Dear Dr. Julie: My husband of 43 yrs has worked most of our marriage away from home: here for 2 weeks and gone for 2-3 months. I pretty much raised our 3 children alone. He retired in 2018 and has gone from being away from home most of the time to being home almost ALL the time. Has prioritized self care: goes to bed at 7, up at 6. Exercise M, W, Th and Sat. Eats dinner at 3 pm ( he does most of the cooking now ). Has set up these very rigid boundaries and doesn’t care about much else. Will reluctantly socialize but is just as happy home doing nothing. At this point, I don’t want to get divorced but this relationship is ridiculous. He’s a nice guy but I can’t say I care about him all that much.
My problem is since he has these rigid boundaries, how can I establish my own if they collide with his. For example, I’d love to go out and see a show in the evening or meet a friend or whatever. But if he goes to bed at 7, we have an anxious dog and he...
What scares you? Does being thought of as selfish scare you?
Let's talk about selfishness--what it is and how to tell if you are being selfish. It’s a concern I frequently hear from my clients.
The difficulty with figuring out this question is that it is not an either or proposition. It’s a balancing act. Essentially, you need to balance your needs with the needs of others. Sometimes you need to choose in favor of you and sometimes you need to choose in favor of others.
But if you almost always choose in favor of others for fear of being selfish, you have a problem. You aren’t living in balance. You aren’t getting your needs met. Your boundaries are not being acknowledged and respected (likely because you aren’t voicing them). You’re out of balance and you’re not living your truest life.
As people we want to foster healthy, harmonious relationships. As women we are taught to be agreeable, nurturing, and self-sacrificing. Often we come...
Many of us have been taught from a young age that being kind and considerate towards others is a virtue. While this is undoubtedly true, some people take this to an extreme and become people pleasers.
A people pleaser is someone who prioritizes the needs and desires of others above their own, often at great personal expense. There are many reasons why someone might become a people pleaser, and in this blog post, we will explore some of the most common ones.
At the heart of the people-pleasing tendency lies a deep-seated human need: the desire for acceptance and belonging. We all want to be liked and valued by our peers, friends, and family. For people-pleasers, this need can be especially pronounced. Saying "yes" becomes a way to gain approval and establish stronger connections with others. It's as if their emotional well-being is intricately tied to the approval of those around them.
People become pleasers for a variety of...
If you've been in a relationship for a while, have you ever wondered whether there is a better relationship partner out there for you? Or, if you are single, have you ever wondered whether there is a Mr. or Mrs. Right out there for you?
What do you think would make someone right for you? Sure, you want them to be attractive and have a personality and interest that matches yours, but what else?
Better yet, how do you sustain that feeling of being right for each other?
While there are a lot of answers to these questions, there is one, overarching answer that will
It almost seems too simple--just one thing will do all that?
As a therapist I've worked with a wide variety of people over the last 20 years, and I've seen the power of this one thing in people's lives. When my clients have implemented it, they have seen it work miracles in creating deeper relationships and shifting negative relationship...
Dear Dr. Julie: My husband and I have been married for a while and it's starting to feel a bit boring. We are losing our spark. How can we fix this boring marriage?
--Losing Our Spark
Dear Losing Our Spark: Anything you do repeatedly is going to start to feel boring after a while. That's because it is no longer novel or fun, it is the same old thing over and over again. Who wants that?
To fix your boring marriage first talk with your husband about how you feel and get his perspective--does he think the marriage is boring? You need to know whether he feels the same way and what he thinks will help.
Then think about what made the first years of your relationship fun and interesting. Did you go out and do things more often than you do now? How much time did you spend together versus apart from each other? Were you doing things he liked to do that you haven't done before? Who made the plans for going out? Has that shifted?
If you are caught up in parenting, work or life...
Do you ever find yourself feeling stuck?
Do negative thoughts and feelings of not being “good enough” often lead your mind down a stressful path of self-doubt and low confidence?
Did you know that almost all of us are plagued by self-limiting beliefs daily, keeping us from fully living our best lives?
In this blog post, we'll look at how to identify and break through these limiting beliefs– because everyone deserves to reach their fullest potential!
Step 1: Identify Your Self-Limiting Beliefs
The first step in changing your self-limiting beliefs is to identify them. This can be done by paying attention to your inner dialogue and noticing any negative thoughts or self-talk holding you back. Write down these beliefs and be specific about how they make you feel and impact your life.
Step 2: Challenge Your Self-Limiting Beliefs
Once you have identified your self-limiting beliefs, it's time to challenge them. Ask yourself if these beliefs are based on...
Dear Dr. Julie: I was in a bad marriage for 20 years and it seems to have taken it's toll on me. My ex-husband often made me responsible for anticipating his needs and making things easier for him. At the time I thought I was just a bad wife. But post-divorce (and a lot of therapy), I see that I wasn't responsible for his behavior. My problem is that I'm in a new relationship and sometimes I notice that I feel like I should be doing something to make my new partner feel better when he's upset. This happens especially when he's expressing his unhappiness or dissatisfaction about situations I'm not a part of. I know it's not my job to make him feel better but I get emotionally fixated on what I can do and I can't seem to calm down easily. What can I do?
--Wired this way now
Dear Wired this way now: That's an excellent description of being triggered. When we are repeatedly exposed to stressful situations like you described, the way we cope with it becomes embedded in our...
Are you in a healthy, happy relationship? It can be hard to tell from day to day as we go through life. What may seem small and insignificant every other day could build up into a huge issue after some time – this is why it's so important to stay vigilant about your relationships and ensure they're on the right track!
Relationships are a crucial part of human life. Whether it's a romantic relationship, family relationship, or even friendship, our relationship quality can enormously impact our well-being and overall happiness. But what makes a healthy relationship? How do you know whether your current relationships meet your needs, provide support, and encourage you to reach your goals?
This blog post will dive into the key elements of a healthy connection and explore how to nurture stronger positive relationships in all aspects of life.
One of the most important aspects of a healthy relationship is communication. Couples...
When it comes to relationships, there's no one-size-fits-all advice that applies to everyone. But when deciding whether or not to pursue a relationship, it can be helpful to consider what makes up a healthy union. Navigating love and commitment isn't always easy — but understanding the components of an emotionally and physically reflective and supportive relationship is key for both parties to experience joy, contentment, and satisfaction over time.
Having a healthy, functional relationship may seem elusive to some. For example, suppose you grew up around less-than-ideal relationships. In that case, it can be easy to overlook unhealthy daily patterns and not realize the baseline of a good bond between people in love. But here's the thing — there are certain must-haves for others to experience bliss rather than pain! These characteristics should never go neglected or unaddressed. If something feels off balance within your connection, address it. So, take note –...
Hi Dr. Julie, My husband has ADHD and I try very hard not to parent him when he doesn’t complete a task or completes it so quickly that he isn’t thorough. I often will go back and complete it myself, but then I feel resentful.
I have committed to not nagging him about these things as it doesn’t feel good to either of us. I’m his wife, not his mother and I would like to have an adult relationship with him, not a parent/child relationship as often happens. How would you advise me to approach him without nagging or criticizing?
--Looking For A Better Way
Dear Looking, ADHD is a tough one because the individual usually means well, but isn't organized enough or tracking details well-enough to follow-through. In cases like this, you are right nagging doesn't work and you want to avoid feeling resentful.
First, I recommend that the two of you talk about the ways ADHD is showing up in your relationship and chart the pattern so that you both are...