New research shows marital strain affects men and women differently.
A crumbling marriage triggers signs of depression in both men and women. But it offers up a double whammy to women who, unlike men, may also experience high blood pressure, obesity and high blood sugar as a result of the marital strain, increasing their risk for heart disease, find University of Utah researchers.
An honest look at what can—and can't—improve because of couples therapy.
Going to couples therapy wasn’t something my boyfriend or I had to wrangle the other into. Our rough patch was more like a slick of black ice, and we were careening towards a precipitous ending. We had moved in together almost a year before, and couples therapy seemed easier than breaking up. It would at least buy us time to figure out how to split our belongings while I looked for my own place. I was scared, and didn’t know what to expect. Would she pit us against each other? Would she take my side or his? What if she liked him better than me?
Tantra true and false. Hint: it's not all about sex.
One of the misperceptions of the Tantra practice is that it inherently involves sex. Not so. The belief system is so much more about aspiring to a controlled state of mind than it is about sticking to specific rituals. Like so much of Buddhist and Hindu thought (to which Tantra is closely linked), at all times—including during sex—the goal is being present and "tuned in" to the moment. As one New York City Tantra guru told YourTango, her instruction can seem more like couples therapy than red-hot sex workshop. To start, she tells partners to place their hands on the others' hearts and describe the times they feel most loved or cherished by them. So, before taking it to the bedroom, try applying Tantra to other parts of your life and relationship—the results could be mind-blowing.
Foreplay maps identify the road less traveled as part of Oprah's 5-step plan for better sex.
Women don't come with directions and men seldom ask for them, so it should come as no surprise that sex therapist Dr. Laura Berman spent part of her recent Oprah appearance demonstrating how map-making may enhance a couple's love-making, as part of a five-step approach to better sex.
Here is an exercise you may want to try at home if you or your partner a) feel sexually unsatisfied or b) cringe and/or laugh upon hearing the word "penis."
Forget the prenup. Can your relationship benefit from a set of emotional and behavioral rules?
Only Madonna, Ritchie, a marriage therapist (and perhaps a therapist's nosy administrative assistant) will ever know whether the former couple really drew up a "love pact." But it does perk our interest. Should we all have one of these? Are they only for the rich and famous? With the right guidelines, can they improve—and in some cases—save a marriage?
Relationship expert and Mating In Captivity author hosts East Coast conference.
Couples who struggle to keep their relationship sexy (and if there's a couple out there that doesn't struggle with this, please stand up) often find themselves at a loss for solutions. All of the elements are there: love, trust, intimacy. Only the passion is lacking. Cue revolutionary couples therapist Esther Perel. She will tell you things like "More intimacy can lead to less sex" and "The fear of loss is essential to love." Her frank talk for couples looking to reignite their passion has made her a semi-celebrity, and she's appeared on Oprah and the Today show to discuss her acclaimed book, Mating in Captivity. And now, for the price of an hour-long therapy session, you can get Perel for an entire day.
Are Britney Spears & Kevin Federline trying to reconcile?
The National Enquirer says that Britney and Kevin are trying to reconcile via couples therapy. As awesome as that would be, can the Enquirer be trusted? That John Edwards thing really makes this a toughie. We'll just hope that they are and call it a day. Also, Billy Bob Thornton is still good buds with Angelina Jolie, per Billy Bob.
Where do you turn when therapy fails to fix your relationship?
At the age of 42 with two children in elementary school, Mary Ann Lowry was diagnosed with a chronic pain condition. Lowry explains her husband had a hard time coming to terms with her illness. "He frequently used verbal abuse to try to convince me to be healthy," she says. "The therapists tried to help him see that sickness, death, pain…are part of life. He couldn't come to terms with my physical limitations and despite their best efforts the therapists weren't able to break through the hard core resistance to accepting my health situation. When I finally had to leave work and go out on full disability, he was not able to support the decision."
Despite the money, time and effort spent in counseling trying to work on their marriage, it failed. Lowry and her husband went to individual and couples counseling on and off for 11 years and still the marriage ended.
When you are taking a break from your relationship, what are the rules?
If you are tired of your relationship and want to take a break, sit down with your partner and work out the rules. Clearly communicate the goal of the separation and the expectations. Can he have sex? Can you? Should you have sex with one another? Will you go out on dates? All of these are key questions that should be decided upon before you leave the relationship. The author outlines six simple rules for a separation and how do decide the limits in order to make your separation successful. Pick a clear starting and end date. Decide on clear boundaries. Communicate with one another. Figure out the finances. Should you have sex? Make your separation a clean break.
Aaron was tall, handsome, brilliant, funny—everything I wanted in a lover except reckless. Indeed, the kinkiest thing about him was his luxuriant Jewish boy's 'fro; I loved to run my fingers through his curls. He was raised to be a suburban gentleman in the conservative 1950's and went to college in the liberated 70's—which may explain why he wasn't bitch-slapping me while pretending he was a pimp and I was his hooker, or playing the principal punishing the naughty schoolgirl sent to his office, or acting like a kidnapper tying up his naked, quivering victim. Instead, he put his ardor into his work while making sweet, calm, comfortable love to his wife once every week or two. Or three. Okay, a few years into our marriage, we sometimes went an entire month without even a quickie.
Why I'll "wait and see" about my marriage (even though we don't have sex!).
Marriage is not going so well for my husband Rob and me. Our fifth anniversary approaches, and we haven't had sex in more than a year. We've buried our feelings about that deep. We also avoid talking about finances and children, and anything else you could file under the category "future hopes." When marriage promises so much more—stability, growth, intimacy—why am I content to stay put? While for better or worse we ignore our deep-seated issues around sex and money, we enjoy laughs together and keep each other amused. Life without him would require me to find new fun. So I'm biding my time, and meanwhile being kind to myself and gentle with Rob. After I've put in a good-faith effort in couples therapy and saved a bit more of my own money, I'll reassess. But for the near future—six months, a year, maybe two—here are the ties that bind: