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Living With–Or, Commonly, Without–A Commitment Phobe–Part I

Rule #1 for a Commitment Phobe: Always remember the back door. Wendy* worried, early in the relationship, because she wasn’t Jewish. A lovely woman originally from Oregon, Wendy had spent time in therapy working on relationship issues, and learning how… Continue Reading

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Blended Families–Instruction Sheet, continued

Lessons 1-7 are in the the post below, Blended Families–Part III. 8. Avoid areas staked out by the child’s own parent. If your step-son says, “Dad says he’ll teach me to sail,” don’t run out to the nearest shipyard. 9.… Continue Reading

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Parenting Your Own Children When You Remarry

Let’s start with: Lessons for Parenting Your Own Children When You Remarry. 1. Work to reduce your children’s feelings of loss as they share you with your new partner–and perhaps other childen. Work to do this by continuing to spend… Continue Reading

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Manipulating Spouses

Some spouses came across as aggressive and demanding. But Norah and Tali were different. Let’s look at two controlling women who passively managed to get their spouses to do their bidding. Norah never learned to drive. Norm encouraged her repeatedly… Continue Reading

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Money May Equal Power in Couple Relationships

So, let’s assume, for the moment, that I’m that marriage counselor competent in financial matters,  and a couple with an unequal money-power ratio has come to me. Let’s assume you, the reader, are part of that dyad. So, if you’re… Continue Reading

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Daddy’s Girl in the Blended Family

Layla* was a shy, reserved, nine-year-old “daddy’s girl” who had done poorly since her parents had divorced and she had lost the full-time emotional support of and connection to her father, Luke.*  Lisa* was divorced from an emotionally abusive man. After… Continue Reading

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The Ties that Bind–Up and Over

As Mario Puzo informed us–and he ought to know–“The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other.” So far, so good. But loyalty to, precisely, which part of the family and… Continue Reading

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Taking Back Control in Abusive Relationships

So we’ve addressed the importance of picking and winning small battles, as well as of not entering into an argument with your spouse on topics on which there’s really no ‘winning.’ What else can you do to get out from… Continue Reading

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All in the Family: The Genie in the Genogram

As some of the past posts have shown (take the post on triangles, for example), utilizing the genogram within the family systems approach often has significant explanatory powers for why a person finds him or herself stuck within current relational patterns.… Continue Reading

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The Checkbook–His, Hers, Ours?

Ok, so you’re working together to create a financial plan acceptable to both of you.  Why not begin with the checkbook? Ask yourselves this question about how to handle the checkbook–do you want one checkbook–or three? Let’s say you like… Continue Reading

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Under My Thumb (X): Taking Back Control (4)

So by now you know to pick small battles and win them, to stay away from heated arguments, to plan for change-back moves, and to share your suffering with somebody close to you. What else can you do to crawl… Continue Reading