According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, heteronormativity is defined as “Of, relating to, or based on the attitude that heterosexuality is the only normal and natural expression of sexuality”. Essentially, I’m talking about straight culture. Now, you may be thinking something along the lines of… “But gay people are totally accepted these days”. It’s true that progress has been made. However, there’s a difference between “acceptance” and real visibility. Heteronormativity touches far more aspects of our lives than simply marriage. I think that most people, myself included, make well-intentioned, yet ignorant assumptions based on the heteronormative society we live in.
When our life circumstances change, our friends often change with them. Cross-country moves introduce us to new social groups; coupledom expands our inner circles; and parenthood fosters additional bonds. Gone are the days when our closest confidants were just a short drive away. Now, get-togethers are planned months in advance and frequent flier miles are racked up with regularity.
But what about being a good friend to ourselves? We put heart and soul into our sisterhoods (and brotherhoods!) but can forget that it starts with being kind to the fresh face we greet in the mirror each morning.
Self-compassion or treating yourself with the same kindness as you would a close friend, can radically change the way you relate to yourself. Check out these 12 tips for doling out some serious self-love.
Coupleship: 2018- Year In Review.
This series of check-in questions is designed to help you invite structure, flow, play and secure connection into 2019. After the rush of the Holiday season is almost over, but before you ring in the near year, we hope that you can create a holding space for one another. Just being together and enjoying each other is great, but once again Space Between Counseling Services has an invitation for you that will help make your relationship stronger in the year to come.
“Secure Functioning” is being in a relationship that is fully collaborative, fully mutual, + based on justice, fairness, and sensitivity.
— Dr. Stan Tatkin
Perhaps you completed the Coupleship Year in Review around this time last year. Hopefully it provided you with the opportunity to reflect on your relationship, togetherness and growth both as individuals and a couple during 2017. This year the Space Between Counseling Services team has re-invented the review. You may notice some similar questions, as well as some new ones during this year’s review.
Do you often find yourself procrastinating on “must do” tasks? Do you quit or vow to come back to dealings that are often left unfinished?
Has today has been “the day” for the last few months that all your affairs would be in order?
Yet, repeatedly you find yourself coming up short of those goals. Have you experienced this in your work-life, school-life, social circles, and other areas?
You have good intentions and yet your commitment to execute these plans is lacking? The term commitment is measured in more than romantic relationships. When we lack commitment while faced with a task that requires long-term dedication, it often can cause us unnecessary mental and emotional distress.
Have you ever labeled yourself as the “black sheep” or “scapegoat” of your family, your workplace, or somewhere else where you’re “supposed” to naturally belong?
In my office, so many of my clients use this phrase to describe themselves. (And, I admit, I’ve used it myself to talk about whether I felt I fit into various groups too.) There’s something I find when we look closer at how and why we use these terms, however, and it has a lot to do with shame and how we feel we’re being judged by other people.
In my office, I often ask: What if you weren’t a black sheep? What if you were a black unicorn? Or a yellow, blue, or rainbow unicorn?
Exploring and recognizing our own inner beauty is important. We so easily give positive regard to celebrities for capturing the right selfie angle or replicating the latest MUA trend. Yet, when is the last time you reminded yourself, “I am beautiful.” A simple statement, yet one that so many of us forget to acknowledge.
Esther Perel asks.
As a Relationship Therapist - I ask.
📌Why is it that many women don’t seem to know what they want?
📌Where does the sense of being disconnected from your own body stem from?
📌How can it be so hard to talk about sex with our partners?
As Perel explains, much of our adult sexuality, our current desires, the way we relate to others, how we perceive our self-worth—is the product of the way we were raised and the environment in which our sexuality developed.
Q&A with Esther Perel:
You’ve said that if you know how someone was raised, you can tell how they will be as a lover. Can you explain?
Consider a paradigm we’ve always known in modern psychology: Tell me how you are loved, and I’ll have a good idea of what may be some of your issues, your concerns, your worries, your aspirations, and how you love.
But this paradigm never got translated into: Tell me how you were loved and I will tell you how you MAKE love. How your emotional history is inscribed in the physicality of sex. How your body speaks a certain emotional biography.
For example, the question I often ask people is: How did you learn to love, and with whom? Were you allowed to want? Were you allowed to have needs growing up—or were you told, “What do you need that for?” Were you allowed to thrive? Were you allowed to experience pleasure—or was pleasure just a break between work sessions, a reward after a lot of effort? Were you allowed to cry—and were you allowed to cry out loud, or did you have to hide it? Were you allowed to laugh—out loud? Did you feel protected as a child by those who needed to protect you—or did you flee for protection? Did the people who were supposed to take care of you do so—or did you have to take care of your caregivers, becoming the parentified child?
Baltimore Area Adult Women:
Does post this resonate with you? Are you interested in exploring your own adult sexuality and how it shows up for you in your relationship?
If so, reach out - you don’t need to navigate these feelings & ideas - ALONE.
Coupleship: Year in Review 2017
Why would you and your partner want to do a “Year In Review”? This series of check in questions is designed to help you two invite structure, flow, play and connection into 2018.
After the wrapping paper is cleared away, but before you pull out the new year's noisemakers, I hope that you can make time for each other. Just being together and enjoying each other is great, but I have an invitation for you that will help make you stronger in the year to come...
In this space between the holidays as one year ends and another begins, I'd love to know that you’re strengthening your "coupleship bubble." Maybe you want to think of it as creating your own private snow globe where you sit together in the swirl of your past and present and plan out your future.