Dr. Julie's Blog

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How do I tell if my shy neighbor is interested in me?

A man I'm interested in acts shy around me. Is he interested or not? What do I do?

Dear Dr. Julie: I am a 44-year-old woman who divorced 2 years ago. The marriage was an abusive one, with a husband who demonstrated narcissistic behaviors. I am now open to dating again. I've become acquainted with a neighbor, who I've caught staring from a distance and who becomes quite nervous around me. When we are in conversation, he can't look at me directly and can be awkward. He's definitely someone I would consider getting to know better, but I'm not sure if he's just shy or giving me hot and cold messages. There are times when I sense "interest" on his part, and then other times when I feel he's just too shy around me. Is he hesitating because I'm also the mother of a young child? I'm overly cautious about red flags after my marriage and just don't know what to do. Do I continue to have casual chats with him and see where things go?

--Interested but confused

Dear Interested but confused: You...

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My husband and I have different love languages. Is our marriage doomed?

My husband and I have different love languages. Is our marriage doomed?

Dear Dr. Julie: My husband and I have been married just over 5 years and we are fighting a lot lately. I recently read about love languages and it seems that we have incompatible love languages. I love words of affirmation and he's all about acts of service. It's not that I don't appreciate what he does for me, but I don't feel like he loves me because he doesn't tell me. I'm worried that our incompatible love languages will mean that our marriage is doomed. Can we make this work if we don't speak each other's love language? 

--Interpreter Needed

Dear Interpreter Needed: Yes, you can make your marriage work and it is not automatically doomed because you two speak different love languages. Make sure you honor his love language by appreciating what he does for you. Then ask him to honor yours.

Here's one way to do that. Get clear on what you want to hear first. Then say to him, "I need your help. I know you...

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Is my boyfriend really committed to me?

Dear Dr. Julie: My boyfriend and I have been dating for quite a while. He and I have agreed to be exclusive but I can't tell how committed he is to the relationship. Sometimes I don't hear from him for a day and he often makes plans with his friends without checking in with me first. It hurts my feelings and I wonder if he's really committed to us as a couple or if he's just having a good time.

--Together or not?

Together or not?: There is a lot to say about your situation. My first question is whether you have asked him your question about being committed or not. Communication is always the first step.

Secondly, whether you have asked him or not, you seem to be noticing that his words about being exclusive don't match your expectation of commitment. You have some expectation that if the two of you are exclusive, then you are committed. If you are committed, then he should check in with you before he makes plans. These are your "rules" and if you don't...

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What to do if your feelings upset your partner

Dear Dr. Julie, I feel like every time I try to express my feelings to my partner, he becomes defensive or shuts down, which makes me feel unheard and invalidated. I love him and want to build a strong and healthy relationship, but I'm unsure how to approach this situation. Do you have any advice on how to communicate my emotional needs without creating conflict or pushing him away?

Lost and Confused

Lost and Confused:  That's frustrating for sure! One thing to keep in mind is that when we say something to another person, it gets filtered through their experiences and beliefs. What they hear is often not what we said or meant.

Many men have told me that when their wives or girlfriends are anxious or upset, they feel like they have done something wrong. Although I doubt you were trying to tell your partner that he had done something wrong (or is a bad relationship partner), my first question would be to wonder if that is what he heard. Can you ask him? Be sure...

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New Year's Resolutions for Couples: Make this Your Best Year Yet!

It’s the start of a new year, and what better time to make resolutions to improve our relationships? Whether you’re single, committed, or somewhere in between, there are plenty of ways to take your love life up a notch.

Whether it is increasing quality time together or learning better communication skills, there are many ways to ensure this year is the best for your relationship. 

Take Time To Have Fun Together 

Relationships are all about having fun together. Make sure you take time out of your hectic schedules to do something fun and silly, like a hike or play board games together. It could be something as simple as going on a picnic in the park or ordering takeout from your favorite restaurant. The bottom line is that having fun together can help you stay connected and foster an even stronger bond. 

Communicate Effectively 

Communication is key in any relationship, so make sure you talk openly and honestly throughout this year. This means listening...

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12 Romantic Holiday Date Ideas

It's the most wonderful time of the year! If you're in a relationship, there's no better time to show your significant other how much you care than during the holidays. But deciding what to do on a date can be tough—especially if you want to make it extra special. Never fear, we've got you covered. Here are twelve romantic Christmas date ideas to get you in the holiday spirit.

Go ice skating

Being out in the cold and gliding across the ice feels festive. And bonus points if you can make it to an outdoor rink with twinkly lights. If you need to learn how to skate, this date is the perfect opportunity to learn together (and laugh at each other's mishaps).

Make gingerbread houses (and then eat them) 

This one is more fun than your average dinner date. You and your partner can channel your inner child and build a gingerbread house from scratch—or use a kit if you're feeling as adventurous. Once you're done constructing your masterpiece, take a break to enjoy some...

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7 Overlooked Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship Over the Holidays

A holiday can be a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It can also be a great opportunity to spend quality time with your partner and reconnect on a deeper level. Let’s celebrate your relationships. 

From pumpkin picking to attending holiday parties, there are endless opportunities for couples to enjoy each other's company and strengthen their bond. 

Here are just a few ways holiday time can be the perfect time to strengthen your relationship:

It helps you to appreciate each other more.

Taking your partner for granted can be easy when you're stuck in the daily grind. But spending time together during the holidays can help you to remember all the things you love about them. Take time to talk, laugh and enjoy each other's company, which can help you to appreciate each other more.

It gives you a chance to relax and recharge.

The holiday season can be hectic, but it can also be a great opportunity to relax and recharge. Spending time together...

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