Question of the Month

Why Do Some People Jump from One Relationship to the Next?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / July 1, 2018

Reflecting on current dating trends, it is useful to pinpoint a distinction between “backburner” communications and “cushioning”. The former typically refers to a strategy of communicating on dating apps or social media with a few people while dating others. Backburner communications typically occur in the early stages of dating, and ideally the flames are extinguished…

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Should my stepson be having sleep-overs with his girlfriend?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / June 3, 2018

The following Q&A originally ran in The Huffington Post relationship newsletter: My 18-year-old stepson frequently comes to our house for the weekend, and his father allows his girlfriend to come spend the night with him. My husband thinks it’s great that his son is having sex, but I keep thinking that the girl is 17,…

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What are Some Misconceptions about what Married Couples Should have in Common?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / May 4, 2018

We are socialized to imagine that it is important to share common interests with our spouse. And many couples enjoy bonding through playing a sport together or sharing a variety of hobbies. But there are plenty of couples whose interests diverge. As long as a couple prioritizes spending time together on a regular basis, it…

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What are some relationship red flags I might be overlooking?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / April 1, 2018

A common relationship red flag often discussed in therapy involves an ongoing reluctance on behalf of one’s partner to make introductions to friends and family. It seems obvious that, if invitations to social occasions and introductions to friends and family are avoided and refused, then there’s a backstory to figure out and address. A less…

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How can I scale back all of this emotional labor?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / March 3, 2018

Tension about the imbalance of emotional labor in heterosexual marriage has been an ongoing conversation topic in my therapy practice for decades. By emotional labor, most female clients are referring to the emotions they experience related to an unfair balance of physical or mental labor associated with managing a household. Women experience a strong aversion…

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What are some strategies for dating after age 50?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / February 3, 2018

The following Q&A originally ran in HuffPo’s relationship newsletter “The Good Life” Ask an expert Reader Lene writes, “I am a 50-year-old professional woman. My last relationship of five years just ended. Prior to that relationship, I had been alone for 10 years after my divorce, raising my kids and going to graduate school. How…

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Do We Need to Know if We Want Kids Before We Get Engaged?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / January 3, 2018

The following Q & A originally ran in HuffPost’s newsletter The Good Life: Ask an expert Reader Allison asks, “My boyfriend and I are in a serious relationship and have been together for the past three years. We live together too, and have been for the past year. We have talked about marriage and want…

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What are some Strategies to Feel More Connected this Thanksgiving?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving is a psychologically robust holiday. We grow up and mature into adults, but the simple act of walking through the household door to join a family Thanksgiving gathering can cause a surprising surge of emotions and regression to our prior adolescent selves. That’s why Hollywood makes so many movies about Thanksgiving. Over-eating and excessive…

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What are Some Strategies for Raising Self-Esteem?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / November 2, 2017

One way to think about the concept of self-esteem is to focus on what it means to have a strong sense of self. People with a solid sense of an independent individual self are able to balance separateness and togetherness, and they are able to feel calm an contained on their own. They are able…

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What are the Signs That You are in a Substandard Relationship?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / October 2, 2017

I once worked with a real estate agent who came to therapy explaining that he kept renting his relationships rather than buying them. He repeatedly chose temporary and substandard relationships and wanted to break out of this pattern. How did he know he was renting his relationships? What are the signs that a relationship is…

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