Thursday, October 17, 2013


We all have them - those little habits, quirks, preferences, etc.  Idiosyncrasies.  They're a part of what makes us who we are, and we're all unique.  But they can drive your partner crazy!  Here are a couple examples from my practice:

Sue and Harry met at mid life.  He was a widower, and she, divorced.  Their children were all grown and they looked forward to sharing their golden years together.  One of the things Sue thought was especially sweet about Harry was how he liked to whistle.  It was nice being around someone so happy!

But soon, the whistling got very old.  Harry whistled all the time - in the car, at meals, even in restaurants.  It started to drive Sue crazy!  Pretty soon, she was snapping at him to stop.  He would, for awhile.  But he was oblivious to his whistling so pretty soon it would start again.  Before long, she was going to another area of the house to avoid him and the whistling.  Their relationship became strained.

Harry finally managed to break the habit, but it was very difficult, and took quite a toll on Sue's patience. 

What idiosyncrasies do you and your partner have?  Remember, that the way you are now is likely to be similar to how you are 20 years from now.  Will those little quirks still be so endearing then?  Talk about it NOW - before you say "I Do."

And I'd love to hear your stories about how you've dealt with such things in your relationships.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Challenge of a Family Crisis

I've been thinking a lot about death this past week.  A very good friend of mine took leave of her very frail body Monday, after a six year struggle.  Her funeral is later today.  I've also seen two different couples in the past week who have had the death of a parent recently. 

These events have led me to think about what a crisis time this is for a couple.  The person who has lost a parent is in the process of active grieving.  Their partner then has to shoulder the entire load of family responsibilities and support the grieving partner.  This can get old very fast.  One of the couples I mention above has broken up, in large part because the non-bereaved partner is feeling neglected and ignored.

Emotions are at an all time high during early grief.  Things are often said out of frustration that are not meant, but can't be taken back.  I remember when my father passed, a cousin on my mother's side called and asked me if it was important to my mother that he be there.  He was my mother's favorite relative, and so I told him "yes."  His response, which I'm sure he wished he could take back as soon as it came out of his mouth was, "it's just a very inconvenient time." 

My thought, of course, was, "I'm so sorry my father's death is not convenient for you."  All of this goes to the saying therapists have, "under stress, we regress."  If you, or someone you know, is going through a major life crisis - serious illness, loss of a loved one, loss of job, etc., cut them some slack.  We're all going to be there at one time or another.