The End of Love

An Anti-Assimilationist Valentine’s Day

I know I don’t have to tell you that February 14th is barreling towards us at superluminal velocity. You also may know that if you’re not in a romantic relationship, you might as well crawl back into your lair and resume braiding your body hair or filing the fingernails on your dewclaws, or whatever it is that single people do, because how dare you attempt to join the ranks of those who will not be dying alone.

But if you do, however, happen to be in love, well I’m sure you know better than to erect anything less than the most stunning and enthusiastic tribute to your beloved, replete with chocolate, champagne, sex in more than one position, and possibly a proposal.

Am I right?

Unless of course, you’re not in the business of celebrating corporate sponsored heteronormativity, underwritten by Hallmark, self-hatred and comfort pastries; or the holy day also known as Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day — destroyer of all things — is a celebration of everything that’s wrong with our rendition of modern love. There’s nothing quite like this arbitrary event to magnify our expectations, diminish our relationships and test our self-esteem. Come February 1st, convenience store aisles, awash in the empty symbology of romance, close in on us with one message, and one message only:

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A Hater’s Guide To New Year’s Resolutions

(a.k.a. Self-improvement through self-acceptance)

New Year’s Eve is that special time of year where we resolve to become less like ourselves and more like other people. Better people. More suitable people. Perfectly hydrated, voraciously reading, paleo dieting people.

It’s a time-honored tradition in which we salute the passing year by piling unrealistic hopes and expectations on the back of the year to come, and we look to the future with a gut-churning blend of happy optimism and indestructible self-loathing.

In theory, New Year’s Eve should be a time to review our year and celebrate our accomplishments; A night to forgive our shortcomings and give boozy toasts for better days to come.

But for the 45% of Americans who still make resolutions, New Year’s Eve is a not to be a missed chance to alter ourselves in arbitrary ways that only seem reasonable when much of the Western Hemisphere is also doing it.

Do you want to know the best thing to happen to New Year’s resolutions? It’s called February. If January is the month of change, then February is the month of giving up. By the time February rolls around, with that knowing smirk on its face, more than a third of us have abandoned all hope and returned to our overwhelmed and under-hydrated lives. According to a recent survey by the University of Scranton, only 8% of us are eventually successful at keeping our commitments.

As you may be able to tell, I hate resolutions.

Keep reading here…

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(Wo)man Versus Ex: Retroactive Jealousy and What to do About it.

We all love a good story. Boy meets girl. Boy falls for girl. Girl falls off cliff, leaving Boy loveless and lost. Boy finds potion to revivify girl. Girl comes back to life, but this time as the twisted shadow twin of original Girl. I love the classics…

As human beings, the words ‘once upon a time’ are etched into our DNA.

Philip Pullman once said: “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”

We might swear that all we want is a sandy beach, a hammock and a margarita, but that’s not true. What we’re really after, is for a gust of wind to hit that hammock, blowing the margarita out of our hands and splashing it straight into the face of a gorgeous, but lonely stranger.

The problem with this urge to create stories is that we never stop doing it.

Not even when it threatens to destroy our relationships.

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Our Time is Up: How to Dump Your Therapist (As Written by One).

All relationships must come to an end. Even the ones that last forever.

Even those that rack up grandkids, and anniversaries. Those end too. And if we don’t die, we break up, divorce, take space, drift away, cheat, or consciously uncouple over a bed of gluten free ziti.

Our relationships with our therapists are no differently vulnerable to the ups and downs of human connection. Perhaps you never clicked to begin with. Or maybe you’re no longer in crisis. Maybe your conversations have morphed into extremely expensive talks with a friend.

Or it could be that you ran into them at a naked hot spring, and that was that.

Whatever the reason, you’ve done your work and now it’s time to go.


Luckily, you and your therapist don’t have to fight about who keeps the couch and the tea in the waiting room. But still, breaking up is hard to do.

Continue reading here! (You know you want to…)


Ghost World

When it comes to breaking-up, there’s no such thing as a friendly ghost.

A moment of silence, please, in honor of the Charlize Theron / Sean Penn break-up.

charlize-theron-sean-penn-split-end-engagementCan you believe another Hollywood romance, inexplicably down the drain? 

One minute they were headed down the aisle, and the next, she’s ignoring his phone calls, emails and texts, and pretending he barely existed in the first place. In other words, she’s ghosting him.

The rumor-mill (which is always right), describes Penn as a hyper-critical, tantrum-prone, alcohol-fueled bully. So when Charlize couldn’t take it anymore, she did what she had to do.

Sure, but by ghosting him? Was there no other way?

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You Give Good Context

Why what’s between your ears and what’s between the sheets have more in common than you think.

If you leave your house looking like a sexy kitten, or a zombie accountant, people might think you’re nuts. Unless it’s Halloween.

A full-body massage is great. Unless Dan, your creepy boss, is trying to give it you.

If you’re zooming down the road at 110mph, it better be a race track. 

What I’m talking about here is context.

It’s what makes the difference between a $500 speeding ticket and an impressive lap time. It’s what separates your cool costume from a 5150 commitment against your will. It’s what distinguishes romance, from a sexual harassment suit. 

And it’s what makes all the difference in the world, when it comes to your sex life.

In my years as a couples therapist, rarely (as in never), has a couple come to me with the problem of having too much sex (with each other), or feeling excessively comfortable (with themselves).

Unfortunately, it’s usually the other way around. Many clients begin therapy feeling lost about their sex lives, and frustrated with the lack of sexual aliveness in their relationships.

If they come at all, its to the conclusion that they are broken and dysfunctional.

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Chill Like That

Why it’s just not cool, to be chill.

Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 12.45.26 PMWhen it comes to dating, being “chill” has climbed the ranks as a highly coveted, basically non-negotiable quality that our romantic partners should possess. Wait. Did I say dating? I meant “hanging out.” Or “talking to.” Or “chillin with…”

Sorry, I’m not sure… 

A few minutes on Tindr, Hitch, or Cupid, will render incontrovertible evidence that if you are not CHILL, then you might as well be dead. And no one goes out with dead people. (Or they probably shouldn’t). 

Wait, what’s that? You’re honest and fun? Understanding and ambitious? You have amazing personal hygiene, great friends, and breasts that men and women alike would murder their grandmother to get their hands on? Doesn’t matter. If you’re not chill, then, well, good luck to you.  

A culture of “chill” has invaded out modern dating climate.

Checking the weather? Don’t bother. It’s chill. It’s always chill. 

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The Fight You’ll Never Win

Get this. Some of your relationship problems have no solution. That’s right. No matter how many fights you get into, or how many different ways you find of saying the same thing, you and your partner will not make it better.

That thing you’ve fought about from the beginning of time? It will probably stick around until the end. It will stay bad, painful, annoying, or ridiculous, literally forever.

According to research, most of our relationship problems, 69% of them in fact, are unsolvable.


Why? Because, says relationship researcher John Gottman, they are based on deeply ingrained differences in personalities and needs. i.e. Olivia Pope herself couldn’t fix them.

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Fighting Chance

5 relationship hacks to help you fight with your partner without ruining your relationship.

Everybody fights.

Everybody has a belly button. Everybody poops. And everybody fights. These are 3 inarguable truths, behind which lies all psychological health and spiritual success.

You know who didn’t fight? Ward and June Cleaver. And were they happy? No. I happen to know they were miserable. Every night after dinner, Ward stumbled into the basement, to look at pictures of his ex-girlfriend, and finish off a bottle of gin he’d refer to as Wilson, until he blacked out. All the while, June tucked herself into her twin bed, to recite the serenity prayer exactly 103 times before falling asleep.

Conflict in our relationships is a lifeline to their health. Conflict, like sex. Conflict, like acceptance. Conflict, like love, is the beating heart of our partnerships, transmitting the blood, sweat and tears necessary for survival. 

Knowing how to fight well, is a gift we bring to our partners, and I can tell you, most of us do not come bearing this particular gift.

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F*ck Maybe

Why ambivalence in relationships, Isn’t the kiss of death. 

Back in July, Mark Manson wrote a blog post that achieved internet breaking kind of buzz; Sexy felon Jeremy Meeks, meets Kim Kardashian’s butt, kind of buzz.

In this article, he introduces the Law of F*ck Yes or No, an edict that provides one clear directive for how to simplify our screwed up lives.

His advice goes as follows: If you’re thinking about getting involved with someone new, they should inspire a full blown F*ck Yes, in order for you to move forward.

The other person, must then reciprocate with an F-yes of equally mammoth  proportions, in order for you to proceed with them.

When I first read his post, I agreed hands down.

“Why would you want to convince someone to be with you?” You shouldn’t. “Why would you buy a dog who keeps biting you?” You shouldn’t!!  Continue reading