Question of the Month

How Can a Strained Friendship be Saved?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / August 31, 2018

(This Q&A was orignally posted in Huffington Post Relationship’s “Ask an Expert” segment of their newsletter.) My best friend and I had a falling out and recently have been trying to reconnect. What’s your advice for getting through the tense, awkward small talk? It’s hard when we used to be able to talk about everything.…

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Besides Infidelity, What Forms of Betrayal can Traumatize a Marriage?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / August 6, 2018

Sexual and emotional affairs comprise the most common betrayals that lead people to therapy. And many couples work through those betrayals and find themselves stronger and closer on the other side. Interestingly, financial duplicities are often more difficult to navigate, grieve and understand. When, for example, a spouse loses thousands of dollars on a gambling…

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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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