such as service providers like your financial advisor, your boss, or your mortgage lender, those things are probably appropriate at this time too. Make a list of the people, services and utilities that you want to communicate with, and follow up and contact them.

If you’re afraid and there’s a reality that you may not have enough money, I would really initiate those conversations now if you are needing help from those individuals or service providers. Don’t stick your head in the sand and not do anything.

Those conversations may be difficult, because you may not be used to asking for help, or you may be scared that you would be told ‘no’. It’s important to have those conversations early and now, because we don’t know how long the shutdown will last, and we don’t know if the things that you’re needing from those people may still be available in a couple of months, when it comes to financial help or loans (like loans, deferment, grants, etc., depending on your situation). Get on the same page with your spouse or your significant other about what actions you’re taking before you do them, and follow up after you’ve done them so you’re working as a team together and no one feels left out.

With your spouse, or if you’re single, I would sketch out a quick budget, and look at your major expenses such as rent/mortgage, student loan, car payments, outstanding credit card debt, taxes, retirement, child care or expenses, or any other major expenditures that you need to worry about, and get them down on paper or in a good budget software. Come up with a plan where both of you get on the same page, so that you know what you’re doing and that you have a strategy in terms of payment or other options like deferral, etc. Know what each other is thinking and doing, and you’ll get things done and have less marriage stress at the same time.

Also, take a look at your day-to-day spending, and decide what you want to keep going, and where can you cut some corners (e.g. eating out, gym membership, movies, entertainment, etc.). We know food, gas, and utilities are essential items, but since you have some memberships either online or in person, can you cut out some of those just for the time being? Will that help with your cash flow so that you can move through the shut down with a little more ease and less stress?

As far as the emotional/psychological level goes, how are you dealing with your own emotions and thoughts? Are you aware of some of the negative or irrational thoughts that are coming up for you? Have you really stopped to think to yourself, “ What am I feeling about all this right now? How is that changing from me from day to day, or hour to hour? Are certain feelings tending to come up more than others for me?” Take stock, so as to know where’s your coming from emotionally.

As I said earlier, it’s completely understandable to have every emotion under the sun right now: fear, anxiety, panic, terror, worry, sadness, depression, loneliness, boredom and general dis-ease. You’re worried about yourself, your well-being, the well-being of your family and loved ones, as well as for those suffering around the country and world right now. Maybe people are doing worse than you are, but you’re still scared about the outcome of all this, not just for COVID-19, but for the economic health of the country.

The greatest thing that you can do for yourself, and those around you, is to recognize your emotions, put a name on them, and learn how to sit with them instead of running from them.

You can do this anywhere at any time, but if you sit in meditation, this can also help you get more in touch. Also, talking it out with someone at home, or with a therapist like myself, can also help you to clarify your feelings and emotions, and help you work through them so you don’t have to stay stuck in them. Your emotional state may go up-and-down like several roller coaster loops, as most peoples’ are right now. Just recognize that will probably happen, and just see them as a normal part of this very difficult time. Emotions come and go, but actually stopping to have them will allow them to come-and-go faster and with less “blockage.”

You may also have irrational thoughts or beliefs about all of the situations that are happening now with respect to the COVID-19 virus. It may help to not consume as much news, or dial it down a little bit, as well as take the necessary precautions you need to feel safe, like wearing a mask, gloves, washing your hands, and staying six feet away from others when out food shopping. Watch your paranoia or compulsive thinking that may be irrational, that may not be grounded in reality and in the here and now. Identify the fear that might underlie your irrational thinking, and contact that place in your body physically and sit with it.

It will probably also help you to not speculate about the future, in terms of things getting worse or scenarios that may happen that we don’t know if we will or not. All of us also don’t know what’s to come, whether it means with the economy, the virus outbreak, spread and curve flattening, or finding a cure, so save your mental energy and not expend it on fearful scenarios that may not come true.

You also may have some old stuff/issues coming up for you, from growing up or from your past. This is normal, as well. There may be adjacent issues that you may or may not have addressed, which were underneath some of the feelings that are being brought up with Covid.

Maybe they’re the relationship issues between you and your significant other, but are now coming to the forefront under quarantine, or maybe you have money issues that you may want to talk through or deal with, now that they’ve come to the forefront. Maybe you didn’t have the support you needed from your parents or caregivers, and this situation is more difficult for you. Whatever it is, trust that experience, and allow yourself to acknowledge it and deal with it if you can.

As far as things in your relationship or marriage, communication is key. It’s going to be difficult to be stuck in the same place with your significant other for a long period of time, especially when you may be used to going to work or having your own personal space. It may be even harder if you have kids, because you have many of you in the same house 24/7. You’ll get stir-crazy, and irritable, and tempers may flare over smaller things left and right.

I think practicing tolerance and patience is also a good idea. Things that would generally bug you, you have to weigh out whether or not you need to say something to your significant other or spouse, or let it go. Things are definitely going to come up now that you are with each other under the same roof all the time.

For men, it’s typical that they withdraw or pull away from their spouse and the issues that come between them. A lot of guys typically don’t deal with issues because they don’t want to start a fight, or are conflict avoidant.

There may be no way out of conflict at this point, because you’re together all of the time. Learning proper communication, conflict strategies, and active listening will help you and your spouse or significant other, and we can address those in another blog post and video here shortly. If you have a hard time with conflict, or asserting yourself, now may be the right time to start practicing it, even in little ways that might help you and your household.

Also, watch the tendency to drink too much, eat too much, or generally just fall into negative behaviors that might end up getting you into a negative routine, or may end up harming your relationship in someway.

I know more way more people are drinking now, a lot more than before, smoking more weed, binge eating, and generally just letting things go.

I understand the need for hedonism, when the rules have been thrown out for everyone, but it’s also important to feel good and healthy, so that you don’t end up deteriorating in other ways, like in your relationship, mental health, work, etc.

Basic self care will also go a long way to help you, and those living with you. Eating right, getting the right and adequate sleep, keeping a structure, getting outside and into nature, and regular exercise (even walking/jogging outside a couple of times a week), will go a long way, both for you and those you’re living with.

It helps me to wake up at the same time, shower, and eat breakfast, all things that help me create the consistent structure that I would have had if things were normal. It gives me the sense of purpose for the day if I try to keep it as close to normal, and is a form of self-care to me.

You may want to try some online exercise, such as with a stationery bike or yoga. Maybe you can find some dumbbells from NextDoor or Craigslist, and have a cheapish workout right in your home.

Taking time to spend with your kids in a quality way is also important, because they’re bound to remember this time as a good time if they know you’re there and wanting to spend time with them.

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Online Therapy in Phoenix During COVID-19 Shutdown

Phoenix Men’s Counseling is now offering online therapy in Phoenix, over secure video conferencing through our practice management software Simple Practice. We invite you to consider online therapy as an option to in-person therapy during your time under shelter-in-place, in your home or other location.

We care about you and your family’s health during this very difficult time. We know that just because we can’t see each other in person, we still would like to help you get through these tough times, and get you back a little bit of the optimism and good feelings you had before everything was upended with COVID-19.

Many people have never tried getting counseling or therapy before, let alone doing video counseling. In fact, as the business owner, I can tell you that I only did video sessions a few times in the past. But in the last two weeks, I have really come to see it as an essential alternative to not having therapy at all. It does create the same “therapy feeling” you’d like as an in-person session, although over video. 

You might be skittish about it, and just say you’ll ride out the quarantine or shelter-in-place. You might even just tell yourself you’d rather wait until we’re able to see you in person. But, can you afford to? Are issues starting to come up now in your home? Just because you may be at home in place, stuck in your house with your family for an undetermined period of time, doesn’t mean that issues won’t come up. This would be a perfect time to try online therapy in Phoenix.

You may be experiencing marital issues, that might get worse under being stuck together for an indeterminate time. You may not actually be able to recognize that you have relationship or marital issues until you get stuck living in the same house 24/7 with someone, and you’re forced to confront them.

There’s a lot that could happen in the course of weeks, or even months, under shelter-in-place. You and your significant other, partner, or spouse will inevitably run into some conflicts, squabbles, or just general communication issues, of varying degree. Online therapy in Phoenix with us can definitely help you with that, and to prevent conflicts from flaring up and becoming unmanageable.

We can help work with you to develop better communication skills, so that you can navigate the space and the time more effectively, and more productively. 

We can help you and your significant other work on identifying challenging conflict cycles, so that you can learn to reduce them in a lot less time. It would get really uncomfortable if you and your significant other are used to not talking, or spending time apart, when you are in conflict right now, considering the fact that you’re so close in proximity and can’t go anywhere. For guys who are used to leaving and withdrawing, there’s nowhere to go now.

If you are not partnered or single, you may be experiencing loneliness as a result of being shut in or stuck in place. It’s a perfectly normal response, and most everyone that we talk with these days is experiencing some kind of loneliness or fear as a result of dealing with the coronavirus and its effects. You’re not alone. 

Online therapy can help in this way, because it can help you cope and deal with your negative emotions in a more appropriate and productive way, rather than just going to the tried-and-true coping methods of video games, drinking, eating, smoking pot or getting into other bad habits at home. Why make a bad situation worse, especially if you’re hearing it from others in your space?

You may also feel like you’re starting to lose your mind if you have a lot of people in your household, like your kids. You may just be trying to work your regular day at home, and may continually be feeling imposed upon by people who are also stuck at home with you. Your kids probably aren’t going back to school this school year, so a little stress management learning wouldn’t hurt right about now.

Most Phoenicians are dealing with fear, worry, anxiety, and stress, about their family and their families’ well-being, about their parents, about the economy and the plunging stock market, and about the security of their jobs. People are worried about other people. These are no small things, and we can help you manage more effectively while we go through this time together. 

Since many of the traditional stress management outlets are now closed or not working, such as the gym, massage studios, or just getting together in person for a happy hour, online therapy may be a good alternative to help you take care of yourself during this shut down and tough time. It’s an hour that you can relax and be good to yourself.

If you’ve made excuses to avoid therapy, now is the time to try it. We work with a lot of first time therapy clients, and we would like to work with you. If your life has slowed down considerably due to the coronavirus outbreak and sequester, there is no excuse to put it off anymore if you’re struggling.

Book an online appointment through our scheduling software, and we’ll send you a link to your first video session. If you’re not sure, give Jason a call, and he’ll answer any questions that you might have about the process. 

We wish you good health, security for your family, friends and work, and good mental health. We’re in this together.

Jason Fierstein

Owner, Phoenix Men’s Counseling

Phoenix, AZ

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Emotional “Gold Diggers”: Men Without Emotional Support Burdening Women

I read this interesting article this week in Bazaar magazine, which talks about the unfair emotional load that women carry from men. In it, it identifies this idea of an “emotional gold digger”, something that was coined in 2006, and speaks to the fact that men tend to over rely on women for their own emotional needs, at the expense of women.

I thought this was right on. The article seemed to imply that in this post-“me too“ era, it’s women that are becoming hyperaware of how they are being taken advantage of and used by the male partners, in this case emotionally.

Women And Emotional Caretaking of Men

The idea is that women are working too hard to support men emotionally, because men have not learned the skills to help identify their emotions, talk about them, or work through them. It also talks about how men have failed to seek out therapy, usually opting to stuff their emotions or “handle it themselves.” It makes sense that women become mens’ therapists, adding another job that women may feel obligation or guilt around doing.

I also think also contributes to a lack of sex generally, as intimacy has plummeted among certain demographics, such as millennials. I think when women feel that the disproportionate burden or responsibility of caretaking their children, working, cleaning, and meeting their spouses needs, they end up feeling drained. For women, sexual connection is highly related to emotional connection, and if they feel burdened by their partners emotional needs, this will also have an effect. Lack of sex creates other problems, such as men emotionally withdrawing, and this ends up in a vicious cycle.

The author points out that “most of the women I spoke to for this piece believe that their ego and self worth or off and wrapped up in being a man’s crutch. But the older women get, the less willing they seem to be a man’s everything…”

Men and Friendships

The problem that is pointed out is that men have not only failed to deal with their emotional needs, but have also failed to develop friendships that could take off some of the burden from their relationship partners.

I do think that this is accurate, because a lot of men that I talk with in therapy have a hard time keeping and maintaining male friendships.

After one’s 20s and 30s, when life really settles in, including work, family, etc., a lot of guys lose touch or don’t have the staying power to keep friendships going. Also, male friendships typically revolve around external things such as sports, drinking, children, or hobbies. It’s not typical for men to connect emotionally with other men, usually due to the fear or the stigma of doing so, but I think that there is a huge amount of untapped value in this.

I do think men are being challenged in a number of ways now, and if you have the emotional skillset to be able to know how to navigate these newly charted waters these days, you’re setting yourself up for a better life in many ways: in relationships, in work, in self-esteem, and in navigating the world in a more confident way.

I have personally valued the male friendships over the years that have been emotionally connective, and had allowed me to be myself, sometimes being vulnerable with other guys. I never really felt the stigma of this, but I have run into plenty of walls with other guys who cannot go there themselves. It is limiting, but I do really value that aspect of my friendships, and I do think that men generally could benefit from taking the risk and either deepening existing relationships or creating new ones with guys that they could connect with in an emotional way.

I think that developing these friendships, even if they’re not emotionally-based, does take some of the burden off of your primary relationship partner.

An Emotional Burden on Marriage

With all of that burden, what typically happens is that women end up feeling resentful towards their spouses or partners, and this affects their relationship in a number of ways. I mention sex earlier, and sex could definitely take a hit if there is built up resentment, or a sense of duty that women are carrying that spills out into other parts of their relationship.

I think it could also set up this parent-child dynamic, where the wife or girlfriend ends up turning into the parent, by taking care of all of their boyfriend or husband’s needs. The man, in this case, ends up turning into the “child.“ I think this has very negative effects on one’s marriage, as well, including relationship codependency, taking your wife for granted, resentment, and other problems.

Breaking the stigma that emotions are in the realm of women needs to be the first step in terms of dealing directly with men’s emotional lives. Taking responsibility for them, which often involves getting therapy, is another step. Finding other sources of emotional support, such as siblings, friends, or others, is another.

I do think younger men are destigmatizing therapy, and are coming in and working on and taking responsibility for a lot of their personal issues. This will definitely help alleviate the undue burden that is put on their partner.

Until men can start to take more responsibility for their emotional lives, and women allow them to do that, the problem of emotional burdening or gold digging will continue.

What do you think? Has this been an issue for you in your relationships? Do you know others who have dealt with this?

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Better Ways To Be Emotionally Available For Men

Would you consider yourself emotionally available? Would your relationship partners consider you in the same way?

If I had to rate the most important aspect a relationship for guys, that I think that they could improve upon, it would be to learn how to be more emotionally available to others, especially to their relationship partners.

I know other people (including therapists) might disagree, and name such things as communication skills, more quality time, or more physical or sexual connection, but I think that the ability to be emotionally available goes a very long way in terms of things like connection, repairing old wounds, having a closer relationship, and preventing problems from arising in the first place.

I think those other qualities are certainly important, yes, but if you don’t have emotional availability, none of those things are going to be maximized.

Men and Emotional Difficulties

Being emotionally available is really difficult for most guys that I talk with. I think to be emotionally available means several things, including learning how to be more vulnerable, learning how to be more self-aware about what you’re feeling when you’re feeling it, and being able to stay present with those emotions, even when they’re difficult. It also means to be able to bring those emotions back into the relationship to improve it, by communicating them and sharing them with your partner.

I think the mistake that men make when they talk about emotional availability is that they think it means to be tearful or to cry. Although I think that, too, is difficult for guys, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re emotionally available. Plenty of guys can cry at a movie; being emotionally available is something bigger.

Developing Emotional Availability

To begin, you have to identify what you are feeling at the time you’re feeling it.

A lot of guys don’t really have a clue about what their emotions are, because they’re too stuck in their heads and try to orient themselves to relationship problems with the kind of strategies that they use for work, which include figuring out solutions to problems, solving them, and working through things logically.

That’s all headwork, ways to thing and logical orientations. Dealing with emotions is a different skill, that you can also learn over time the more you expose yourself to your emotions.

Relationships and marriages simply don’t always work with the logical/headwork orientation that guys think they will. Relationships and marriages need a different way of orienting, and learning how to tap into your emotions is the key.

Through better self-awareness, you can learn how to recognize, name, and communicate the emotions that you’re feeling. If you’re used to being in your head and thinking about things logically, don’t beat yourself up if this is difficult for you.

Learning how to express your emotions is a skill, which takes time and effort. A lot of times, therapy can help you identify those things, when you’re having trouble doing so yourself.

Emotions vs. Thoughts: The Differences

Many times, emotions are stored physically, within one’s body, and often times they don’t really have to do with anything that’s in your head, such as thinking about things. In fact, thoughts can often times get in the way of feeling. Just put it this way: if you’re thinking about something, you’re not feeling it, and if you’re feeling it, you’re not thinking about it. Make sense?

Learning how do identify and name those emotions is the first critical step. You can ask yourself: “am I feeling sad today? Scared? Inadequate?”

“Positive” vs. “Negative” Emotions

Do you know how to recognize positive emotions? Sometimes the positive emotions are a lot easier to recognize and to talk about, rather than the so-called “negative” emotions, or the more difficult emotions. Bottom line: emotions are just emotions, neither good nor bad. When you judge them either way, you cling or avoid, and the “negative” emotions often get pushed away or not dealt with, accumulating over years or lifetimes without ever being dealt with.

Once you started to identify your emotions, it’s then time to start to develop self-awareness by exploring them through curiosity. If you’re used to running from your emotions, you may want to stop and not run anymore, but try to explore your emotions with more interest, rather than avoidance.

The more you can stay with your negative feelings, the more tolerance you will be building up, and the more likely you will be too able to communicate those emotions to someone else, such as your partner.

Taking Risk to Share Your Emotions with Others

Once you’ve started to identify, understand and connect with your emotions, it’s time to start to take the risk to start to share them with your loved ones, including your relationship partner.

What holds us back from sharing our emotions, which is the essence of emotional availability, is often times fear, of being criticized, of being rejected, of not being loved and cared for despite what we’re feeling.

Sometimes, we’re afraid that our partner won’t take kindly to the feelings that we’re having, especially if those feelings are negative and they have to do with your partner and your relationship. Those are indeed the times to take the risk and share, because if you don’t, you don’t get your emotions off of your chest, and you run the risk of never working through the problems that brought on your feelings.

Taking the risk to share and be more emotionally available, whether it has to do with feelings about your relationship, feelings about yourself and your life, or any other way to express vulnerability, takes time and practice. Again, this is a skill, but it’s a skill that requires practice and repeated efforts. You’ll start to feel better, and hopefully, you’ll start to achieve the kind of relationship that you’re striving for.

What’s worked for you? Do you consider yourself emotionally available as a partner? What would your partner (or previous partners) say about you?

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So, You’re Not Having Sex?

A lot is being made in the media of how Americans having sex is dwindling. At first, I couldn’t make out really what was happening, and just wrote this off to a media spectacle, but the share of US adults reporting that they have not had sex in the last year has reached an all-time high in 2018. I found this article to be interesting.

Although lack of sex is attributed to the baby boomers and aging, researchers were also looking at the lack of sex driven by younger people. Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University, said that the sexlessness attributed to millennials is related to the fact that they partner up later in life. She says the people in their 20s who don’t have a live-in partner will have less sex.

Why Less Sex?

What I found interesting was that since 2008, the share of young men under 30 reporting no sex had tripled.

One of the reasons attributed to this is for lack of workforce participation. After the last recession, men, and particularly young man, have fallen out of the job force, and researchers see the connection between that and lack of stable relationships.

The heavy use of digital technology, such as social media, and especially online porn, are also two other reasons.

I think there’s a perfect storm happening, in that a lot of men, especially young men, lack the skills and abilities to have a successful relationship, or even know how to date. They get a lot of their messages from porn or from other friends using porn, so that’s what they think it’s like to have sex, which is it not. Real sex is different from porn sex, but the line between the two blurs with increased use. A lot of men think that they need to act like porn stars to satisfy their partner, who is often not satisfied in this way because they might be lacking the emotional connection needed for women.

Sexual Energy: For Porn or For Real Sex

Another idea is that we only have so much sexual energy, and if guys are using this for masturbation and porn, that energy is not going towards the real sexual relationships in one’s life. When I talk with guys in therapy, they tend to get some or all of their sexual release from either porn, or masturbation, or both, so there’s not as much left at the end of the day to have a sexual encounter with their partner. What happens is that we end up having less real sex.

A lot of guys also have intimacy issues that have to do with emotional intimacy difficulties, which can often translate into sexual difficulties in the bedroom. Identifying those emotional intimacy issues and working on them can also lead to a more fulfilling sex life, which is something that guys often underestimate in its ability to produce a fulfilling sex life.

Feelings can also be repressed, and if you’re storing negative feelings towards your partner, without acknowledging them and communicating them, you’re setting yourself up to withdraw from your partner and break the connection and bond that you share. Dealing with those feelings might “reset” you and help you plug back in to the relationship, and to sex.

Working through sexual blocks is nothing to be ashamed about, because everyone has them. Sex brings up a lot of our unconscious stuff, so if you want a more fulfilling relationship, it’s worth working on those things, rather than retreating and hiding in porn or masturbation.

If you can work through some of those blocks, you would be able to have a more for filling sex life. A lot of times, we have had negative sexual experiences growing up, and haven’t been taught much about sex, because our caregivers or parents never had “the conversation” with us, and didn’t give men what they needed to thrive sexually. Also, awkward sexual experiences can leave imprints on us in adult life, which negatively affect one’s ability to have a healthy sexual life.

There are a lot of factors involved in a sex life that has diminished. Looking at the wide variety of factors, if you want a healthy, mutually enhancing sex life, is important, because what you don’t know could be hindering your success.

Posted in Sex Therapy | Leave a comment

How to Deal with Losing a Relationship or Marriage

There are several things involved when it comes to talking about how to deal with the loss of a relationship, whether it’s a friendship, a dating relationship, or your marriage.

I’m not gonna say it’s easy, or that it doesn’t take that long, because neither are true. If you are invested in the person emotionally or otherwise, there are things that you will have to deal with after the relationship has ended that will be uncomfortable, and probably new to you.

I tend to see the loss of a relationship in similar terms to losing someone through death. I see relationships or marriage in the same physical terms that we see our loved ones or those close to us when they end. A relationship or a marriage was once lively and vital, in the same way that people are, but can also die out and lose their strength and vitality over time, and end.

I think the most important thing to know about how to deal with losing a relationship is that relationships do end, whether or not we had anything to do with the end of them or the downfall. It is a part of life, even if we don’t want it that way and reject it when it happens to us.

It’s taken me many years to really appreciate that people in our lives do come and go, and some stay longer than others. I’ve started to learn this as I’ve gotten older, which has helped me to see things in a greater perspective and not cling as tightly to people, especially when they’re not emotionally available or if they’re not providing what I need for a for a fulfilling relationship.

Relationships do end, and a lot of the hardship that we experience comes from the clinging in the attachment that we have had to the person or to the relationship as it was. In Buddhist terms, this is suffering, and the cessation of suffering would come from learning how to work through the difficult and painful emotions that keep you attached, to eventually learn to let go and grieve, and then heal.

Considering that idea, it’s necessary to be realistic and to know that there will be some time and attention needed on your part to work through that difficult process of grief. And it is a process of grief. Just like I had mentioned earlier, losing a relationship is like losing a physical person. It is a process that needs attention and that takes time.

Usually what delays the grieving process is that we hold on in some way or another, and can’t or don’t want to let go of the person, the relationship, or the way things used to be when you were in a better place with the person.

A lot of the times, we’re holding on to the person as they were in the past, or as the relationship was in the past. Sometimes the person, the relationship, or yourself have changed, which have created a different type of relationship that has come to an end. The loss of relationship has happened, but you haven’t accepted it.

A lot of the holding on part can come from holding onto those positive memories, or to wishing or hoping that the relationship would be different in ways that you would want.

It can also mean that you’re holding on waiting for the other person to change, or to shift backward into the place that they used to be when you had met them and developed the relationship originally. For that matter, this is disillusionment, and it’s not seeing things as they truly are, which keeps people from not seeing things clearly as they need to be seen.

Allowing yourself the space to grieve is so important. Grief does not look the same from person to person, and even if you’re expecting certain things to happen, such as following closely the stages of grief, it probably won’t happen that way. It happens on it’s own, and the more you’re open to letting those emotions come through you and pass, the easier the process will be in the long run.

Trust your feelings, and when those difficult emotions come up, just let them come up without avoiding them, pushing them away, or over-intellectualizing them. The kinder you are to yourself and the more space you allow for those feelings to come up and work them selves through, the easier the grief process will be, even if it feels like it’ll never end.

Get support, and find meaningful and positive people in your life who you can talk with and share your feelings about your relationship loss or break up. Take care of yourself, do what you can to get through the day, get the right rest and diet going, and know that grief and the letting go process does take some time. Sometimes it even takes years to get through it completely.

What I wouldn’t do is get into indulging your whims with the other person by continually checking on them or wondering what they’re doing. Try to not stay on social media and troll them online, or continually check their profiles to see what they’re up to. It’s not gonna do you any good. Stop texting them and calling them, and you’ll be able to help yourself let go a little bit more easily. I know this is difficult to do, especially when the feelings are so strong at the end of her relationship, but it’s important to try to take the highroad.

Dealing with the loss of a close relationship or marriage is painful, long, and can seem like an eternal rollercoaster of different emotions. The more you avoid this process, and push it away, the longer the process will stay in place and not allow you to move on and heal. Think about some of the advice above, and see if you can consider any of it if you’re dealing with a loss now, or if you’ve had with one in the past where you haven’t dealt with it. It may still be lurking somewhere in the shadows, affecting your ability to open up and have the healthy kind of relationship that you deserve.

Posted in Marriage and Couples Counseling | 1 Comment