Conversations Married Men Dread

What conversations do men wish they could avoid having with their spouses?
In this article on Huffington Post professionals share the conversations that most impact their clients’ relationships, along with suggestions for how to communicate in order to connect in a more positive way and see better results.

See all nine experts’ suggestions in the full article, and my expert advice below:

“Ugh, I hate how you leave the dishes in the sink.”

You may want your spouse to be a little more diligent about the dishes or wish he’d slow down when driving, but there’s a right and wrong way to issue your complaint, reminded Tammy Nelson, a sex and relationship therapist and the author of The New Monogamy. Who wants to hear non-constructive criticism, whether you’re a man or woman?

“Instead, use phrases that show appreciation for what he could do right,” she said. “Say ‘I appreciate it when you do it this way instead’ or ‘I love when you rub my back softly.‘ Always remember, you get more of what you appreciate.”


The Impact of “Religious Freedom” Bills on Patient Care

In the past several months we’ve seen a number of “religious freedom” bills being passed by state legislatures. These bills generally seek to provide protections for those who do not wish to be compelled to serve LGBTQ individuals or provide them services. These bills have taken a darker turn, however, with the introduction of laws in Mississippi and Tennessee that provide exemptions for medical and counseling professionals, respectively, from treating patients based on religious grounds:

Medical exemptions, though, deserve to be considered in a category of their own. Doctors and therapists interact with people at their most vulnerable, and their training and expertise gives them incredible power over patients. The advice they provide—or refuse to provide—to an LGBT patient could influence the treatment that person seeks. It could make that person less likely to seek primary care or identify themselves as LGBT to other doctors, which can lead to the “failure to screen, diagnose, or treat important medical problems,” according to the American Medical Association. The medical community has a problem: What should hospitals, private practices, and medical associations do about doctors and therapists who say it’s against their beliefs to provide care to LGBT patients?

Most major organizations and professional bodies in both of these professions agree that LGBTQ individuals are not diseased, disordered, or disturbed based upon their identification. While some organizations on the fringe of the profession have not joined with the majority in condemning conversion practices and call for equal patient rights for people with alternative orientations, having legislation permitting this sort of discrimination is a dangerous precedent.

It will be telling in the coming months to see what happens legally as well as within the professional organizations impacted by these laws. Ultimately, those of us in the medical and counseling professions are called to treat patients as well as we can and to improve quality of life, not to judge or condemn them. Perhaps this latest development in the fight for equal patient rights will provide a broader platform and raise awareness of the challenges LGBTQ individuals can experience in trying to seek care.

The medical community has largely rejected practitioners who are unwilling to accept LGBT patients in the fullness of their identity. This probably does have a silencing and exclusionary effect on some doctors, therapists, and patients, which is what laws like the one in Mississippi are trying to address. But freedom in medicine is not like freedom in every other sphere of public life. Physicians are not bound to act according to conviction. They are bound to do no harm.


11 Relationship Problems to Look out for

Sometimes marital problems come out in big events like infidelity. Often, though, it’s the little daily things that are cause for concern. In this article on Huffington Post 11 experts share their advice on what warning signs to look for in your marriage. Read my advice below and check out the full article:

2. You no longer go to bed at the same time.
“This could be a sign that they are avoiding intimacy. They might be unhappy in the relationship and creating distance between you in the bedroom.” — Tammy Nelson, sexologist and the author of The New Monogamy

And another of my favorites:

6. There’s been a breakdown in communication.
“Sometimes a marriage begins with strong communication, and then a change — slow or sudden — occurs. My interviews with hundreds of older people about what makes relationships work identified a key danger sign: When people stop talking, it’s a major warning sign that something is wrong. One interviewee summed up the views of almost everyone in the study: ‘Let’s say that you do have a good relationship with your husband, and all of the sudden things sort of dry up as far as conversation is concerned. Well, I think that’s a danger sign happening there.’ If good communication takes a sudden turn for the worse, it can be a sign that your partner is unhappy.” — Karl Andrew Pillemer author of “30 Lessons for Loving: Advice from the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationships, and Marriage“

Women Experience Performance Anxiety Too

We tend to think of anxiety over sexual performance as a problem men suffer from and may have to deal with on their own. The truth is, women also experience performance anxiety, often related to their belief that their partner expects perfection from them in bed. According to research when perfectionism is perceived in a partner or imposed by society, it can create a devastating chain reaction. Women experiencing this pressure tend to have low self esteem, decreased arousal, and negative emotions toward their partner.

The good news is women setting goals for themselves in the bedroom tend experience an increase in desire and a positive self image when it comes to their own sexuality and that of their partner. Women who are supported by their partner and confident in their desires feel empowered in all areas of their lives, including their erotic self esteem. Communication between partners and realistic expectations can allow both to cut loose and have fun. Check out my book Getting the Sex You Want to find out more ways to communicate your fantasies and create some patterns of positive erotic self esteem in your sexual lives.


Can Being Cheated On Make You Stronger?

Having a partner cheat on you can be devastating. That type of hurt and betrayal can take some time to recover your feeling of safety and trust in the relationship. The good news is that for some partners being cheated on may actually make you stronger and can increase your likelihood of finding a more suitable partner or even create a stronger relationship with your current partner.

New research shows that experiencing infidelity in one relationship appears to help attune women to pick better and more loyal partners in the future. When women return to the dating scene, they are more able to pick out subtle cues that may indicate the partner they are considering is a good choice. Research also suggests women recovering from a cheating experience can in other aspects of their lives as well.

If, on the other hand, you’re the “other woman” the future may not be so bright. In the long term, people who demonstrate infidelity may be likely to cheat again, and that relationship may be founded on deception as well. You may have to work a little harder to create a relationship that is, at it’s core, strong and steadfast.