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Couples Troubles

Many couples enjoy the change of pace that summer brings. Vacations, musical festivals, cottage getaways with family and lots of outdoor BBQs are occasions to enjoy life and create happy memories. But these can also be times when relationship troubles are camouflaged, then dealt with later.

Is this you? Sad but true, a time to away, meant to grow as a couple, can also be a time of deepening relationship distress. Couples Therapy is an effective way of overcoming a communications impasse.

A recent report on BBC.com states that people between the age of 16 and 44 are having less sex than ever before. Is there something about life today? Are there new ways to hide problems?

Some modern indications of unhealthy couples behaviors include:blog-fighting-loving

  • Excessive smartphone/tablet use/social sites
    • Often in the presence of their partners
  • Excessive organized family activities
    • E.g. not enough free time for individual interests
  • Excessive amounts of time viewing adult web sites (Pornography)

These are ways to fill time and maintain distance when unspoken issues lie beneath a superficial calm. Couples unconsciously collude to maintain the status quo of parallel lives – like railroad tracks going in the same direction but never intersecting.

The issues below are still the ones most often involved in couples’ communication breakdowns:

  • Money
  • Sex
  • Parenting
  • In-laws

These issues are caused and often complicated by values that you and your partner may not always share. Values are personal perceptions about the right way to live your life.  For example, you may believe that it’s better to enjoy life while you have the freedom and resources to do so. Your partner may argue that it’s more important to save money for a nest egg as the priority. Issues become more entrenched when they conceal emotional issues such as insecurities about money or phobias that lead to recurring impasses of communication.

Despite the summer distractions, if you and your partner are stuck in a communication breakdown, it is a good idea to consult a psychologist trained in couples therapy to help you accomplish your goals together.

 

Dr Eva Fisher is a registered psychologist trained in Ottawa, Canada with training in couples and family issues.

Sexting the one you love

Justin returned from a business trip earlier than expected.  As he unpacked his suitcase he heard his wife, Ashley’s cell phone ringing.  He picked it up out of curiosity. He didn’t expect to find a sexting message from an unknown man with genital photos in full display.  Scrolling through the history, he found photos of Ashley  naked with flirtatious come-ons.  He was shocked and disturbed and he had certainly never seen that side of her before.

It takes a congressman sexting on Twitter, to bring to light something that has been causing couples to fight since the earliest days of the Internet and social media.

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Infidelity in a long distance relationship

In long-distance relationships there is an illusion of closeness, partly because of the small amounts of physical time together. Many long-distance couples consider themselves to be a perfect couple in an imperfect situation. Yet, as we know, there is no such thing as a perfect couple and when the pair reunites and reality clashes with dreams, problems can arise with surprising force.

Laura and Cal had been together for four years, although they were only physically together for less than one of those years if you counted the actual days together.

Laura, a lawyer with a prominent position in a government department, could not relocate when Cal completed his studies and got a job as a professor at a university several hundred kilometers away.

Their relationship survived by alternating weekends together, daily texts, Skype, and long telephone calls at night in place of physical time together.
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Internet time: online or mainline?

What’s the first thing you do in the morning?  If your answer includes checking an Internet device, you may be one in a growing number of Internet addicts worldwide.  Many people today spend a significant portion of their waking time online.

In a recent Neilsenwire survey, respondents reported spending more than one third of their waking hours (36%) communicating and networking on the Internet. The largest component was social networks, which accounted for almost a quarter of all time (23%), an alarming 43 per cent increase between 2009 and 2010. In the same one-year period, there was a 12 percent increase in time spent watching videos and movies online and a 10 percent increase in time spent in online games.  Overall internet use is now prominent in society and is becoming an essential fixture of many peoples’ lives.

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Facebook depression

Facebook depression is a new phenomenon[1] that the American Association of Pediatrics has identified.  According to the authors of the study “The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families,” there are many dangers for teens online and Facebook acts as a gateway to them.

Samuel is a teenager whose parents were divorced when he was four years old.  Over the years he has had to adapt to living in different houses with different people who come and go, but his most constant and closest companion has been his computer.

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Texting: The new long-distance relationship?

Lisa reached for another tissue in my office while glancing at her Blackberry. “Why didn’t he tell me in person?” she asked.  “Why did he have to tell me it was over in a text message?”  After three months of dating her new boyfriend, Craig, she was heartbroken and tearful, trying to make sense of his reasons for leaving.  She was most indignant at receiving a goodbye in the form of a text message.

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