Dr. Julie's Blog

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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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Are you in a lopsided relationship?

We've all been hurt by unrequited love—that terrible, heartbreaking want for another person who doesn't return your affection. Unfortunately, "the pursuit" is also very enticing and can be challenging to give up.

Unrequited love warps one's perceptions of the person they are in love with, making it difficult for you to realize they don't feel the same way because of how immersed you are in your deep feelings for the person.

Nevertheless, everyone is deserving of love, including you. Since you aren't getting love from this other person, it's time to move on and experience mutual love. Let go of the person you're fascinated with but who doesn't reciprocate your feelings. In this blog post, let's learn what unrequited love is in detail and discuss the most effective ways to put it to rest.

What are the signs of Unrequited Love?

How can you tell if feelings are mutual or not? Here are some signs: 

They don't appear willing to develop the relationship. 

When you try...

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Do you know your partner's love language?

We all express and receive love in different ways, and those variations may be the reason why sometimes feelings and good intentions are misunderstood.

For instance, you might spend weeks searching for the most incredible gift for your partner, only to hear them say on their birthday, "I would've been happy just cuddling up on the couch together."

It's not that they're unappreciative or you made a mistake. It's because they speak different love languages or communicate their love differently.

The five love languages were first introduced in 1992 by marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman in his book "The 5 Love Languages."  He noticed there was often a discrepancy in how each person in a marriage felt loved. If one person only felt love when they received a gift but their partner rarely bought them gifts, they felt as if their partner didn’t love them. 

Knowing what your love language is and learning what your partner’s love language is will help you create an...

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💕 3 Communication Tips for an Easier Holiday Season

I recently posed the question, “What’s a positive change you want to make in your relationship?” All the responses I got were focused on communication, everybody wanted to communicate better. As it turns out faulty communication is a top relationship problem.

I couldn’t think of a better topic to address during the holidays. What can be more stressful than arguing during a time when everyone is expected to be bright and cheery?

Here are 3 tips for making your romantic relationship a little less stressful and a little more romantic this holiday season.

  1. Listen more and talk less. Listening is something we think we do easily, but we are rarely actually listening. Instead, we are usually thinking of what we are going to say next. To help you listen better challenge yourself to ask a follow-up question about what your partner just said before you add anything to conversation. Another tip for being a better listener is to focus on how your partner is feeling,...
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Could being curious help your relationship?

Child’s play is something anyone can do, and yet usually, only children do it. We equate child’s play with something simple and easy. Wouldn’t it be awesome if hard things in life were more like “child’s play?” 

What if child’s play could make something like your relationship easier? Wouldn’t THAT be awesome? Initially, your relationship probably felt like child’s play, but over time maybe that stopped being the case. Let’s spice it up again with something children do well that adults usually don’t. 

Let’s get curious.

Curiosity is something we are all born with and use a lot as children, but as we become adults, it fades away. It is that wonderful state of being open to learning something new, approaching a situation without assumptions or preconceived ideas of how it will go. It is child’s play at its core. There is little fear, no ideas or expectations about how something works or what will...

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Two Easy Suggestions for Making Valentine’s Day Special

Many people dismiss Valentine’s Day as a Hallmark holiday. But, let’s think about this for a minute. It’s a lot more than just a money-making scheme for a big corporation. Valentine's day has been around since before the Middle Ages. If it has been celebrated in some way for the last several hundred years, don’t you think there might be something to it? 

A little history

Pope Gelasius declared February 14th to be St. Valentine’s Day in 498 (yes, over 1500 years ago). The oldest surviving Valentine’s Day poem was written in 1415. In the 18th century, it became popular to exchange small tokens of affection and handwritten notes. Pre-made cards became popular about 1900. Today Valentine’s Day is the second largest card-sending holiday of the year, following Christmas. This is probably why it is thought of as a Hallmark holiday, but as you can see, it pre-dates Hallmark, by a lot.

Valentine’s Day has remained important because it gets...

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28-Day Rekindle Your Relationship Challenge

Once the honeymoon phase is over and familiarity begins to dominate your relationship, it can start to feel stale and boring. Relationships take work but sometimes you just don’t know what to do. All you see is that things don’t feel right and you’re at a loss as to what to do about it. When this happens, it can feel like you’ve hit a roadblock.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There is plenty you can do to rekindle the spark that brought the two of you together in the first place. 

To help you out with this, I’ve put together a 28-day Rekindle Your Relationship Challenge designed to give you simple activities to rekindle the spark in your relationship. The challenge activities are fun and designed to reconnect you to your lover. 

In the challenge, you will receive a daily email with your challenge action of the day and a short explanation of why it works or is important for your relationship.

There’s no obligation and if you miss a...

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Lying and Truth Telling for Effective Communication Guide

What lying is and how to tell the truth

Connie could tell something was wrong. Her boyfriend of 5 years seemed more distant but denied anything was going on. When she asked what was wrong, he said everything was fine. Then one day she found a stack of papers he had left out on the counter. The papers were a new rental agreement he had just signed for an apartment in another city. He had not mentioned he was planning to move out and he wasn’t moving to their dream city, Chicago. Why would he rent an apartment, especially without telling her? 

When Connie confronted him, he said he rented the apartment to be closer to work. But as Connie told me more details of their recent interactions and his behaviors it became clear to both of us that he was leaving the relationship. At one point during my conversation with Connie she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “I just wish he’d tell me the truth.”

The truth. What is the truth of the situation? It...

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Does He* Know He’s Hurting Me?

I hear this question a lot from clients and on social media and my answer is not what you’d expect. Here’s how I think about it.

The questioner is in a relationship with someone who repeatedly violates boundaries and treats her in highly disrespectful ways. Treatment could be anything from name-calling to hitting, blaming to criticizing, threatening to trivializing. Whatever the behavior, it is repeated and it hurts the questioner. 

Invariably the questioner has told the partner that the behavior is hurtful and not okay. 

The question, “Does he know he’s hurting me” is a reasonable question if one assumes that people who love each other don’t intentionally hurt each other. 

So, what is going on?

Reasoning through this we will see something like this:

Assumption: 

People who love each other don’t intentionally hurt each other.

Facts: 

He tells me he loves me.

I love him.

He’s hurting me.  

I’ve...

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