Attraction Answers

How can I lessen my anxious attachment to a partner?

Hello, First, I appreciate you sharing what's going on and I can provide some guidance around this. I'll list a few different ideas on how to approach your casual relationship with him here. I might start out with acknowledging that the relationship has changed and it's normal to feel anxious about the unknown when you both initially decided on being casual together and noticing now you have stronger feelings for him. I think this is very important and overlooked. Often times we will act on anxiety and avoid how we feel, talking about things, etc. I might suggest asking yourself what feels effective around this? An example might be... I'm at a place where I want to problem solve my anxiety and ask if he'd like to have a relationship with me, etc.? I'm giving a hypothetical on this.  I can understand why you might not want to rock the boat either if you're enjoying your time with him and are fearful that it might end what feels pretty good right now.  Another piece that is more on a micro level is to notice when feeling anxious you may check things more often, which can increase your anxiety drastically. An example might be texting and checking your phone over and over and hoping for a response. I can understand how it can be validating and reassuring to hear from him and understand it can be painful when you don't get the response in the time frame you're looking for. often times, I will try to urge surf or notice my checking behavior and try to block it essentially (not look at my phone and instead notice the intensity or sensation of wanting to look at my phone for his text or snap, etc. My last idea to help you process this further is I'll often ask myself this question... Is keeping the peace now going to keep me miserable going forward? This is for you to recognize and decide when you're not okay any longer as a casual relationship. All these things may help alleviate your anxiety around the relationship and likely lead to you being more relaxed around him and silly. I hope this all helps and I understand this isn't a solve all. I wish you the best, Mitchell Daas, MA, LPCC
(MA, LPCC)
Answered on 01/15/2023

Why can't I let go of the past?

Hi, Thank you for reaching out. You have taken the right step by getting help from a mental health professional. You are not alone when it comes to not being able to break from the cycle of attracting and being with the same type of a person. There are many reasons for this. It is that you are becoming aware of this situation and want to take a step to take control of your situation.  One of the reasons why women tend to choose the same type of men as their ex is due to following the same pattern. Many times women are not self aware and don’t recognize their emotional needs and their love language. In the initial stages the infatuation takes over the rational thought and they fall in the trap of being attracted to the same kind. For this reason, it is extremely important for women to take some time and recover from their past relationship- this would require for them to fully understand their previous relationship, why and how it failed and where they were wrong and where their ex was wrong. Once one gains clarity in this then they come to realize their own weaknesses and strengths in relationships- as for weakness if you take time in recovering you can start working on the weaknesses and opt for personal growth before you step in future relationships. As you work on yourself you will understand yourself more and will know which boundaries you want to have and where you are willing to be flexible. You will understand what matters to you most and what your values are. The more clarity you have about yourself the easier it will be for you to handle yourself in relationships.   When you feel ready for your next relationship, that's when you can start to think about the type of person you want to get involved with. Now you are aware of the issues you had with your ex and understand that some of the issues were perhaps related to your own shortcomings and some were related to them. This is when it is best to see if the person holds the same values as you, think logically and then emotionally. After going through these steps, if you decide to move on with a person who is similar to your ex, you will still be in better shape to keep your boundaries so that you don’t fall into the same cycle again. I wish you the best and hope this was helpful.  Thanks, Dr. Saima   
(PHD, MS, MA)
Answered on 01/07/2023

How do I get over my crush?

The first thing I would do is communicate your feelings with her.  You are assuming that she is not attracted to you. However, that is not a fact.  It's coming from your own insecurities. If she does not have the same feelings then I would pinpoint why you are attracted to her in the first place in order to remove the mystery and become aware of what it is. It will help you understand why you should not act on it. Second, I would redirect my feelings when spending time with her. Whenever it comes up in your mind think about why you are such good friends and how that is important to you.  The third thing I would keep in mind is how that attraction if acted on can create issues and could break up the friendship in the long run. Think about how it can be destructive. Fourth thing is to take some space. Take a few steps back from hanging out often and refocus on other things. The last think I would do is start dating other people. Maybe take that extra time from taking space and go out on dates with others. This will help you understand if your attraction comes from a place of being lonely or if it's really authentic. Sometimes we feel attraction to our friends out of a place of feeling lonely. This is why dating other people may help you understand more if this is just a passing phase because she is the closest person to you. It is nothing to be ashamed of and that is why it's important to let her know what is going on in your head as well. This way if you have to pull away she will understand why. Attraction on her end cannot be forced. However, you are basing her lack of interest in you off of an assumption and not a fact. You will never truly know unless you let her know that you have stronger feelings for her.  You may think you are not good looking but other people may feel differently.
Answered on 12/17/2022

I wanna know what to do

Hi Praise.  Thank you for taking that first step to reach out for help.  From my understanding, I gather you do not feel chosen, wanted, or valued by your partner. You may be feeling alone by your partner not spending time together and choosing others over you.  This type of rejection can be painful and affect how we feel and act. Relationship issues can also affect our self esteem, motivation and ability to focus and work, and connect emotionally with others. Are you together as a couple or has the relationship ended? In a relationship we need to have open, honest communication with our partner.  By expressing your feelings and making your needs known you can ensure you and your partner are on the same page and want the same outcomes in your relationship. There must be mutual respect and understanding to accomplish this.  It's important to focus on what is in your control.  Do what you need to take care of your mental health and well being.  Engage in hobbies and activities that bring you joy and help calm and distract you from the stress you are experiencing.  Get outside for exercise and sunlight.  Eat healthy, drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol. Do not isolate.  Socially and emotionally connect with friends and family.  Lean into your support system to manage the hurt and loneliness. Talk about your feelings to those who support and care about you. Go out and meet with friends. Volunteer and help others.  Journal your feelings. Listen to music.  Practice mindfulness and focus on gratitudes. Pray and meditate.  Relationship difficulties can lead to depression and anxiety. Get professional help to manage your mental health. In individual counseling you meet with an experienced, licensed therapist in a safe space to self reflect, express your feelings,  and learn skills to help navigate this situation.  You will develop techniques to build confidence, learn healthy boundaries, understand how to effectively communicate, and form healthy relationships.  You are not alone.  Find the support and help you need to be a healthier, happier you. Take care of yourself.  Wishing you all the best.  
(LPC, NCC)
Answered on 12/15/2022

Why am I never good enough?

I wonder if you have fallen into a pattern of choosing unhealthy relationships? Do you feel an endless sense of being let down? Feeling that you give your all but do not feel you get anything back? You absolutely deserve to be loved and cherished, but often we fall into a pattern of choosing a particular type of person, whether this may be toxic friendships or selfish or emotionally unavailable people who will never be able to meet your needs. This pattern will probably have been formed / learned as a child, something known as 'childhood programming'. This may have left you with a core belief that is controlling your choices when it comes to relationships!  I really think it may help you to look within and ask yourself some questions, this will help you to become aware of your own self-worth. For example, how do you feel about your personal boundaries? Do you let people know what they are and what is not acceptable to you? If we fail to do this or even know what they are, we will endlessly give and find it hard to say no! This ultimately will leave you feeling your needs are not met and a sense of being let down. Spending some time thinking about what your boundaries are may help you to have a better understanding of what and who you want in your life. Also cultivate self compassion, be kind to your self ask what is important to YOU in relationship, be honest about how you would receive what you need. Would you for instance find it hard to accept unconditional love if this has not been something you've received before? It is of course possible to change the core beliefs we have and replace them with new healthy core beliefs. Having some counseling therapy would be so helpful. Spending time working on your personal development would help you find better, deeper understanding about who you are, how to love you and be happy and contented with yourself first and then others in more healthy and fulfilling relationships. Please know we are here to help you through the challenges and sadness you feel whenever you you are ready. I wish you well and hope you find some happiness and contentment within your relationships. Very warm regards, Gina Kelly.
Answered on 12/12/2022

Why do I always sabotage my romantic relationships with my partners?

Hi Amal.  Thanks for reaching out.  It's hard to take the first step to ask for help. Romantic relationships can be difficult to navigate.  Relationships require us to be intimate and open up to another person.  This makes us vulnerable.  Healthy relationships require boundaries and effective communication to work well.  Try to work together to find out what you both want in a relationship.  This is  part of communicating in a healthy manner. Unless we know what we want and need in a relationship, we may make mistakes and hurt the person we are with.  We are human, we make mistakes. It's important to understand the reasons behind our actions.  Are they intentionally hurting a loved one? You mentioned messing up and hurting your partner and not knowing how to fix it.  Have you asked him what he needs to feel safe, loved, and cared for in your relationship?  Are you able to provide those things, and do you say what you need too?   How do we deal with hurting those we care about? Do we acknowledge the mistakes and take accountability? This may mean apologizing and working to change our behaviors and actions.  Repeatedly sabotaging the relationship and hurting the other person can mean we are not ready to commit to a relationship, we are with the wrong person, or possibly stuck in a  destructive pattern of behaviors.  Individual and couples counseling can be helpful to determine how past relationships and upbringing affect us and influence our choices and behaviors in our current relationships.  Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) can help us identify how our thoughts affect our feelings and determine our actions.  Skill building with CBT can improve our relationships as well by learning to communicate, be there for each other, and manage our moods. Reaching out for help is a step in the right direction.  Working with an experienced, knowledgeable Counselor can you give you the safe space you need to have an objective person hear you out and work with you to develop the skills you need to form healthy relationships.  Wishing you all the best on your journey to health and wellness.  
(LPC, NCC)
Answered on 12/10/2022

How do I stop self doubt and overcome anxiety. Also how do I stop thinking the worst case scenario?

Hello, What you're describing is pretty common--you've been in an unhealthy relationship and now you're feeling insecure in your current one. I don't know what the trauma with your ex was like, but "forgetting" about what happened probably isn't realistic. There are a few things I'd recommend, however: 1. Pay attention to what you are telling yourself about the past and current relationship as well as what messages you've acquired about yourself. Once you identify the beliefs/messages behind your thoughts, you can then challenge and counter those thoughts with healthier thoughts. By changing the way you think, you change the way you feel. It does take work, and what I'm describing is what Cognitive Behavioral Therapy seeks to do.  2. Learn and practice coping skills. Journaling can be one coping skill that allows you to express your anxiety and fear. Deep breathing can help you to lower your anxiety. There are a number of coping skills that can be helpful here. 3. If you experienced physical or sexual trauma in your last relationship, I encourage you to look in to working with a therapist who is trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing). The goal of EMDR is to reprocess (not forget) traumatic memories in healthier ways. It's extremely effective. 4. It sounds like your current boyfriend is being understanding, and so continue to allow him to help you be assured in the relationship. Continue to talk to him about your feelings. 5. Challenge yourself to spend a little time away from your boyfriend. What I mean is that, if you find that it's distressing any time that you're away from him, challenge yourself to participate in some activities without him. A little time apart can not only help you work on your anxiety, but it can also improve the quality of the relationship and make your time with him even more special. I do encourage you to reach out for help. The answer to dealing with trauma is not to try to forget it, and the answer to recovering from an unhealthy relationship is not to bury yourself in a new relationship. It can take some time and practice, but you can move forward in your new relationship by addressing what transpired in your last one. Take care, Nicholas DeFazio, MRC, LPCC-S, LICDC
(MRC, LPCC-S, LICDC)
Answered on 12/01/2022

How Can I Have a Normal Relationship With People?

Hi Misha! Thank you for asking this important question on the BetterHelp platform. It is really great that you are willing to address the topic of building and maintaining healthy relationships. It is a really good thing that you have reached out for support at this time. Have you attended counseling or therapy services in the past? I hope that you consider participating in online therapy sessions on BetterHelp! Based on what you wrote in your question, I can see why you are feeling concerned about having a normal relationship with other people. When did you first notice that you were feeling this way? Who is in your circle of support? Would you be able to reflect on some of your relationship strengths? What would an ideal relationship look like for you? What efforts would you need to put forward in order to get there? I recommend that you answer and address some of these questions, as well as some of your own thoughts, through therapeutic writing. Have you tried journaling in the past? Journaling and writing poetry are wonderful and creative outlets that allow for safe emotional expression as well as contemplation. There are daily journal prompts on the BetterHelp app if you would like to respond to some pre-written prompts as a means to get started with establishing ideas for the creative writing process. Also, if you are interested in hearing more about the nature and benefits of writing and journaling, feel free to look up the Therapeutic Writing Institute! They consistently have classes and trainings on the phenomenal effects of writing on the brain. I realize that you had mentioned that you are unable to make healthy and meaningful relationships with people in your life. When you say that you are experiencing a weird feeling, what are the ways in which you would describe this sensation? It sounds like you have considered the possibility that this would be the flight or fight response, which is a physiological response to fear or perceived danger. It sounds like you feel like making eye contact with people does not feel normal for you. What behaviors or actions allow you to feel normal? I can imagine that these experiences must be very uncomfortable for you, to say the least. I think that you have some very good insight into your experience. I see what you mean when you mention that you feel as if you can only interact with others on a surface level. It seems like you are willing to connect with other individuals on a deeper level but perhaps you are unsure as to how to go about doing this. I would like to encourage you to steer clear of thinking that something is inherently wrong with yourself. Try to be kind to yourself and practice being patient and understanding with who you are. There is always going to be room for personal growth and change if you are willing to give it a try! I truly appreciate your sense of determination. What are some of your other strengths and positive qualities? I hear what you are saying when you state that you have some fears about failure in pursuing deeper and meaningful connections. I know that you mentioned that you feel like you are "destined to fail." I realize that the concept of failure may seem to be inevitable for you. I would be interested in hearing more about why you think that you will fail. How would it feel to hear someone say, "You won't fail." If you can, take some time to try to adapt to this way of thinking. Changing thoughts is one of the fundamental attributes of the cognitive behavioral therapy approach. Take some time to consider how your thoughts, feelings, and behavior are interrelated. I recommend looking into some positive affirmations online. A positive, self affirmation statement, once said by H. Jackson Brown Jr., is: "When you can't change the direction of the wind, adjust your sails." In addition to utilizing positive affirmations and motivational quotes, I would like to encourage you to participate in art based interventions. You had mentioned that you set some goals for yourself. Would you be willing to draw a timeline about how long it will take to realistically attain those goals? Would you consider participating in therapeutic drawing and painting techniques as a means to build self esteem and establish a sense of control? Paint a picture of yourself in the future. Also, draw a person in the rain. This is a standardized, reliable, and validated art therapy directive that could help you to further realize your resiliency. Try to think of resilience in terms of being a form of flexibility. Have some hope that you can improve your current relationships as well as build new connections in the future. At this time, I recommend attending individual counseling sessions It sounds like you could benefit from talking to a licensed mental health counselor about how you have been doing. A trained therapist can assist you in addressing your relationship concerns as well as your aspirations for future relationships. You may have the opportunity to review important information on topics such as attachment style, boundaries and socialization skills. If you are interested in joining a group therapy session or groupinar, those are additional options on BetterHelp. A cohesive group setting can assist individual participants in developing social skills and establishing healthy connections. Check out Irvin David Yalom's book titled: "The Gift of Therapy." In his book, Yalom outlines eleven principles of group therapy. There are many resources online if you would like to learn more about the therapeutic nature of group therapy. Thank you again for your time asking this vital question on the "Ask a Licensed Therapist" Forum. I wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey. I hope that my response has been helpful for you in some way. Take good care and enjoy your day!
(LMHC, ATR-P, MS, NCC)
Answered on 12/01/2022

Should I ask my coworker out on a date?

Go for what aligns with your values.  Right off the bat, I love this question for a few reasons. You are honest here. You can admit shortcomings in life. You see someone you like, admit that it might not work, and you also admit that you believe you should go for it.  Fear is a funny thing, right? Fear says you shouldn't do something because of this or that. Fear here says that you don't want to impede on her. You don't want to embarrass or upset her. Because this is a concern of yours, I can tell you, you won't have the effect you fear, mostly because you genuinely care about her. You admit that she could end up with someone else. Here's the kicker: You admit that you can at least say you tried even if she does not want to be with you.  My title was, "go with what aligns with your values" because when we make decisions based on attributes we want to see in ourselves and others, we cannot fail. We cannot truly fail if we follow-through on our authentic self, which here is to ask her out, despite all the fears. Remember this too, your mind secretes thoughts like the pancreas secretes bile. Thoughts are what your mind does, just allow them to exist and stop trying to challenge or deny or fix these thoughts. Let old thoughts that get your attention pass by like leaves on a stream. You value being authentic and putting yourself in situations with others that you truly like and believe they like and could be good for you and you for them. You care about other people and think about them, which aligns with your values because you do these things. If you did not care about people, you would not consider these ideas.  If you do not ask, you will regret it. Think about you in five years. If you find some time machine and come back from five years in the future, what would you then tell you today? I highly doubt the older/wiser version of ourselves would ever come back to us today and say, "oh no, you shouldn't try; you should just put your nose down and admit defeat." Here's the bigger picture. Even if she says no. Even if she laughs, and says she feels uncomfortable (which is her issue and not yours), even if it ends horribly, you did something you can keep doing to start new habits.  How many times do people miss out on life because of stagnant beliefs or fears and don't even try to take a chance? People lay on their deathbeds and think about what could have been if only they had done the uncomfortable and challenging thing for a reward they really wanted. You, sir have the future you's possibility in your hand today. It is a lot of responsibility, but this power has been granted to you. You need to do with the power as a responsible caregiver would do, and that is to act on the opportunity given. Ask her out, stand there and see what she does. Don't get lost in your head, be present. Focus on the bottoms of your feet and stay grounded in all the awkwardness that is the moment. If she indicates discomfort, that is her issue and not yours to remedy. You could end up making an impact on her life as well, all the while living for what you care about. 
(LCPC)
Answered on 11/28/2022

How do I open myself up for a fulfilled single life?

Hi Tori! Thank you for reaching out and asking this valuable question on the topic of making improvements in your relationships. Welcome to the BetterHelp platform! I can tell that you have been looking for ideas on how to prepare for your next relationship as well as improve and build upon your current friendships. What are some of your relationship goals? I hope that my response to your question will assist you in making changes in your current and future relationships. Sometimes advice and guidance is all we need in order to take the next steps! I can tell that you have been feeling motivated for change based on what you had written in your question. It is a really good sign that you have been reaching out for support. Who else is in your support system? What institutions would you consider to be supportive for you? Are you familiar with the cycle of change? What are some things that you can realistically do as you prepare for change? Here is a link to more information on the cycle of change: https://ououd.casn.ca/media/documents/the-cycle-of-change.pdf Also, here is a link to the circle of support work sheet in which you can continue to identify your natural supports: https://www.citn.org.uk/resources/circle-of-support/ In addition to reaching out for support and preparing to make change, I can see that you are trying to focus on your needs. Have you taken some time to focus on your feelings, as well? First and foremost, I recommend that you take some time to focus on recognizing your feelings and assessing how your emotions may have changed over time. I will share with you the link to the feelings wheel in order for you to practice feeling identification strategies: https://ytp.uoregon.edu/sites/ytp2.uoregon.edu/files/Feelings%20Wheel%20in%20PDF.pdf It appears that you have already begun the process of setting some really good goals for yourself! I realize that you would like to learn how to live a fulfilling, single life. That sounds really great! What are some of the things that would make life fulfilling for you? Perhaps you can make a list of your hobbies, talents and interests in order to have a better understanding on how to answer this question. What are some of your personality traits that you would consider to be your greatest strengths? Take some time to assess your own personal favorite qualities that you recognize within yourself. In addition, you mentioned in your question that you had moved to London for love. It sounds like that plan did not work out in the way that you initially expected it to. I realize that this experience could come with some feelings of disappointment or perhaps even feelings of devastation. Those are just some of my first thoughts. I am wondering if you are familiar with the four types of Greek love- stergo, phileo, agape and eros. I understand that you had moved to London searching for love and did not find the type of love you had anticipated. Perhaps you can still find love but maybe a love that comes in a different form!Below is the link to an article that explains the four types of Greek love for your review: https://annointing.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/love-types.pdf On another note, I understand that you were able to recognize some of warning signs of codependency in your last relationship. Have you noticed codependency signs in your past relationships, as well? Take some time to clarify some of the signs of codependency. I would like to encourage you to look into more information on the topic of codependency. Below are the titles of two books that you could read in order to explore more on this topic: "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie "Understanding and Treating Co dependnce" by James A. Kitchens Also, check out this web link for a quick synopsis about understanding co dependency: https://www.mhankyswoh.org/Uploads/files/pdfs/CoDependency-UnderstandTreat_20130813.pdf In responding to your question, I would be interested in hearing more about what you have been doing to live a fulfilling life so far. What can you do to take action in order to live a more fulfilling life? Would you be able to envision yourself feeling fulfilled in other ways? I recommend that you try to visualize your life feeling fulfilled. Would you be willing to prioritize yourself over other people? It sounds like you could benefit from self care skills. Essentially, from my perspective, self care skills mean practicing any activity that brings you joy and fosters a sense of self love. It is okay to be selfish. Not in a bad, rude and "no one matters but me" way but rather in an "I love you" (yourself) type of way! I hope that you can carve out twenty minutes or so in your day to practice self care. Here is a link to some more ideas for self care skills: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5c154cf9372b964a03cbccdb/t/5c488d65352f534aa63aa58a/1548258661324/100+Coping+Skills.pdf I recommend that you begin the process of journaling or creating art on a regular basis. Would you be willing to participate in creative writing or therapeutic drawing interventions? You could keep a daily journal as a means to record and keep track of your thoughts and feelings. At this time, I would like to recommend that you you begin attending individual counseling sessions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. It sounds like you could find meeting with a therapist one on one will be helpful for you overall. In individual therapy, you can have the chance to address your concerns with attachment. Ask your therapist about the attachment theory! You may also want to consider attending a group therapy session or a groupinar. The group therapy process has very unique benefits that you may find to be helpful for you! Lastly, I want to thank you again for your time asking this important question. Also, I want to wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey on BetterHelp. I hope that my response has been helpful for you in some way. Take good care and have a nice day!
(LMHC, ATR-P, MS, NCC)
Answered on 11/17/2022

How do I commit myself in to a relationship?

Hello Lisa, Thank you for reaching out for your question. I will try my best to answer this as best as possible on the limited information.First of all, it is very hard to find good men these days.  Society has taken a modern turn and communication and steps to build a relationship don't seem to really exist.  People are wanting to "rush order" dating and relationships and they usually end up with someone who has a personality disorder or co-dependency issues, especially on a dating application where that platform is really attractive for someone who quickly wants their ego fed.With that said, if you are wanting to find someone of quality, I strongly recommend that you do things that you do and love and then someone who is also interested in the same things will find you there. For example, if you love to kayak, play tennis, etc. then gravitate to those type of activities.  In addition, volunteering for community service especially during the holidays is a nice way to help out.Lastly, when you do meet someone, the key is to take your time.  Take one step at a time and really get to know someone instead of rushing in a physical relationship.  This way, you can study their personality, see if they are a good fit and you have things in common, and develop a sense of trust.  It takes time to build trust and most people rush into things and then end up getting hurt.  It also might be good for you to seek professional counseling with a licensed therapist to see if you keep gravitating towards the same type of toxic guy. Perhaps, there is a pattern where you are drawn to more toxic men and this is why you continue to get hurt.  A licensed therapist can help you under why you are drawn to certain men and help you shift out of old patterns and perhaps help your "picker" find more trustworthy fellas.Hope this helps and I wish you the best on your journey of love.  Remember, do things that you love, learn to love yourself, and in return... you will attract love to you.
Answered on 11/15/2022

Why do I feel like I'm going to be alone forever?

Thank you for taking the time to reach out and for posing such a courageous question.  I can certainly feel the pain contained within your question and can only hope to provide more clarity toward your experience with my answer.   Loneliness is a deeply existential experience that contains a unique and profound paradox within its overall presentation.  Often, loneliness is produced by underlying sub-feelings, experiences, and perceptions of being abandoned, rejected, alone, stuck, ostracized, or isolated.  Yet, we do not realize that when we experience these difficult sub-feelings, we are very much connected to other human beings.  Truly, loneliness is a common experience shared by many individuals on a cross-cultural level.  Naturally, when we have multiple experiences that foster a deep sense of loneliness, the fear can easily become: "Is this awful experience going to last forever?  Am I destined to remain alone for eternity?"  Often, when we meet these anxiety invoking thoughts with facts, hope can be salvaged.  Although I do not know the full extent of your circumstances, I invite for you to consider the facts pertaining directly to your experiences.  Allow yourself to separate what is actually known from what is being imagined or dictated by the emotion of fear.  As human beings, we become easily prone to living in the imagined future.  Unfortunately, as much as we would like to predict the trajectory of our lives, we can never be absolute certain about anything.  All of this is to say, that even if you have had profound experiences of loneliness in the past, the future remains poised with opportunity.   Strength and growth can also be elicited whenever we can begin to recognize behavioral patterns that we tend to easily fall into, follow, or employ within our lives.  Perhaps, the question of, "What personality characteristics am I most attracted to within people?," can serve as a preliminary platform that further motivates future insight and direction.  Awareness, Boundary Formation, and Commitment tend to prove as being useful within our navigation of friendships and relationship dynamics.  When searching for love, we must be mindful to practice self-compassion, empathy, and true self-love.  As an early Pre-Socratic Philosopher once stated, "How can we give what we do not have?"   Becoming comfortable with entering into and exploring the love in which we have for ourselves, may prove as being a guiding light that is meaningful in our quest toward self-discovery.   While the pain of the past requires renegotiation in order to derive meaning and incorporation into our lives, we can be empowered from the lessons in which we have learned and applied.  Success is in the trying.  Returning to the safety of ourselves and allowing the love in which we have for ourself to be sufficient, may assist in remedying any hurt that still lingers or remains.  Similarly, once we have a stable foundation that is rooted firm in self-love, future encounters of abandonment or isolation will prove as being less painful. 
Answered on 11/13/2022

Did I do the right thing?

Hello Sia! Thank you for taking the time to reach out for support on the BetterHelp platform. I appreciate you asking this important question on the topic of relationships. I am so glad to see that you are seeking out advice and guidance as a means to make sense of the experiences from your past relationship. It is great that you have provided some additional details about your past experiences in the relationship. I really admire your goal of trying to move forward and be able to experience life once again. Going through a relationship break up is never easy. I can tell that you have spent a lot of time contemplating what your next steps could be in regards to moving on from the relationship. Based on your question, it seems like you are considering how your actions may have impacted the outcome of the relationship. It sounds like you are trying to make sense of the hurt and that you have been working through and are trying to discover if you did the right thing by ending the relationship or not. I can tell that you really care for this person, as you mentioned that you want him to be happy. I think it makes sense that you would feel sad and miss him, especially since you have been together for over ten years. I realize that you mentioned in your question that your relationship of over ten years has ended approximately eight months ago. How have you been managing things thus far? Also, how did you come to this decision? What steps did you have to take in order to disengage the relationship? What were some of the barriers that you had noticed come up during the decision making process? Take some time to reflect on these questions and answer them through journaling, in therapy or even with a close friend when you are ready to do so. I can tell that you are feeling concerned about whether or not you have done the right thing by ending your last relationship. In a sense, it seems like you are questioning yourself and second guessing your decision. I would like to encourage you to recognize that every decision that you have made thus far is actually the "right" decision, simply because you made it. Your decisions could actually be a reflection of yourself. I derived this concept from the positive affirmations by Louise Hay. In her work, she has been credited as saying: "Every decision that I make is the right one for me." I recommend taking some time to create a personalized affirmation that works for you. Another example of a Louise Hay affirmation that may inspire you could be: "My heart is open. I speak with loving words." Here is a link to the daily positive affirmations that you can begin to utilize and incorporate in your daily or weekly routine: https://www.louisehay.com/affirmations/ It sounds like you have been able to take some time to reflect on your relationship. Would you say that you still need some time to continue to heal? Where would you say that you are at in the healing process? I would like to encourage you to build upon your coping skills and improve your self esteem through art making. If you are willing and are interested, I would recommend that you take some time to engage in the art making or journaling process as a means for healing. Therapeutic writing and drawing interventions can bring a sense of joy, comfort and even serenity for those who are willing to try. In my clinical, professional and personal experience, art making, in its many forms, can be fuel for healing. An art making directive that may be of interest for you is to draw a picture of yourself in your next relationship. Take some time to imagine what qualities you admire in a relationship. Pick your favorite art supplies such as colored pencils, markers or water colors and envision a map to your next relationship. Listen to music, find a peaceful place and light a candle as you practice meditating and deep breathing. Perhaps draw your dreams. Here is a link to more information about how to utilize art therapy: http://melissahager.com/art-therapy-a-coping-mechanism-for-a-stressful-breakup/ In addition, here is a list of art based coping skills for you to check out: https://alexandriaarttherapy.com/blog/2015/11/19/100-coping-skills Be kind to yourself and trust in the creative, healing process. It would be great if you were able to focus on opening up your heart, mind and spirit to the principles of joy, love, peace, light and gratitude. Feel free to check out this resource for more ideas on how to incorporate this concept: https://tinybuddha.com/blog/4-simple-heart-opening-exercises-to-fill-you-with-joy-love-and-light/ In addition, I would like to commission you to make time to write out a daily gratitude list. Taking time to reflect on the things that you are most grateful for may help you to better understand the meaning of your experiences as well as your life's purpose. Lastly, I would like to recommend attending counseling services. I believe that it would be good for you to continue to explore your thoughts, feelings and experiences as you work towards rebuilding your self confidence and inner strength. If you are willing to try, you could also consider attending a weekly therapy group or a groupinar. This may help you to feel more connected with other individuals and allow you to feel a sense of belonging in a therapeutic setting. All of these therapeutic interventions are available on the BetterHelp platform! Thank you again, Sia, for asking this essential question. I truly hope that my response has been helpful for you in some way! I hope that by answering your question, I was able to guide you on this journey of decision making and self discovery. I want to wish you all the best on your journey of self exploration. Take good care and have a nice day!
(LMHC, ATR-P, MS, NCC)
Answered on 11/09/2022

What steps does someone take to not have sexual fantasies about a lot of women, quite frequently?

Hi M! Thank you for asking this valuable question on the "Ask a Licensed Therapist" forum. I really appreciate you taking the time to reach out for support on the topic of sexualized fantasies. The fact that you are willing to seek out guidance and direction about this aspect of your imagination speaks to your self awareness as well as your other strengths. I hope that my response will be helpful for you in some way! I would be interested in hearing more about your experiences with managing these fantasies. What is your personal outlook in regards to sexual fantasies? Is this something new for you that had just recently begun or something that you have been managing for a while? Are these thoughts intrusive for you or causing significant impairment or distress in your occupational or social functioning? Would you consider these fantasies to be recurrent or have they increased in frequency or intensity or time? Do the sexualized fantasies seem to be burdensome for you at this time? Are these fantasies a source of anxiety, stress or even depression? Take some time to answer these questions for yourself. You may want to consider journaling about your responses to these questions. The therapeutic writing process can be beneficial in organizing thoughts and processing emotional experiences. If you choose to start therapy, you can review your answers to these suggested questions with your therapist. If you have close friends or family who you trust, you may also want to consider discussing these questions with someone in your support circle. I know that you mentioned that you do not have have any thoughts of harm when you experience these frequent fantasies. What are some of the feelings that have accompanied these thoughts? It is a good sign that you have not been feeling concerned about any potential harm that these thoughts could be having. Despite this, it sounds like there may be some adverse effects to having these thoughts. As a therapist, I am trained to determine whether or not an individual has the potential for harm to themselves or to others. If you do not feel that anyone, including yourself, is at harm, that is always the ideal scenario. It sounds like it is okay for you to fantasize. This is not a reflection on who you are as a person or even as a spiritual being. Believe it or not, daydreaming is actually considered to be a mild form of dissociation. Some individuals may regard dissociative experiences to be a coping defense mechanism. Mild forms of dissociation can be attributed to an active imagination and in some case may even be regarded as a "healthy" form dissociation. Here is a link to more resources on this topic: https://maladaptivedaydreaming.org/blogs/md/maladaptive-daydreaming-vs-dissociation I recommend practicing some mindfulness techniques at this time. It sounds like the mindfulness dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) skill may be helpful for you to recognize and manage your thoughts. Simply notice your thought as just a thought and do your best to refrain from passing judgement. Through this approach, you may realize that the thoughts are just thoughts and that they will come to pass. By eliminating judgement, you are giving yourself space to analyze your thoughts in a more mindful way. If you are willing to keep track of your thoughts on a calendar or daily planner, that may assist you in tracking the frequency, intensity or even the triggers and warning signs for these thoughts. In addition to DBT principles, I would also like to mention the psychoanalytic theory. Have you learned about Sigmund Freud's psychodynamic approaches to therapy? Freudian psychoanalytic theories have a basis rooted in sexual pleasure and desires. The ideal is that there is an ongoing war or conflict between three parts of oneself: the id, the ego and the super ego. The id is the unconscious part of the self that has deep fantasy and sexual desire; the ego is the most conscious part of the self that is more rational and relatable; and the super ego is the superlative, moral and inherently good aspect of the self. When these three parts are at war, inner conflict arises which causes distress, anger, agitation and anxiety. My advice is to recognize how these parts of yourself flare up against one another. In addition, I would recommend trying some free association techniques, also established by Freud. Essentially, free association means allowing thoughts to come one by one, as freely as possible. A way to practice this principle of free association is to write down all your thoughts in a five minute time frame. Try not to concern yourself with whether or not the thoughts make sense or are interrelated at all. The foundation of free association is that all thoughts are connected. The real question is just: How? Lastly, the art therapy intervention that I will offer your on this topic is the tree drawing test. The directive is relatively simple in that all that is required of you is to draw a tree with pencil or pen on copy paper. If you want to be creative and choose to paint, color or even sculpt your tree, that is always encouraged. When you complete the drawing of your tree, I want you to self assess the crown of your tree. The crown is the top part of the tree, above the branches, where the leaves live. The crown symbolizes the fantasy life. My hypothesis would be, based on the information that you provided in your question, that you will have a very healthy, full crown. If that is the case, that part of your tree signifies imagination, aspirations and dreams. This is a source of strength, as the tree needs its leaves to continue to thrive and grow. Ultimately, the tree drawing is an unconscious representation of the self. What else can you discover from your tree drawing? Thank you again for asking this important question. I wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey on BetterHelp! I hope that my response has been helpful for you in some way! Have a great day!
(LMHC, ATR-P, MS, NCC)
Answered on 11/08/2022

I don't understand why no one is ever attracted to me or shows interest in me

Hi PS! Thank you for taking the time to reach out for support on the "Ask a Licensed Therapist" forum! I appreciate you sharing many details about your question related to loneliness, isolation and establishing meaningful relationship connections. I can tell by the information that you have provided that you are looking to further your relationships and address your challenges with intimacy, dating, attraction and romantic relationships. Based on your question, I can tell that you are a very likable person and that you have a strong support system. As I am sure that you already know, having close relationships with family and friends can be an integral part of anyone's social experience. A strong social support system can be vital in managing the challenges of every day life. It is a really great sign that you have close friends, supportive parents and feel good about these connections. I would like to encourage you to continue to build upon these supports. In addition, I can see why you are still feeling alone if you are coping with rejection. Self confidence can be an attractive quality for many individuals. Perhaps you can start the relationship building process by working on improving your self esteem and rebuilding your self confidence. If you are looking to assess your own self concept, I recommend utilizing the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale (RSES) as a means to measure self esteem over time. Here is the link to this free, validated and reliable assessment: https://wwnorton.com/college/psych/psychsci/media/rosenberg.htm I would be curious to know more about your thoughts on dating. What would a satisfactory relationship look like for you? What are some aspects in a relationship and qualities of significant other that you are searching for? What are your current positive traits, qualities and strengths that you could bring to a relationship? It is true that dating isn't always easy and that there are many challenges that come with the process of establishing a romantic connection. What have your strategies for dating been like thus far? Would you consider the prospect of online dating? Some people meet their partner through a mutual friend, a friend of a friend or by being connected to someone who knows them both. Have you tried reaching out to your friends and expressing your dating concerns? Do you think that one of them could connect you to another single person who is looking for similar things? It would be good for you to leave your comfort zone behind and meet new people when the opportunity arises to do so. Maybe you can ask some couples how they met in order to give you some ideas for your own future love story. One aspect of dating entails having a set of shared interests with another individual. How would you describe your hobbies and interests? If you are willing, you may want to consider creating a running list on the topic of your strengths, talents, interests, etc. Having an interesting hobby maybe helpful for you to nurture your self confidence, as well. Perhaps you could meet someone special doing one of the activities on your list of interests! Keep track of what you like to do and the things that are of interest to you. When it comes time for a first date, you will be super prepared and be ready to express your hobbies to the person who is getting to know you! I would like to encourage you to begin writing in a therapeutic journal about your strengths as well as explore some barriers to having a fulfilling relationship. Emotional expression can be an incredibly powerful tool when reflected through the journaling and writing process. As a provisionally licensed art therapist, I always recommend making art as a means to communicate, express and process any thought, feeling or experience. The holistic interventions of art therapy may be beneficial for you to incorporate into your therapeutic journey. Did you know that there are many added benefits to art making which includes self esteem building? An art therapy related activity that could work for you is to draw a picture of a potential first date. Take some time to imagine, create and allow yourself to discover a sensory experience. Where would your ideal first date be located? What sounds might you hear? What things would you see around you and surrounding you and your date? What might your date look like? Would there be any tactile sensations, tastes or smells that stand out for you? By creating this guided visualized imagery, you are giving yourself a chance to better understand the things that you are looking for. Perhaps there will be an opportunity for this experience to manifest itself into your life if you would like it to. Aside from recognizing your talents and strengths through writing, creating therapeutic drawings and utilizing sensory visualization exercises, I would like to recommend that you begin individual counseling services on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Having a safe space for you to share your thoughts, express your concerns and come up with a plan for change would likely assist you in building self esteem and attaining your goals. Going to group therapy sessions or a groupinar may be beneficial for you, as well. Essentially, it is up to you what you decide to do regarding your therapy. Lastly, I would like to share an inspirational quote with you written by an anonymous individual, who is full of dating wisdom: "Poor self esteem- everyone is beautiful in their own unique way. Everyone is capable of giving love and deserves to receive love. Everyone." Thank you again, PS, for asking this valuable question on the BetterHelp platform. I truly hope that my response was helpful for you in some way. Take good care, be optimistic and stay positive. Try to have some faith that things will work out in the right time and in the right way. I want to wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey! Have a wonderful day.
(LMHC, ATR-P, MS, NCC)
Answered on 11/08/2022

How can my girlfriend and I reignite the spark? And how can we better improve our communication?

I would suggest for you both to remember the first time you both got together or met. Also, remember when and how you fell in love. Talk about those times with one another to rekindle the relationship. When it comes to communication, I suggest learning how to fight or learning how to have conversations. This is a must. Using "I feel" statements, are quite powerful. For example, "I feel ________ when ______." Be mindful of tone of voice when having discussions. Remember to speak to each other with love and respect. Taking a 5-minute break, if you feel the conversation is getting heavy, might also be helpful. Do mindful breathing exercises during the 5-minute break, then revisit the conversation. Couples therapy is also very helpful. Having fruitful conversations about the positives of the relationship is key. If it is a long-distance relationship, evaluate if it would be better to move closer together or keeping it like it is. Perhaps each of you taking accountability for actions can also help. When there is ownership of something that went wrong, you or your partner may feel heard, understood and cared for. This also shows that there is an awareness of what struggles are happening in the relationship. Making a list of values that you both share and don't share can also help bond you both. Therefore, you can see each other's differences and learn to embrace the various characteristics of your relationship. This can help you both grow with one another. Deciphering the struggles in the relationship, which led to the break-up, can also illustrate what not to do next time you both give the relationship a go again. Decide to show up for yourselves in the relationship and making communication a priority is also a great way to set the standard for your relationship. Compromise and trust is key. Spending time with one another in person can also be powerful. Hugs and looking into each other's eyes stimulate the bonding and love hormones in your brain. It can bring you both closer to one another. Making a conscious choice to write love notes and send them to one another, will also further help with communication. 
(PsyD, MA, LMFT)
Answered on 11/01/2022

Why can't I stop overthinking and why do I get moody when she takes long to reply?

Hello Kit, additional information about the context of your situation might change my answer and the following is simply my perspective on what you've written, so I may be wrong, however, it seems that you are putting a lot of focus and energy on this person and that this isn't being reciprocated in the way you would like. There are lots of possible reasons for this, these include:1. That for one or more reasons this person is unfortunately not as invested in the relationship as you i.e. you are correct in how you feel about her not caring about you as much as she says.2. That she is equally invested in the development of the relationship but is actively being guarded or elusive because she gains satisfaction from being chased.3. That she is equally invested in the development of the relationship but simply has different expectations/established behavioral norms concerning the frequency of contact + response time.4. She may have other things happening in her life that you may or may not be aware of that could be draining a lot of time and energy.You can't help your biology and it seems clear that you want to develop the relationship but I encourage you to step back from the situation a little as overthinking and moodiness like you've described could have the effect of scaring or chasing her away if it escalates. Some people have avoidant attachment styles in their relationships with others, so it might not be that you are doing anything wrong. If your own attachment style is one that's anxious, then this will likely exacerbate the situation. It might be worth looking into attachment styles to at least gain some understanding of your own typical ways of behaving in relationships.If you notice yourself overthinking or having negative automatic thoughts, I encourage you to interrupt this patterning process and turn your thoughts to something positive or physically begin a new activity/task. Overthinking can be extremely limited and can take up a lot of time and energy so if you are struggling with this I recommend you put some strategies in place that will work for you to begin to change this.I hope that helps!
(Counsellor, Cognitive, Behavioural, Therapist)
Answered on 10/31/2022

Should I be starting a relationship so soon after ending one?

Hi Jacie! Thank you so much for asking this valuable question! I can tell that you are wondering about a plan to proceed with your next relationship. It sounds like you are debating whether or not you should be starting a relationship soon after ending your last relationship. Essentially, the answer to your question will have to come from you. I will do my best to provide you with some insight and guidance to help you make the best decision for yourself as possible! I know that you mentioned that you and your ex were together for sixteen years until you had separated due to his recent deployment. I would say that sixteen years is a long time to be in a relationship with someone. What were some of the highlights or important memories of this relationship? Did you make the decision to separate due to the physical separation of his deployment? Was this a mutual agreement for you both? Was there a time in which you two had considered getting back together after the deployment had ended? I can certainly imagine that staying with someone who is at risk of deployment at any given point would be a significant challenge for a relationship. It seems like you made the best decision for yourself at the time and chose to end the relationship. In addition, it sounds like since you have separated from your ex, you have started seeing someone else. Now that you have begun a new relationship, are you questioning whether or not you are ready to continue with the relationship with that individual? In what ways are your comparing your current boyfriend with your ex? How would you say that these two individuals are similar? What are some of their major differences? Take some time to contemplate some of these questions. I would like to encourage you to make a list of the qualities that you like to have in a partner. If you are comfortable with making a pros and cons list about each of these relationship experiences, that may be beneficial for you, as well. Perhaps you may also benefit from constructing a timeline of your relationship history. If you truly feel like it is simply too soon to start a new relationship, then it is okay to take a step back, take it slow, take a break and spend time focusing on yourself. Your needs are incredibly important and it is vital to take some time for yourself, especially in between ending a relationship and starting a new one. I realize that sometimes relationships are back to back or even overlap. It is ultimately up to you to decide if it is too soon for you to be with someone new or if you are ready to start fresh with someone else once again. I know that you mentioned that you have been trying to feel happy for some time now. What are some of the things that allow you to feel a sense of happiness? How would you describe your hobbies, interests and values? Perhaps you can begin the process of identifying your thoughts on happiness  and create a brainstorm, write a bullet point running list or start a word splash of your ideals for happiness. I think it makes sense why you would seek happiness for yourself. Maybe you can come up with a flow chart or a step by step list on how you can achieve happiness now and in the future. The fact that you would like to curl up into a ball may indicate that you are searching for a sense of comfort and security. I would like to recommend two different EMDR resourcing activities for you to try. The first one is the Butterfly Hug. The butterfly hug may bring you a sense of security. For this exercise, you cross your arms across your chest and envision your hands as butterfly wings. Gently tap your hands on your shoulders, arms or elbows and envision the flapping wings of a butterfly. This method is thought to bring physiological sense of calmness to individuals who are willing to try this tapping method. Here is a link to the an article of the butterfly hug directive and a YouTube video on this technique : https://emdrfoundation.org/toolkit/butterfly-hug.pdf https://youtu.be/iGGJrqscvtU I also think that it would be a good idea for you to try the inner peaceful place guided visualization activity. In this directive, you can imagine a personalized place of peace. What do you imagine seeing in your peaceful place? What sounds might you hear? What smells would there be? Take your time to imagine any tactile sensations or tastes that you would experience in this place of peace. No matter what you envision, remember that you can trust yourself to return to this place of inner peace at any time. Here is the link to the script for the inner peaceful place strategic: https://emdrtherapyvolusia.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Calm_Safe_Place.pdf In addition to trying out some of these techniques, I recommend creating some art work that depicts your vision for yourself and the future of your relationship. One idea could be to draw an image using lines, shapes and colors to represent the feelings, hopes and dreams of your current relationship. Perhaps you might be willing to color in the shapes of a coloring page, such as a mandala. You can also create a small sculpture using clay or Model magic. Contemplate what symbols you might choose to represent your feelings and experiences in your relationship. Lastly, I recommend that you begin attending individual counseling services on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. There is an option for you to attend a group or a groupinar on the BetterHelp platform. Trust in the healing nature of the therapeutic process. Thank you again, Jacie, for taking the time to ask this important question on the BetterHelp platform. I want to wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey!
(LMHC, ATR-P, MS, NCC)
Answered on 10/30/2022

I've had multiple broken relationships. It seems like something is wrong in my behavior and I need to change

Hi Archana! Thank you very much for asking this important question! It is great that you are reaching out for support at this time. I can tell that you are wondering if you need to make changes in your behavior due to the outcome of your last few relationships. It sounds like you are looking for some guidance on how to move forward and process your past relationships. Based on your question, it seems like you are feeling concerned about the various behavioral patterns in your past relationships. It is a really good thing that you are practicing self observational techniques and are willing to commit to change if needed. It appears that you have thought a lot about this and are contemplating what you should do next. Think of the cycle of change as a downward spiral and remember that change does not necessarily occur in a linear format. I know that you had mentioned that you have had multiple broken relationships in the past. I would be interested in hearing more about the context of how you perceive these relationships to be broken. It may be important for you to clarify this for yourself, as well. For example, was there heartbreak, broken communication patterns or a gap in time in which you took a break from the relationship and then resumed? Perhaps you mean something else entirely. At this time, have some hope that one day you will have a relationship that will last. Building healthy, trusting and strong relationships can take a lot of effort, energy and time. Do what you can to practice the principles of gratitude and patience. It might be helpful to write a gratitude list about the things you have learned in your past relationships. In addition, it sounds like you might benefit from creating a timeline which depicts your future goals for your relationships as well as outlines the length of time you spent with your partners in previous relationships. I recommend utilizing colors to depict the emotions that you felt at any given point in time. There is no time like the present to begin the process of healing through drawing, writing and creating. I understand that you may be worried that perhaps your behavior is the root cause of the problem. It is hard for me to say whether or not you need to change your behavior without me knowing exactly how you behaved in the relationships. I realize that you do not know what behavior you would like to change either. Take some time to practice self observational skills and begin to reflect on how you have behaved in the past. It sounds like you have an inkling that you may be giving too much in a relationship or perhaps too little. Are you thinking in terms of giving too much love, energy, effort, trust, etc.? What would you give more of in your next relationship, if you could? I also would like to encourage you to focus on your own strengths and expectations in a relationship. What are some qualities that you admire in a partner? What are some of your strengths and qualities that you bring to the relationship? If you could change the outcome of at least one your relationships, what would that look like for you? I recommend creating a running list or a word splash in order to further keep track of and express your thoughts and ideas. I realize that exploring some of these questions may be a challenge but have some faith in yourself that you can do it. I want to encourage you to trust in the process. Would you be willing to write down your thoughts in a therapeutic journal? I think it would be a great idea to keep track of your concerns on paper. After writing your thoughts down, you may be able to come up with some themes and connect the dots about what you could be doing and what you would do in a relationship. I will share with you the concept of the equality wheel which, in essence, encourages equal partnership and healthy relationships. From my perspective, this concept provides individuals and couples with hope that equal relationships are possible and can be attained. The equality wheel can certainly be a powerful, healing concept especially due to the fact that it is depicted in a circular formation. Circles are thought to be naturally healing as well as comforting in some cultures. After reviewing this resource, you may have a better understanding of what behaviors you could potentially change or what behaviors you want to see from your future partner. Here is a link to the equality wheel: http://www.ncdsv.org/images/equalitywheelnoshading.pdf Lastly, you may want to consider taking some time for yourself. It is okay to take a break from being in a relationship as you work on building your self care skills and your support system. In the meantime, you can make small changes in your life and to your routine. It is completely up to you how you want to move forward in the process of change. At this time, I would like to recommend individual counseling sessions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. The opportunity for therapy can be a foundation for change. In addition to one on one therapy sessions, you may also benefit significantly from group therapy sessions. The group therapy process is a great way to build a therapeutic alliance with other group members. Also, there are some options for groupinars on the BetterHelp platform in which you can learn more about how to improve your skills and process your experience in your past relationships. Thank you again, Archana, for taking the time to ask this vital question about your behavior and relationship patterns on the BetterHelp platform. I hope that my response was beneficial for you in some way. I want to wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey. Have a nice day!
(LMHC, ATR-P, MS, NCC)
Answered on 10/29/2022

I dont know whether to stay in my relationship?

Hi Rand! Thank you for taking the time to ask this valuable question! It is really great that you are reaching out for support about your relationship and are considering setting relationship goals for yourself at this time. I realize that you may be feeling uncertain about whether you should stay in your current relationship with your significant other. Ultimately, the decision is up to you and your partner. My hope is that I can guide you in this decision making process by providing you with some ideas on how to make a decision either way. How long have you been in the relationship with your significant other? What themes have you noticed coming up in regards to the arguments that you two have been having? I know that you mentioned that your partner is always starting arguments with you. How long has that been going on? I can tell that you are willing to take accountability and responsibility for certain things in situations when you may be realistically the one at fault. This speaks to your maturity and strength as a partner. I would also like to know how you choose to respond to your partner when arguments do arise. Also, how are you feeling about the situation? How do you react to your partner when they are constantly arguing with you? I can imagine how you must feel when you are blamed for certain things that are not actually within your power to control. Have you had the chance to speak with your partner about the nature of their concerns? In addition, have you spoken with your partner about how the arguing behavior makes you feel? Answering some of these questions may help you in understanding more about you yourself and your relationship. Would you consider journaling about this experience? There is a journal feature on BetterHelp which provides specific journal prompts for you to write about on a daily basis. Therapeutic writing can be incredibly helpful in making sense of specific experiences and is beneficial to the healing process. Try writing an entry that is based on free association techniques or create a world splash that describes your relationship. This technique will allow you to visually see on paper what you are thinking. Free association is when an individual writes down the first thoughts that come to mind in the moment and steps back from evaluating the thoughts or having judgement.  I am also wondering if you would be willing to create a therapeutic drawing of your relationship. You may want to consider creating a kinetic couples drawing. Essentially, this means that you will create a drawing of you and your partner doing something, such as an activity or shared interest. This may give you further insight into your current relationship. Another art based approach would be to draw you and your partner as symbols. Think about what some of your hobbies and interests are and draw yourself and your partner as something in a symbolic and representative way. These art based and drawing activities can be inspiring for you to take part in as a couple. As for one more drawing related idea, you could color in a picture, such as a mandala, together as a team. The circular shape of the mandala can be incredibly powerful, healing and soothing. Coloring within a circle can be relaxing and has been scientifically proven to lower heart rate and reduce blood pressure. Take turns sharing colored pencils, markers or pens in a shared the space. I hope that you two can practice some team work together and maybe put together a puzzle or build a garden or a sculpture. How can you demonstrate to your partner that you want to improve and that you are paying attention? Based on what you wrote in your question, it seems like your partner is dissatisfied and would like you to do more activities with them. Would you be willing to make a plan to do one activity together per week? Could you both carve out time for a mutually agreed upon activity? You could start this practice by going on a ten minute walk with your partner twice per week. This will also give you two the opportunity to share your thoughts and talk about how things are going in the relationship. It sounds concerning that you have stopped doing the activities that you used to enjoy. Would you say that you are noticing a loss of interests in the activities that you love? Is your relationship impacting your drive to participate in your hobbies? I want to encourage you to take some time to focus on yourself. The best thing that you can do in any given moment is focus on taking care of you. Here is a list of coping skills that you can incorporate in your self care routine: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5c154cf9372b964a03cbccdb/t/5c488d65352f534aa63aa58a/1548258661324/100+Coping+Skills.pdf At this time, I will send you the diagram that depicts aspects of a healthy, equal relationship. I hope that things improve over time and that you are able to get to a point of a more equal relationship. http://www.ncdsv.org/images/equalitywheelnoshading.pdf At this time, I recommend individual counseling sessions on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Talking about this situation with a neutral provider might help you to manage the feelings that you are experiencing. When in therapy, it is truly important to trust in the therapeutic process. You can also consider going to couples counseling sessions now or in the future. I hope that the two of you can begin to take on a sense of shared responsibility if you do decide to move forward in the relationship. Thank you again for taking the time to ask this question. I want to wish you all the best on your therapeutic journey. I sincerely hope that response has been helpful for you in some way. Take good care and have a nice day!
(LMHC, ATR-P, MS, NCC)
Answered on 10/28/2022