Relationships Answers

How to move on after I got back with my ex wife?

Hi there, I am glad that you reached out. It sounds like you and you partner have been through a lot. I don't know the full context of your situation including how long you have been together and other relevant history such as what happened that caused you to feel disrespected. Often times, when someone disrespects us, it can feel like a breach of trust because when we are in a relationship we trust that the other person has our best interests at heart. On the other hand, sometimes we can have trouble with taking things too personally and it can be difficult to communicate with us. I would make sure that you take a deep look at yourself and spend some time thinking and journaling about times in the past, all the way back to childhood, that we felt disrespected by someone else. It's important that when we ask someone in a relationship to take responsibility for their actions that we are making sure that we are also taking responsibility for ours. I would work to heal any last memories that bring up intense feelings for you, especially those memories in which you felt disrespected. Being disrespected can also make us feel out of control and out of power. I would work on ensuring that you feel deeply rooted and comfortable in your own personal power so that what others think and say doesn't become so impactful to us. I would then ask your partner to write down their top 5 priorities of things you want to change and/or fix in your relationship together. Then I would write down your top 5 priorities in your relationship that you want to change or improve. Then I would sit down together and agree to be open and vulnerable with each other and establish safety and trust by both committing to really hearing the other person's needs and talk about both your lists of top 5 priorities. Then you can see how you can each support each other. I would each focus on how you can best support each other and start from there. 
(MS, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 11/17/2022

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

I want a divorce but I don't know how to initiate it. What should I do?

I am so very sorry about your pain and distress pertaining to considering separation and divorce from your husband. It is indeed a weighty decision that results in challenges within associated emotions/ actions. I am glad to know that you have familial support via your mother and cousin.  It sounds like you are experiencing distress while weighing the potential changes to your relationship status such as the change in your housing;  your spouse's emotional health status; the potential change in your access to your shared family pet; and the potential change to your financial status.  All of your concerns are valid. However, if you decide to proceed with the separation/ divorce, it will be very important for you to be mindful of not assuming total responsibility for your spouse's emotional health status. You can not save him or yourself from the pain that is associated with the process. However, you can utilize current familial supports/ consider adding to your supports (individual therapy), and proceed towards maintaining a focus towards acknowledging, processing, and managing your own grief process. If you move forward with the separation/ divorce, it sounds as if you may have to compromise on your own timeline/ expectations. You may want to accept your mother's offer to live with her much sooner than you would like to. It does not sound like your spouse is willing to and/ or able to accept your decision to separate/ divorce, and that he continues to push emotional and physical boundaries. Plying you with gifts while failing to change any behaviors is a form of manipulation and an attempt to avoid the core issues. That is a form of power and control. It does not sound as if he will cease efforts to engage in intimacy with you. He likely feels hopeful that continuing to compliment you may distract you from your desire to see substantial change within the relationship.  I empathize with you, and I encourage you to give yourself a great deal of grace at this difficult time in your journey. I hope that you will experience increasing peace and clarity as you navigate this time in your life. Kind regards, Erica
(JD, LMSW, CCTP)
Answered on 11/17/2022

Why do I care so much that someone who adds no value to my life at all doesn't like me?

Human beings are generally social which often drives us to build and maintain relationships with others. We are taught to "treat others as you would like to be treated" and are taught interpersonal effectiveness skills as we grow up to assist us with building healthy relationships. Even though we "know" not everyone in life likes one another and sometimes someone can not like you for no apparent reason, it is a natural response to be bothered by it. If you feel generally liked by others, being unliked by someone with no explanation feels strange and uncomfortable. A way to cope and reduce feeling bothered would be to shift your focus from "why am I so bothered" to "I accept how they feel and realize it does not determine my day". The uncertainty of why they are behaving the way that they are may actually be the bothersome factor opposed to being bothered that they do not like you. Their behavior does not make sense to you so it presents itself as a problem to be solved. When you accept that it is not a problem to be solved since it is out of your control and a situation to accept and move forward in a way that makes you more comfortable the bothersome feeling will reduce. Taking inventory on if their behaviors actually impact your day or if it is your reaction to their behaviors that impacts your day is a great place to start. Using the rule of 5 when you notice that you are getting upset can help reduce the emotional charge. For the rule of 5 you would start by asking yourself: "Will this matter in 5 minutes? In 5 hours? In 5 days? In 5 weeks? In 5 Months? In 5 years?" As you go down the list you can better determine if your emotional charge matches how long the situation will actually impact you.  Reminding yourself that they are a colleague, who you only see at work which is a determined window of time limiting their influence over your life, is another way to keep the situation in perspective. Distress tolerance skills can be useful as well, especially with reducing the emotional charge from any tense interactions before going home so that you have boundaries with what is going on and it does not seep into other areas of your life. 
Answered on 11/16/2022

How do I cope with deteriorating friendships?

Hello, First, it sounds painful when you notice there is a lack of give and take in your friendships. It sounds like it creates a lot of hurt, pain, loneliness and resentment- I'm just assuming and correct me if I'm off on this. I'll give you a few ways to cope with all of this with a few set ways and clarification on some ideas. The first area I would focus on is what is forgiveness and what is not. I think forgiveness is often no longer holding onto the "poison" we may be drinking. It sounds like you're at a boundary breaking point with your friends over feeling betrayed for being there for them and that not being reciprocated- it's incredibly painful. I think often we have to understand that forgiveness doesn't mean they get to walk all over us. Forgiveness is seeing what they've done and see that as the truth and deciding how you want to participate. It's not forgetting, yet it's 'I have different boundaries with them unless things change.' It often also allows you to listen to yourself and nurture your own self and asking what you need vs. blaming or holding onto grudges, ill will, etc.- we all do that at times here.  To do this I'm breaking down these steps which can be stepping stones for your path to forgiveness Identity what you possibly want to forgive (this can be a way to cope with deterioriating relationship). I would write down something like, "Tom didn't text me back when I was at my lowest of lows." Next to each thing you may be trying to forgive is you put a number 0-5. 0 means I am not willing to forgive no matter what! to a 5 means I've let it go and maybe have some strong emotions and want to decide how I participate with this transgression that has happened. Next would be deciding what your commitment is to forgiving? Is it to start to connect to a relationship? Reminding yourself that forgiveness doesn't equal being walked on? Etc. There are a lot of health benefits and social/mental benefits to forgiving.  Now outside of forgiving. I might do a script for communicating my disappointment / asking for wants/needs from them. They might not know what they don't know. I usually use a script like this when expressing or saying no to something... Describe- I notice that... when I reached out for help I didn't hear a follow up Express- I feel disappointed by the response Assert- I  would like clarity if something was missed on my end? Reinforce- I've really enjoyed our relationship and don't want to sit in disappointment because you all are important to me, etc. The goal is to assert yourself clearly on this. It can be a very helpful tool and can be looked up online with DEAR MAN script. I hope this helps giving two ideas a start.  I wish you the best, Mitchell Daas, MA, LPCC
(MA, LPCC)
Answered on 11/16/2022

I can’t see my future. It makes me scared. And I just broke up with ex. It makes it much harder.

Hello Jina, Thank you for providing your question to the BetterHelp platform! First, I hope this response finds you well, settling in to New York and doing your best to be as kind to yourself as possible, especially as you adjust to all the changes you have recently made in your life. I know relocation is not easy and may be even harder for you, as you  have had unexpected setbacks, such as your breakup with your now ex-boyfriend, to contend with in between. Second, I want to give you confidence and assure you that, despite the language barrier, you did a wonderful job articulating yourself here, describing the situation at hand and the emotional consequences you are experiencing very well. I understood perfectly.  I will address your questions as they were written. My thoughts are as follows: 1. If you are wondering how you can arrange living in the US, specifically in NY with limited resources, it is first important that you examine the resources you have at present time. Do you have a driver license, birth certificate, a working visa, etc. In order to get a job, get benefits, help from the department of social services, or other entities that require citizenship or active visa status, you must hold these documents. If you have limited resources, NYS has a plethora of options, a simple google search or visit to your local department of social services can give you more options related to those who require assistance when they have a status as an immigrant. If you want to maintain here, you have got to get yourself aligned with resources and supports first and foremost before the weather really turns and the holidays begin. Things get complicated and take much longer during these times. 2. Depression in the context of a breakup is not uncommon. You have just lost a long-term relationship where you saw your life going one way and it went another. It can feel like grieving the loss of a dear loved one. These things take time and intention to heal. You can spend time going over whether it was your fault or their fault, whether you were right and they were wrong or vice versa, or you can decide to live your life with the current truths present and accounted for - they are that the relationship has ended and you must move forward, building new patterns where you love yourself and treat yourself the way you had hoped your partner would. You need to do your best to take care of yourself physically - take walk during safe times and get fresh air, eat well, pattern your behaviors in new ways that are not related to the old relationship so you can show your body and your mind that you are moving forward with confidence in spite of the heartache you are enduring. You can do it! 3. Self-love requires self-trust, self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-reliance. Engage in behaviors that create the narrative that you will always show up for yourself, that you will protect yourself. Talk to yourself kindly as you navigate your new environment, be open to doing things that make you feel happy all on your own and savoring those moments. This is how we build self-love by saying we love ourself and then truly acting like it. You want self-love, give it! Everyday, every minute. I hope this is helpful to you. Please return to the BetterHelp platform should you have more questions. We love them and love to help. I am wishing you all the best of luck and light during these hard times. Rooting for you always!
(MSSW, LCSW, LICSW)
Answered on 11/16/2022

When am I going to move on?

Hi! A pleasure to meet you! I am Lorena, LMFT (marriage and family therapist). Thanks for opening up to me and sharing some of your current struggles/ issues you are dealing with. I hear your words and your commitment to feeling better so hopefully this answer will help! It is pretty normal when we have a committed partner to devote ourself to them fully; without realizing that we need us more than anyone. It sounds like you were pretty committed to this person and the relationship you both had so you decided to invest yourself fully in him.. I can't imagine what being in the same city without him looks like. It probably reminds you about a lot of things and it is hard not to have him in your head a lot of the time. Plus, dedicating yourself to him and not opening up to other people! That's pretty normal, so we will process this together. You probably have changed as a person after that relationship so it is hard to picture yourself with people from before; it is not that you became a better or worst person, you just changed and transformed, probably your needs/ likes/ desires and hopes did as well! I wonder how can you meet new people. First exercise: write down some of your coping mechanisms, things that make you happy nowadays and let's think about meeting people in those situations; cooking classes, yoga, fitness centers, music classes, etc! Think about the person you are and want to continue being and invest yourself in that! I hear how you are scared of being vulnerable again and opening up to a new relationship! Makes a lot of sense, clearly you were in a committed relationship where you dedicated yourself to one person. Opening up your heart again and dating/ going out is equal to being vulnerable, which means putting your wall/ guard down and opening up and letting also the fear/ concern play a role. Yes, your heart may get broken again; but that is very normal and part of the relationship; it's actually a very normal part of dating. A pro of dating is not only making the relationship work out but also getting to know yourself with different people. Perhaps, different individuals teach you something about yourself that you did not know was there! The only way in which you can continue becoming the amazing person you are is by exposing. When you are secure of your needs as a person the way that a break up affects you will be very different; which means that it will hurt but you will understand it different as well!  Exercise 2: accountability mirror: stand in front of a mirror and everyday grab a sticky note and write something you like about yourself; paste it in the mirror and notes will be adding up! send me a picture if you can! Conclusion: So working together we would do a little bit of inner work where you can find that peace and acceptance with yourself; we would focus on being vulnerable, letting yourself understand fear and talking about your needs as a person. I always send a therapy worksheet before we meet so I will do that with you as well so I can have your goals and needs for the future. Let me know if you have any questions! Respectfully, Lorena Klahr, Licensed marriage and family therapist
(LMFT)
Answered on 11/15/2022

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

Every time my boyfriend leaves I feel sad.

Childhood rejection and abandonment issues can manifest in many ways during adulthood.  Sometimes in ways that we don't even notice.  Working with your therapist to identify specific events when you felt abandoned early on is a good place to begin.  Once you've got your target memories in place, you can begin to heal from these things.  You can begin reprocessing these events to file them more efficiently and effectively in your brain, thus creating new neuro-pathways to process current and future events in a healthier way.  You've taken the first step by identifying a troubling behavior and acknowledging its possible root cause.  The rest takes time, but self-awareness is a vital and fundamental piece of healing from trauma (and any other illness for that matter). It is important that you have a therapist who you feel comfortable with.  Someone who takes the time to get to know you as an individual. There are several modalities of treatment that therapists engage in to address childhood traumatic events.  Sometimes, the mere act of saying these things out loud can alleviate symptoms and take the power away from them.  There is almost always an element of traditional talk therapy regardless of which modality you choose.   Most therapists are trained well in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and will often ask you to identify faulty or distorted thinking patterns.  For example, when your boyfriend leaves, what is your automatic thought? (ie "He's never coming back", "I'm not good enough", or "something awful will happen to him").  They may challenge that thought or thinking pattern and ask you what evidence you have that those things are a possibility.  Solution-focused brief therapy interventions are often helpful and basically help you to identify all of the strengths you already possess from your past in order to get through difficult times now and in the future.  Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing therapy, if tolerated, basically simulates the Rapid Eye Movement period of your sleep cycle while you are awake in order to go through the memory, identify body sensations and emotions that come up while you are thinking about the memory, and typically results in alleviation in symptoms.  Of course these are very remedial and brief definitions and there are many more modalities that therapists use.  I strongly encourage you to research modalities of treatment that you are interested in.  Therapy is not a "one size fits all" sort of thing.  No matter what modality of treatment you choose, the therapist/client relationship has proven to be the most notable predictor of outcomes.  Your therapist should be open to you asking questions of them, be accepting and non-judgmental, and should meet you where you are at.  Addressing trauma history is not for the faint of heart.  It is hard emotional work and you will be exhausted on some therapy days. Make sure you prepare well by getting plenty of rest, taking time for self-care, and staying hydrated.  Best wishes on your journey!
(LPC, LAC)
Answered on 11/15/2022

Why am I always the odd one out ..it's like no one cares about me, not even my family and relatives..

Hello Lewie, Thank you for reaching out with your statement.  I'm not really sure what you are trying to ask here, so I will do my best in trying to provide you some answers to your pressing situation.First, is this how you feel or is this reality?  Sometimes, when we think the worst about ourselves, it is not necessarily the truth.  As humans, we have a tendency to think negative self loathing comments when we don't feel good about ourselves, but that doesn't necessary mean that is what is happening.  It is just our negative perception, since we are thinking and feeling negatively.  However, if you feel this way, it may be good for you to talk to a licensed professional therapist to help you understand your family system and dynamics.  Yet, you had mentioned that you have more enemies, than friends.  If this truly is the case, then a therapist can also help you sort out why this is the case for you.  What type of behaviors do you do that set people off?  What kind of things do you say, to make people walk away from you?  Or, is this just your perception and not really reality?  A therapist can help you overcome these feelings or help navigate you into understanding people better and how you are relating to them.If you feel people are going against you all the time, then maybe you are acting or doing something to turn people off from you?  Can you recall times you said or did something and they reacted or responded by withdrawing?  Maybe you need to learn some positive ways to interact with others so they want to engage with you.  It may be good to sit with one of your friends or family members that you trust and ask for feedback to help you gain insight on how you can be a better person, friend, or family member.I hope this helps and I wish you nothing but the best on trying to resolve this within yourself and I hope you are able to gain insight into yourself and into your relationships with others.
Answered on 11/15/2022

How would you advise to get over an ex quickly?

Hello Craig, and thanks for reaching out to seek answers to your question!  You ask a very important one and are certainly having an experience in which you are not alone.   Learning to find your way through challenges in personal relationships can be a lifelong journey and is a very common area of concern for many people.  Unfortunately when those relationships dissolve there can be strong residual feelings that can linger afterwards.  These feelings can come in all different forms and experiences and can combine leading us to feel overwhelmed and even confused at times.  We may feel a mixture of emotions including but certainly not limited to those such as sadness, guilt, anger, fear, abandonment, rejection, insecurity, and despair when a relationship dissolves.  We may at times also feel emotions we might not even expect, such as a feeling of relief.   Often we  experience another emotion which we may not expect. The feeling of grief.  Sometimes these feelings can reside in us for a very long time and other times we can make our way through the experience relatively quickly.   This can depend upon the quality and length of the relationship in question, the attachment by each partner involved, reasons for the dissolution of the relationship, to name a few considerations.  When we experience losing a loved one (family, friend, pet etc) due to death (or significant disruption or discontinuation of the relationship) we commonly experience a response to that loss called grief.  There are many stages we go through within the grieving process. These may include feelings of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and ultimately (hopefully) acceptance.   Unfortunately there is no way to expedite the grieving process.  It is unique to each individual and each relationship the person is grieving.  It is important when trying to heal from a breakup or end of a relationship that one allows themselves the time and space they need to adequately reflect upon their true feelings and experiences. Only through the process of feeling these emotions can one truly heal enough to find the place of reaching acceptance.  When healing from the loss of a relationship through a breakup or abrupt change, it can be helpful to take a time of respite for oneself.  It can be useful to develop new habits and routines. Revisit what activities you enjoy.  Spend time with new friends.  It is also important to take the time you need to offer yourself patience, compassion, and self love during this time.  It may be helpful to try to avoid seeing the person you are no longer with (if this is a result of a breakup) while you are developing new routines and patterns.  Of course without knowing more about your unique situation it is hard to provide more specific details or recommendations.  It might benefit you to consider speaking to a licensed professional clinician to further explore your history and experiences with the relationship and any areas of personal development that may enhance and promote improved health in any future relationships.  In the meantime, I wish you well and hope you found this helpful! Best of luck. 
Answered on 11/15/2022

How to move on and let go of another person and bring back the lost part of you which only existed with them

Sam, It sounds like it was a very difficult situation, and some really hard times. I am also hearing that maybe you didn't have an idea it would end that way and really feeling like it would have been a little easier if you had been able to get some more closure from the situation. It is really hard when we don't feel like we got the answers to all of the questions that we had.. It is important to remember that this is a time of grieving and grieving not only the person that isn't there in your life at this time, but also of what you thought that the future might hold for the two of you. Grief takes some time and it is important to allow yourself some space to feel all the things that you feel.  It isn't clear from your message Sam how long ago this all happened, but if you feel that it is taking longer to start to recover from this situation than you are comfortable with I would consider seeing a mental health professional to help you make sense of everything and give you tools to manage the feelings.  It is hard when we don't have the closure that we would like but sometimes we have to do that for ourselves, of course that is easier said than done, but a professional may be able to help you find some tools to move through that. Sometimes it can be helpful to write a letter and say everything you need to say, even though they will never read it, it gives you a space to say your peace without having to censor yourself. We process things differently when we put language to them.  Self care will be really important right now, making sure you are sleeping and eating so that you have the energy to deal with the emotions that come up. Maybe even trying to find some online support groups for individuals that are going through the end of a relationship. I hope that this was at least a little helpful Sam. Best wishes,  Lorraine
(MS, LCPC, NCC)
Answered on 11/14/2022

How do i handle my mental health and my friendship?

Hi there, and thank you for reaching out with your question regarding your mental health and the future of your friendship with your close female friend. In your question, you seem to wonder how you can preserve this friendship with her after her marriage, and how you can work on your mental health in the face of this uncertainty. There are some ambiguities in your message which makes it difficult to be very specific about the situation. For instance, you state that you became "attached" to her - this could mean a deep emotional connection, or a romantic attraction, or both. From the tone of your message I assume there was something romantic there perhaps, especially given your concern that her husband may not "allow" her to stay in contact with you (I'm also not sure of whether you are male or female, which may also be of importance in this situation). You also say she stopped talking to you after the engagement as she knew of your "condition" - does this mean she was aware you were attracted to her and therefore broke off the friendship to spare your feelings? If so, it could be that she wishes to set a boundary with you as she may feel it would be unfair and inappropriate of her to continue a friendship with someone who has an attraction to her, as well as being difficult to manage possibly further down the line. You can't force someone to want to stay friends with you, and oftentimes it's better to say goodbye and let go gracefully. First of all, it would be wise to consider what is best for yourself in this situation. Your friend sounds like she is settled and moving on with another part of her life, so now is a great time for you to think about what you want. You say you want to maintain a healthy friendship with her, but you are frightened of losing her. Think about why it is that you're so frightened of losing her - what would this mean to you, if you did lose her? What does this person symbolize to you? Perhaps you felt that there could be a romantic connection between you, which has now become impossible, and this is a sad, hurt feeling for you, possibly a feeling of rejected or being abandoned. Maybe you feel not good enough. Or possibly, you two were very close and you shared things together, and there are not many other people in your life who you have this connection with, and you are mourning the loss of this closeness. You say she is always on your mind, and it must be very difficult and distressing for you to be feeling this level of anxiety and concern about her, and worrying about what the future of your friendship will look like - if there will be a future. You say that in your heart you want closure, but what does this mean? It is not always possible to have the perfect continuation of a friendship, and she may not wish for it either. You will not be able to control how she feels about you or the friendship, and, if you feel very distressed about this, it may not be wise for you to try to cling to this friendship. Think about how you will feel if she becomes more distant, should she have children or become more involved in her new life. It is better for you to focus on yourself, rather than her. As such, in order to maintain good mental health, the wisest course of action would be to let go of the attachment to her by building up other areas of your life. If you are feeling lonely and bereft without her, now is the time to start forming new friendships and possibly looking into dating other people. You can pour time and energy into other projects, career, socializing, family or hobbies, and this will take your mind off of your friend, while also giving you the chance to find happiness and satisfaction elsewhere. Honor the friendship for what it was, rather than wishing things were different. If your friend does want to stay in contact, then you can see how you feel about this, and it will become a bonus in your life rather than a necessity. I hope this answer is helpful to you and I wish you all the best for the future. Eleanor
Answered on 11/14/2022

Should I wait?

Hi there, Sorry your heart aches!  I have the same question you do, why now?  Did you ever ask him that?  Did something happen that you are aware of or was it out of nowhere that one day he changed? Do you believe him about his reasons for stopping to see you?  Why does he still call every day?  I know you might not know why either. It sounds kind of unusual but could it be true that he is in therapy and trying to fix the situation in some way?  If he still calls, it could be that he is trying to stay connected to you despite being unable or willing to be in a relationship.  I would suggest the next time you talk, be aware of how the conversation makes you feel, both during and after.  Do you feel uplifted and expanded or sad and upset after talking to him? I guess to be honest I hear some "red flags", but I get that if he seemed wonderful you might not want to completely give up on him and the relationship.  However, if he is clearly telling you he doesn't want to be in a relationship now, then I would suggest starting to try to accept that.  If someone else is interesting to you (to date)...be safe about it but I say go for it!  Stay busy if you can! It doesn't sound like you are in a committed relationship and you are worthy of one if you want that. There's nothing wrong with a dating break and some time being single either. Maybe you could kind of leave the door open for the future but if "Mr Right" won't even see you it might NOT be right for now.  I get that you might be hurt, confused and frustrated.  But so much in life is timing.  For some (kind of odd) reason the timing isn't right for him, then yes if you can, move on! Those are my thoughts without knowing more. Also try not to take it personally, as is sounds like whatever issues he has are his. Thanks for your question!  Good luck! 
Answered on 11/14/2022

How do I become enough for myself? How do I love myself enough to not let anyone affect my mood?

It sounds like you are in a committed relationship with a person, for over a year. You feel validated by this person and they are meeting your needs. You are noticing that this is filling a gap that you have experienced, not having a father.  When you say you don't know how to express your feelings, in a healthy way.. I'm curious as to what this looks like. You say that it all gets held in until this explodes. I'm curious if this explosion comes out in anger, love bombing, etc? It sounds like you don't have a significant experience with a male partner attending to these needs in the past, so your presence and then absence volley back in forth is coming from your inability to know how to attend to this relationship. How would you know if you haven't had that? Your defenses are likely coming up in attempts to keep you safe. Especially if people attending to these needs in the past, resulted in negative consequences. Your brain/body isn't quite sure how to respond here. So it separates from others (maybe because others have hurt you in the past), yet it knows it needs that social connection, so it comes on back and you attempt to connect with this person.  I think that getting started in therapy could benefit you significantly. I know you mentioned he is like your therapist, but having this outside support could be exactly what you need to achieve the skills to communicate effectively, regulate your emotions.  DBT is a specific modality of treatment that I think could be beneficial for you!  I will note some outlines of DBT below:  There are 5 unique and key elements to DBT. The first would be enhancing your capabilities in regulating emotions, paying attention to your experiences utilizing mindfulness and regulating your attention to even “notice” your experiences. Generalizing these capabilities into your every day life. Improving motivation and reducing your dysfunctional behaviors, structuring your environment to reduce reinforcements of negative behaviors, and lastly – the therapist engaging in routine clinical consultation which is also very unique to DBT (as this is continuously required if practicing formal DBT.)  There is a heavy emphasis on your emotions, with a balance between knowing you do need to change some aspects, but accepting what one cannot, and a lot of mindfulness and present moment interventions.  The specific skills that are learned are as follows: Mindfulness, as I already noted, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness (objective, relationship, self-respect). 
(LPC, MS)
Answered on 11/13/2022

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

How to handle difficult in-laws

Hello Clara, It seems that you and your husband are feeling dismissed by your brother-in-law and his wife. This may make it an uncomfortable dynamic to be around the family for you and your husband. It is important that you and your husband set clear boundaries of respect between your in-laws. If they were willing to sit with you and your husband privately to have a genuine conversation about how their behavior toward you affects your relationship with them. Be objective and consider their feelings too in relation to the strain in the dynamic. If your mother-in-law is behaving in the same manner the son may be more drawn to think that is acceptable; therefore his wife could be pulled in without much awareness of how it is affecting you and your husband.  Also, do you think that your mother in law would be willing to sit with you and your husband to have an open conversation about how certain areas may be sensitive and are keeping you up at night worrying and unsettled? It may have no impact on them making a change; therefore, it is imperative that you and your husband develop cohesion and boundaries when allowing others to impact your relationship and self-esteem. To do this you have to be aware of not only your physical boundaries but your emotional and psychological boundaries. You can do this by learning effective communication styles and skills of what you will and won't accept from others regardless of family or not. You have a right to feel secure and not subject to feeling less than anyone. Do not allow this type of unhealthy behavior and let them know you will not be subjected to it and have an outlet with your husband if this could occur. You and your husband would benefit from learning communication styles that are healthy and cohesive in your relationship dynamic allowing for an alliance between you that will make it clear about acceptance in your relationship and how you will correspond in social settings with the family members. Writing down your triggers with them will help you become more resilient, objective, and tolerant of others' behaviors and responses in conversations. Remember this is not your behavior. Practicing some grounding techniques before approaching may be effective too. Mindfulness skills would be added to help you with emotional regulation and be able to express your thoughts and emotions more clearly when setting these boundaries. Using a wise-mind approach will allow you to not take their behavior personally. I encourage building solid self-confidence knowing who you are, your beliefs, values, and your own identity, and where you stand in what you will accept in your relationships. Taking this approach leaves little tolerance for any unhealthy unwanted behaviors or mindsets. You and your husband can learn to separate yourself from ridicule or hostile judgment. Each week we can work on skills that enhance your cognitive awareness and ways to express your feelings appropriately. You can start to develop goals and objectives such as learning effective communication or interpersonal skills, learning three methods of coping skills to decrease any anxiety you may feel, and working through feelings of intensity and thought disruptions. I recommend journaling daily to enhance thought processes and gain clarity on the presenting issues that brought you to counseling. It's a process that takes patience with yourself and gaining a sense of self-care and soothing when you feel unsettled. By being clear you will gain the tools to validate your feelings and desires of how you want to be treated by others. You and your husband can also work together with some worksheets I will send you and practice boundaries and communication styles. Once these boundaries are established you can then meet with them to share these changes and what is acceptable and what isn't. These will not change how they respond which is out of your control; however, you get to say what is allowed in your life. It is taking your energy and time when we have no control over how they will respond to your emotional needs. Use these tools effectively and continue to practice on a consistent basis therefore you will see and be able to measure your results in an effective manner. I hope that this brings you some insight and hope for results. Take your time on learning these methods and skills to enrich all your relationships throughout the course of your life. Relationships are rich and desirable as long as they do no harm. You have to be mindful and keep your emotions safe by setting boundaries with others that you allow in your life. Keep an open mind that others may not be able to see objectively as you and will remain stuck in a negative judgmental mindset. This is not our energy to control anything that others do. Challenge yourself to work through your triggers and anxiety related to all these thoughts that you may be ruminating at night about. Try to rest and eat healthily, exercise is very beneficial for mood regulation too. Use coping strategies when feeling triggered or anxious around social situations with your in-laws. I hope to see you next week and look forward to helping you reach your therapeutic goals in relationship building and such. Remember that therapy is a process of deep rich connection with yourself and your goals and desires. We will explore your strengths further but also any limitations that you feel you may have. I hope that you will build on your confidence and confide in a support group if needed. This will only enhance your knowledge and outlets. Hope that you have some coping skills and feel confident approaching this very delicate situation. I will send more material and assessment screenings to rule out any other adjustments that could be present. You will find this in your platform with direction and guidance in application and skillset. Take care and let me know if you need anything between our sessions. 
Answered on 11/13/2022

How can we rebuild trust?

Hi Char, Thank you for reaching out and asking this question. You are not alone struggling with this type of situation. It is hard to trust when someone has broken your trust since because your guards will be up for this person in anticipation of being hurt again. However, this does not mean that a relationship and trust cannot be rebuilt again. It will take time and nurturing and a lot of reflection on the relationship issues before you can go back to that level of or even deeper.  It would be best to take professional help- couples counseling in which you would be guided by a mental health professional to get a better understanding of your relationship. It is important to know the strengths and weaknesses of your relationship and the reason why she chose to leave. Was there an unresolved issue that never came to the surface or some other level of dissatisfaction that perhaps she wasn't able to communicate to you? As we start to unfold these answers you will discover more about her, yourself and your relationship. Many times couples don't realize the underlying issues in the relationship and deal with problems that are on the surface. This eventually leads to bursting a bubble though both partners are sincere and wanted to work on the relationships. In this scenario, if both couples are willing to work on the relationship then it is possible for it to work.  This will require you to take some time to think more about your feelings and see where you stand and how much hurt remains in your heart. You should take some time to heal and to think about how you can forgive her. Once you are over this step, then you can start working on the relationship and how it can be improved. It seems that there is potential in the relationship and a mental health professional can guide you in repairing and rebuilding the lost trust as well as helping you overcome this. I wish you the best and hope that everything works out for you.  Best,  Dr. Saima 
(PHD, MS, MA)
Answered on 11/13/2022

Why do I still love my exes but i have a boyfriend

Hi, thank you for your question! I know it can be difficult to reach out for some help, so I would like to thank you for taking this first step.  In the subject line it's states that you are thinking of your exes even though you're in a relationship. Further in to your question you outline that you feel that you partner isn't understanding of what you're bringing and that you haven't said "I love you" yet as there is a hesitant feeling of being the first person to say this, also you expressed that you don't know if you do "Love" them.  When looking at the first part, we could be comparing our old relationships to this one and seeing how we felt towards those people and how we feel toward our current partner. This could be something as simple as the basic communication isn't there. The appeared lack of understanding can be draining as you can feel like you're not being heard, this can and will add a strain to the relationship. In the last part you expressed not knowing if you love them as you can't say it due to not wanting to be the first. There sounds like a lot of unknowing in the relationship, what I mean by this is that you may not be getting what you want out of it.  If you're not getting anything from the relationship we can explore speaking only to our partner and seeing how to progress and have a future. If however we've done this and nothing appears to have changed we then need to look at if the relationship is worth keeping and what is best for ourselves moving forward as it's not healthy to stay in a relationship just for companionship. When it comes to relationships we also need to explore the relationship with ourselves as it's important to have a solid foundation in order for us to have boundaries in relationships, to keep ourselves safe.  I hope this has been useful, if you would like to explore this further please don't hesitate to get in touch! 
Answered on 11/12/2022

How do you deal with rejection from your family?

Family rejection is very hard to go through, especially after your family discovering qualities that define parts of who you are. Healing from family rejection takes time, allowing yourself to truly accept yourself as you, being who you want to be without guilt, and reminding yourself you would be doing more damage by being the person they may want you to be. As a person, you have to reflect and remind yourself that you are being who YOU want to be. You have control and every right to be who you want to be and who you want to be with. Sadly, we cannot control the reactions or approvals from others - even our family. Family does not always have to be blood. Reach out to any individuals in your family that do accept who you are. Set boundaries with those who do not so you aren't continuing to hurt because of something you cannot control. It's never easy possibly losing someone or family because their rejection of who we are. Would you rather live for others (not yourself) for their approval - or be who you are and be around the support team that accepts you truly? Healing is reminding yourself that being who you are is nothing to be ashamed/ guilty about. Sometimes healing is accepting the difficult truth that family may never come around - but that is not a reflection towards you. It is a reflection towards them that they are making their bias mindset hinder a familial relationship. Reach out to others that can relate to you, find a community that can help/assist you with empowering who you are to reduce the feeling of being rejected. Embrace your qualities that you love about yourself, try and work on your self esteem to remove the rejection feeling. The most important thing to remind yourself is at the end of the day, you have your brain and yourself. Live the days being yourself and doing things to remind your brain you did nothing wrong. Sometimes family comes around years later after education or removing bias. But don't hold onto relationships that hurt you more holding on than letting go. 
Answered on 11/11/2022