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

Mean Girls: Pathologizing Bad Behavior

Media coverage of the 15 year old Irish immigrant hounded to suicide by her classmates has focused on how violent today's girls are.  But it's just not true.  Pathologizing aggression makes it harder to stop. 

Post Injury Coping Skills

Did you ever move from one country or state to another - get a new job - find a new place to live? Do you remember how many months it took for you to settle into a routine, finding the best places to buy food, the best route to work, and the local shops?

A history of anorexia while skiing: Part One

By Emily T. Troscianko on April 01, 2010 in A Hunger Artist
Ski holidays are important in the history of my anorexia: they're a heightened state of ordinary life, with the whole family gathered together as it never normally is; and they're dedicated to the pursuit of an activity which is just physical, not intellectual. In this sense, they're quite unique for me.

How Don’t You Notice Your Husband’s a Nazi?

By Stanton Peele on April 01, 2010 in Addiction in Society
Why does a beautiful, intelligent, and successful woman act out like a desperate person when forming her most crucial relationship?

She Wins, They Lose

By Eric Jaffe on March 31, 2010 in Headcase
When wives are the primary breadwinners, the marriage crumbles.

Are You A Relationship Peacekeeper? How to Tell if You Have True Emotional Intimacy

By Ann Smith on March 31, 2010 in Healthy Connections
I once believed that the best indicator of a great relationship was a lack a conflict, arguments or disagreement. I thought that if we "got along" we would be just fine. Turned out I was wrong.

How to Spot Friends, Enemies, Frenemies and Bullies

For all those ever confused about whether to call an intimate, family member, coworker, employee, boss, partner, acquaintance, or social contact a friend, an enemy, or something in between - a "frenemy." It turns out that getting clarity, identifying the taxonomy, taking action and putting it to rest is easier than you ever thought.

There are no right people!

Everybody marries the wrong person. Yes, everybody. You married the wrong person and your spouse did, too.

A Clinical Portrait of Excessive Online Porn Use (Part 2)

By Todd Essig Ph.D. on March 30, 2010 in Over-Simulated
A "clinical portrait" of psychotherapy with a talented young man struggling with excessive use of online pornography: told over a series of multiple posts (this is the second of 10 installments), the serialized story of "Paul and His Girls" shows the complex emotional history and depth of feeling that can accompany someone spending too much time online with porn.


By Susan R Barry Ph.D. on March 30, 2010 in Eyes on the Brain
When I was little, I was cross-eyed which made me look stupid. In fact, my elementary school principal told my parents that they had to "face facts," that I was a "dim bulb." So when I became a college professor, I swore to myself that I would never misjudge my students, never jump to conclusions.

Who Sits Where in the Car?

Who drives when men and women are in a car? Who sits in the front and who sits in the back?  

People, Using People

By Eric Jaffe on March 30, 2010 in Headcase
Do we use friends and family to achieve our goals?

Martha and Her: The Best of Friends?

Dear Martha Stewart,After reading Mariana Pasternak's new telltale book, The Best of Friends: Martha and Me (Harper, 2010), I know how betrayed you must feel. You have to be asking yourself: How could Mariana, who I considered one of my closest friends, betray me like this? Granted, I've only read her side of the story, but here are my unsolicited thoughts on the matter:

Correlation, causation, and association - What does it all mean???

By Adi Jaffe Ph.D. on March 30, 2010 in All About Addiction
There's quite a bit of confusion about the meanings of statistical terms like correlation, association, and causality. I wrote this post to clear up the confusion, but also drive home the point that while causation is the gold standard, it should not be the only thing we care about... As long as we truly understand.

Taking Responsibility versus Taking the Blame

It's quite common for us to operate with the rather self-conscious notion that "it's all about me", so it's very easy to blame ourselves, and much harder for us to gain a perspective on our relative responsibility. That is a sword that cuts two ways; one draws us into the palace (that is not a typo - think about it) of the ego, and the other drags us down the rabbit hole of negative self-perception. Neither path serves us. 

The Power of the Ex-girlfriend

By Jen Kim on March 30, 2010 in Valley Girl With a Brain
Why sometimes you can have a relationship with your boyfriend's ex-girlfriend.

Is Marriage Toxic to Women? Part II Massive Review Study Says Marriage Reduces Depression

In Part II of this five-part series, (yeah, I know I said 4 part) we'll look at whether marriage is toxic to women's mental health. Specifically, we'll look closely at depression because it affects about 20 million adults in the U.S. alone and is therefore one of our most common diseases. The bad news here is that women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression.


Blended families create many, many opportunities for divided loyalties and conflicts. My last post was about the TOP 5 MOST COMMON COMPLAINTS OF THE STEPMOTHER  so today I'm writing about things from the biological parent's perspective.

Deceived: Denial and Minimizing

 Denying, minimizing, and rationalizing are the most natural responses to living with someone acting out an addictive disorder.

Friendship: The importance of showing up

Dear Irene, I have been friends with Amy since high school, and we are now mothers in our 30s. I have a 10-year-old and another baby on the way. Last August, I got married and that's when things went weird.

Adultery or Divorce—Is There a Right Answer?

Divorce may seem to be an obvious and preferable alternative to adultery, but factors such as children and financial constraints may make divorce problematic in practical terms. But even in the absence of children and financial ties, is divorce an ethical alternative to adultery? I presume most would say "of course," but I'm not so sure, and exploring that uncertainty is the subject of this post.