Essential Reads

Empathy for a Child Abuser?

Empathy for the Undeserving Can Be a Useful Strategy for Changing Families

Why We Hate It When People Invade Our Space

John Travolta and Joe Biden put it in the news, but it's an everyday problem.

Does Science Really Say That Hot Guys Are Jerks?

Our new study suggests that better-looking men are more selfish.

Having a Baby: When You Don't Agree

Different visions? Find the problem under the problem.

Recent Posts on Relationships

On Roles and Respect: Answering a Reader's Comment

Please indulge me this lengthy comment from an anonymous reader to my recent post on expectations in relationships; there's a lot here, so I wanted to devote an entire post to it rather than try to handle it in the comments.

Present Day Relationships

 You have choices about who you invite into your life and how you interact. 

Healthy Enabling and the Good Enough Relationship

Enabling, like co-dependence, gets a bad rap, although, like co-dependence, when it is not distorted or misapplied, enabling is actually an important part of any healthy and balanced relationship. Not distorted or misplaced, it is the unconditional support that is reflected in the idea of the "good enough" relationship.

Is Love Egalitarian?

By Aaron Ben-Zeév Ph.D. on September 08, 2010 in In the Name of Love
 Romantic love is not egalitarian; rather, it is discriminatory because it entails the following aspects: (a) the beloved is accorded a unique status, and (b) certain people, such as the handsome and the rich, who enjoy a privileged status. Cyberspace is more egalitarian in both senses; it enables each person to maintain several relationships at the same time and it reduces the advantages of the handsome and the rich.

Are American Friendships Superficial?

A German woman living in the United States was describing her likes and dislikes about the U.S.On the positive side, she was enthusiastic about the opportunities for work and advancement. On the negative side, however, she complained that American friendships are superficial.

Busting the Loner Myth: Dexter, Like Many Real Killers, is Married with Children

By Bella DePaulo Ph.D. on September 07, 2010 in Living Single
When I last discussed Dexter, I neglected to mention why he is relevant to Living Single readers. He's a serial killer, yet for much of the show, he is married with children! That defies the stereotype of killers and other scary criminals as unmarried loners, but as it turns out, it does not defy reality.

The Proper Way to Brag

By Anita E. Kelly Ph.D. on September 07, 2010 in Insight
We all want to make a good impression on other people. But how can we convey positive information about ourselves without being disliked?

The Shame Game

By Leslie Becker-Phelps Ph.D. on September 07, 2010 in Making Change
Shame. It's a destructive emotion that I see all too often when people enter therapy. One frequent reason for it is that people feel ashamed of needing to seek out professional help. It says to them (and they fear it says to others) that they are weak.Along these lines, the advice to "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" is a vivid expression that conjures up images of strong, self-reliant people. But it's also a ludicrous recommendation. 

When A Beloved Pet Dies

By Alex Lickerman M.D. on September 06, 2010 in Happiness in this World
Several years ago, my wife and I had to put down one of our cats. Minnie was really my wife's cat, having journeyed with her from Vancouver to Chicago almost a decade earlier. At some point during that time Minnie had developed a urinary tract infection that had damaged her kidneys. After that, according to my wife, her personality changed.

Jesse James: The Perpetual Adolescent

By J. R. Bruns M.D. on September 06, 2010 in Repairing Relationships
 Jesse James: The Perpetual Adolescent

What Can You Do Instead of Outright Telling Your Secret?

By Anita E. Kelly Ph.D. on September 06, 2010 in Insight
Sometimes you feel compelled to tell your secret to a poor confidant, either because the person is going to discover the secret anyway or because you are very troubled by keeping this secret. What can you do?

When all is said and done, more is said than done.

By Gordon S Livingston M.D. on September 04, 2010 in Lifelines
     Look at the smiling bride and groom in their wedding pictures. Can you imagine that they will end up some years hence bored to distraction with each other?  

Can Philosophy Make You Cold?

Based on what you say, it appears that your boyfriend has discovered the potential of philosophical thinking to expose irrational ideas and to overcome irrational emotions and behavior.  However, he seems to want to use philosophy to overcome all emotions, even healthy ones.  This is an extreme that no philosopher (or psychologist) could competently recommend.   

This Is Your Brain on Disenchantment

We've all been here. Disenchantment. Child or adult, the feeling is the same!

Wonder Woman: Top or Bottom?

By David J Ley Ph.D. on September 03, 2010 in Women Who Stray
One of the best stories of an empowered, sexually-liberated woman and wife is found not in, but behind, the pages of comic books. 

Life with Infertility is Hectic!

 Whether your infertility is newly diagnosed or a condition for which you've received long term treatment, "hectic" is likely to be a familiar word in your vocabulary.  However, for you, the frustrating aspect of "hectic" is that it is punctuated by periods of waiting -- for test results, for procedures, for consultations, and -- of course -- for a pregnancy.  In my book When You're Not Expecting, I refer to this as the period when your life is on hold.

Take Responsibility

By Ran Zilca on September 03, 2010 in Confessions of a Techie
You have full control over your own actions. Use it!

How to Cut Your Losses with Negative People

By Mark Goulston M.D., F.A.P.A. on September 02, 2010 in Just Listen
Water seeks its own level, so make sure the water you are in is pure instead of polluted. Step 1: Make a list of the most positive, uplifting, low maintenance (easy to please, difficult to upset) people you admire and respect and know or would like to know.

The dirty little secret most women don't talk about

By Irene S Levine Ph.D. on September 02, 2010 in The Friendship Doctor
Despite the romanticized myth of BFF, the hard truth is that most friendships don't last forever. In fact, research suggests that when it comes to friendships, a phenomenon occurs that is somewhat akin to the seven-year itch: Half of our close friendships turn over every seven years.

Does a spoon full of sugar make aggression go down?

By C Nathan DeWall Ph.D. on September 01, 2010 in Connections
The potential for conflict pervades modern life. Yet, most confrontations do not result in aggression. Why? Sugar may be a sweet substitute for aggression.