Relationship Psychologist Shares 10 Ways Her Worldview Has Changed In Last 10 Years

Evolving opinions of a long-time clinical psychologist.

Ways worldview has changed since starting to blog Yaroslav Shuraev, Liliia Bila, Nothing Ahead | Canva

Five years ago, someone suggested that I write about how my worldview changed since I started Dr. Psych Mom in 2014. Recently, I got the same suggestion, so I will revisit the topic with my thoughts at 10 years comparing my perspective now to my perspective then. In bold are the points I made in my post five years ago, and then I discuss my thoughts now.

Here are 10 ways my worldview has changed in the past 10 years:

1. There is no one right way to parent

I agree with this largely, but an anxious/overprotective style does truly lead to anxiety in kids. Female anxiety is underdiagnosed and very common in our age of child-obsessed parenting. COVID made anxious parents much worse, and I’ve seen the fallout from that as well. I’m hearing more than ever about kids who fear the world, refuse school, and experience somatic symptoms. If you only work on one issue for the sake of your kid, make it your anxiety.

@therealdrpsychmom if a child goes right back into an anxious home.... the effectiveness of therapy will be limited.#anxiety #psychologist #parenting #anxietydisorder #kids #therapy ♬ original sound - Dr Psych Mom

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2. Incompatibility cannot always be fixed

This is 100% true and why I don’t recommend couples therapy for dating couples (who don’t have kids). Also, it is very very important to be aware that low libido women will only get lower libido after marriage (same with men, but this is less common). It is essential to understand how the honeymoon phase masks signs of later incompatibility because you are drunk. 

3. Divorce is not a worst-case scenario

I said in my first post that my kids “are excited to be part of my upcoming wedding and I am now confident in a way I wasn’t before that I am giving them a good example for a loving and happy relationship.” This certainly remains true five years later. One of my daughters recently told me that she wants to have a boyfriend that treats her as well as my husband treats me. This makes me very happy that I am not continuing the dysfunction that I saw growing up.

Additionally, many divorced clients benefit greatly from their breaks from the children. I have heard from many parents that they are much calmer and more patient when they get breaks from their kids than they ever were before. I agree with this and have felt this myself.

RELATED: 21 Undeniable Benefits Of Being Divorced


4. Biology is equally if not more important than psychology, assuming they can be separated

I discussed this in-depth in the first post, and I agree even more now. I have worked with far more women in perimenopause and menopause, and these women often feel that their younger selves are completely different people than who they currently are. It is like thinking about a younger sister more than anything on the same continuum as who you currently are. 

I also believe that some people would be much better off divorcing when the kids leave the house if they feel biologically very different, such that the man feels he has years of sex left to have, and she is done with the whole thing. I have seen many very amicable divorces occur when the kids are adults, and only the most depressive people seem to stay together unhappily at this time.

5. Being a stay-at-home parent is very hard

I agree with this wholeheartedly, but as my business has grown significantly from where it was five years ago, I have a new understanding of what it is to be the primary breadwinner/financial manager. Also, I am increasingly aware that being a stay-at-home mom is much more difficult for the huge number of women who have undiagnosed post-partum depression and anxiety, and for those without a close relationship with their own moms. 

If you find being a stay-at-home mom much harder than your husband’s job outside the home, this would likely be a reason to go to therapy and figure out what else may be going on. 

@yourtango A stay-at-home mom with several chronic illnesses asked her husband to set aside a few of his sick days so he could help out when she's sick. His response? No way. #momsoftiktok #dadsoftiktok #parenting #reddit #chronicillness #stayathomemom ♬ original sound - YourTango

Those were the five points from my original post, but I will add another five themes that I’ve recognized in recent years in my practice.

6. Openmindedness is the number one trait that I’ve seen predict happy relationships and the ability to work through problems

Both in and out of the bedroom, being open-minded and nondefensive are key. Closedmindedness and rigidity eventually drive all partners away, and people would eventually rather be alone than with someone rigid, defensive, and who always has to be right

I used to think that two closed-minded people would be OK together, but this is not usually the case. These people are still not exact clones, so they end up fighting over the few perspectives they don’t completely share! Work with your children on openmindedness, empathy, and perspective-taking, and you will be ensuring their adult relationships are more successful.


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7. Being raised sex-negative is way worse than I thought

As my reach expands, and since telehealth exploded in 2020 (during COVID) I get more and more clients raised religious and who are in other parts of the country. The stories I have heard make me more and more convinced that raising a child to fear sex is an unintentional form of child abuse. So many people feel terrified to be sexual before marriage and are then expected to flip a switch somehow and think sex is fun and adventurous. 

This is ridiculous. Like other animals, people learn behaviorally, and if you are punished for years of your development for acting sexually or expressing a sexual self-concept, it is VERY HARD to flip this script when you get married. It can be done with counseling, but it is very difficult. 

Limited experience before marriage makes many people feel resentful, regretful, and, in later life, angry at their partners for not delivering a sexual experience that can remediate their years of inactivity (which is of course not possible, as they are only one human with their own issues). People regret chances not taken and people not slept with!


8. A lot of people are having awful sex

I did not even realize until the past five years how few people were doing the following: open-mouth kissing, foreplay for more than a minute, talking about sex, talking about exes, and much much more. 

I was raised pretty secular in a major city, went to college in an extremely liberal environment, and originally saw people in person in Maryland. As discussed, since telehealth has become ubiquitous, I see people from everywhere raised in very different environments where open discussion about sex was not even remotely a “thing.” I now understand how helpful it is for couples to learn how to talk about sex in a matter-of-fact way in session. 

Often, just coming in and talking to someone openly about sex can be transformative. This allows couples to face and work through their fears that it will be bad, harmful, or hurtful to say things out loud that they would like to change about their sexual connection. Also, men and women understand much less than I thought they did about sex, which is why my posts and podcasts since then have gotten increasingly instructional!


9. Even the most high-libido women are usually impacted by age and hormonal shifts in ways that are shocking to them

It is key that men can understand and empathize with how sad a woman who used to be highly sexual and now has lost that part of herself feels. This is a big change that happens to many women, and if a man makes it all about himself, he is creating an empathic rupture that puts the relationship at risk. Understanding biology is key, in addition to understanding that aging happens and is normal.

10. A balanced and objective perspective on the inevitability of aging is necessary for mental health in middle and old age

I’ve noticed people hating the idea of aging more and more. When people try to deny that time marches on and humans change and grow continuously, this is bad for their relationships with spouses (and even adult kids). It's important to accept and understand that sex will change over time.

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Dr. Samantha Rodman Whiten, aka Dr. Psych Mom, is a clinical psychologist in private practice and the founder of DrPsychMom. She works with adults and couples in her group practice Best Life Behavioral Health.