Men. They really are different. They are psycho-socially different; this has provided for generations of standup comedy material about their inability to ask for directions when they are driving and lost, as well as their inability to move toward a restroom in groups. They got issues.
I learned a lot about this when studying and teaching psychotherapy. It seems you can’t get men into psychotherapy unless they are adolescents, post-andropause, or gay. Read more on Men Aren’t What They Used To Be…
There can be no doubt that support for same-sex marriage is gaining momentum, which is fine with me. News abounds all over the internet, including major network type media outlets. By March or so, the issue is expected to make it to the Supreme Court. As much as this is an issue whose time is come, it is also a “push button” issue, one sure to evoke emotional responses as people hide behind pre-structured belief systems that preclude thinking. I mean, once people say things like “Christian” or “right,” the issue is thought through or at least parroted and no thinking is necessary.
I am not surprised that the lovely stirrer up of right wing thought, Fox News, is already getting folks stirred up for March. My job, at least in part, is to put things in context. By this I mean human — maybe clinical medical and psychiatric, but mostly human — context. The world is a pretty awful and foreboding place. It is also a lonely place, where a lot of people have trouble making dyadic, or one to one, relationships. Read more on Gay Marriage? Anything Between Humans Is Good With Me…
The USA Today has highlighted a new study that says newlyweds who have “cold feet” going into marriage are more likely to divorce. I say make sure those feet are warm because divorce can be hell and children can be enveloped in that hell if you wait long enough.
I found the abstract of this study, but the dry academic summary tells me very little about the actual study. I can view a copy of the study if I pay for it, but I regard this as a low down dirty trick perpetuated by academics who want us to think their research is always worth something — which it’s not, necessarily. Notably, I am unable to access any juicy gossip points that may actually tell me something useful, such as who paid for the study.
This always seems to have something to do with results and can sometimes infer whose tenure was dependent on this thing getting published. I will also refrain from commenting on publishing papers by psychologists, other than to say that they can get away with publishing an awful lot of “questionnaire” based and “pencil and paper” studies. Medical doctor psychiatrists always seem to have to sample at least one bodily fluid to get something published.
The author of the study — Justin Lavner of UCLA — basically says that people who have “cold feet” or “jitters” at the time of the wedding are more likely to divorce later.
The study followed 464 newlyweds. He says nobody can say for sure whether folks had doubts about their partner or about the institution of marriage in general. This tells me the study could have been designed to answer this question in more detail. But as it is, we do know that 47% of husbands and 38% of wives had doubts.
After four years, 19% of women who had doubts were divorced, as opposed to 8% who did not. For men, 14% who had doubts were divorced four years later, versus 9% of those who did not. Of the 36% of those couples of which neither partner had doubts, 6% still got divorced. I basically like psychologists. Like most psychiatrists, I have learned to live in a symbiosis with them, where they do the psychotherapy and the psychiatrists do the pill-pushing. Notice, I am talking mostly about PhD psychologists and clinicians.
I’ve worked with patients who have been seen by professionals with lesser degrees. A few actually get well. At any level, most are subject to professionals who try to provide the minimal necessary to charge some sort of insurance. They are the devotees of the ‘easy hour,” people who do things like light candles and tell patients to spend an hour “relaxing” from their stress.
Read more on Cold Feet Might Mean No-Go for the Future of Marriage…
Even though absolutely anybody from AA and Co-dependents Anonymous to most PhD psychologists would tell them that it can’t be done, it CAN be done by those who have great self-control and great patience.
Curiously enough, like so many of the things that I’ve seen work in humans as well as animals — like offering conditioning — they have their forerunners in the ancient wisdom coming from My-Grandmother-Of-Blessed-Memory. If she heard someone say something stupid or do something stupid and talk about it, she would mutter in Yiddish something that sounded like, “Af alle narishkeit eaft’min nisht anferin!”
What this means is, “You don’t answer every single foolishness!” Read more on How To Change Your Husband…
As I write this, a song is running through my head.
Ah, look at all the lonely people
Ah, look at all the lonely people*
Not surprisingly, of the people, of all ages, the overwhelming number of those who complain to me about loneliness are female. If and when the adolescents get past any and all of the awkwardness without contracting any life-threatening depressions, I really think most of them will be all right. I am a little more worried about those in their late thirties, maybe around forty, who tell me they are lonely.
They have generally had at least a couple of relationships, maybe even a marriage. Their associations with males, sometimes disastrous and maybe even violent, are over. Happily over, I should think, but they are not so sure.
The lonely women of this age are generally truly beautiful — maybe more beautiful, physically than I have ever been or might ever be. Sometimes, they have devoted all of their lives to beauty, and are now on maintenance. I have never met anyone in the same boat I am, who have been brains all of their lives and suddenly find that being physically attractive is something like the ice in your drink that rushes up and hits you in the teeth when you are expecting a rush of cool liquid. It hits you and you got to deal with it.
“I am sorry to hear that you feel so lonely,” I say. “What would you have to do to stop feeling lonely? Just do it.” They look at me confused, as if the answer is magically obvious and I have magically missed it.
In a way they are right. Few are those whose loneliness can be relieved by church friends or bingeing on rich ice creams in the middle of the night. Most of them have enjoyed a sexual relationship at some time during their lives and now they miss it. Sometimes, I think they just need masturbation lessons. But there are several live links to that on the internet, and heaven knows they are NOT hard to find. Read more on The World Is Full Of Lonely Women…
No small part of the life of psychiatrists (and other doctors, I suppose) is made up of writing papers and reports. A rather astonishing part of this are reports that are supposed to predict other people’s behavior.
This is basically impossible. I remember hearing and never forgetting, early in my training, a supposedly ironclad rule of behavior prediction.
“If they did it before, they will do it again.”
Sometimes it had slightly different forms, made to appear more authoritative. “Past behavior is the solidest predictor of future behavior.” Read more on Prediction and Propinquity…
I was at a Midwestern medical center, taking internal referrals. The referring physician was a medical doctor I had never heard of. Of course, there was no information about why a 70 year old grandmotherly woman with white hair and a surprisingly pleasant smile had been referred.
She told me she had headaches. She was very happy that she did not have one on that day. They were horrible and even an emergency room injection of narcotics did not do anything for them once they started. They were variable, sometimes brief and sometimes lasting a whole day. They could be on either side, or both, but most often cut a line from above one ear to above the other ear. They were getting worse and quickly.
One of the smartest things anyone ever told me (It was an ancient professor in France, who was so experienced he had to say smart things once in a while) was that if a patient could not be diagnosed, or did not make any sense, just spend more time with the patient and get more history. He said that very often patients knew exactly why they had the problems they had. Read more on Unconventional Cure — Leave The Headache Behind…
I remember the time when the only person who ever held my hand was my mother of blessed memory, with my father of blessed memory as a rare substitute. I mean, if the four of us, both parents and my brother and I, went for a walk, my father would get the better behaved child, who was definitely me.
Mommie had told me quite clearly that I could not cross the street without holding a hand. We lived near an expressway, and cars went fast.
Many years later, when I brought my husband to the parental house to meet her, she was gratified that I did not have to navigate this treacherous place without the anchor of my hand, and that I never had. A tad overprotective, perhaps, but like a therapist colleague once said after meeting my family, better they are like this than like the ones who don’t give a damn. Read more on I STILL Wanna Hold Your Hand…
“I see him every day at work and I am attracted to him, really a lot, like I want to be with him all the time.”
She was 25 and hot by most common ways of assessing such matters; with olive skin and dark eyes, well made-up and skirt a little on the short side. A smile sneaked gently onto her face as she talked about this guy.
She told me she was happily married, with a three year old at home, and a good husband, one of the husbands everyone else wished they had, and she did not want to screw that up. Her face got dreamy and she kept talking and I could only wonder about one thing.
Is this the best problem she could come up with?
I saw her in a clinic in a poor part of town, where nobody had jobs let alone husbands, and this was her problem. Read more on Hard To Keep An Affair At Work Only…
Since my husband and I have been together for over 19 years, a rarity in this day, people often like to ask me about our “couplehood.”
It’s hard to miss if you are around us for any length of time at all. He still opens and holds doors for me and whenever we walk, it is always hand- in-hand. Oh — and we treat each other nicely and with respect. Those are all dead give-aways.
One question I get sometimes is when I first knew it was “real love.” I had always been cautious and protective about giving my heart away. After all, I had finished a year of psychotherapy training where most of my patients were women and nearly all of them were divorced women. I decided I was too sensitive for this divorce stuff. It sounded like something that would turn me inside out, render me basically non-functional, and leave me screaming for mercy. The only answer, to maintain a functional life, was to avoid it.
To choose a husband so perfect that the relationship would be “divorce proof” for sure by the time that I was actually involved in it. I used my reasoning skills and wrote the plan that worked. We were together for a good year before I decided that this was the one, and it is the rightest thing I have ever done. But with all the reasoning skills, I would be the last one to deny that there has to be an element of “chemistry.” There was and still is.
I do believe, however, that women are constantly duped by men who say or do things for the wrong reason. I can teach, to a certain extent, the things I did to eliminate such from consideration. But when I am asked when I first realized this man loved (and desired) me, I always say one of the things I often say that nobody believes. It is when his pupils dilated.
As the Rodgers & Hart song says, “If they ask me I could write a book,” and I suppose I am. Sorry, I couldn’t miss this one. I love Rosemary Clooney and Rogers and Hart. Read more on There Is An Actual “Love Light” In His Eyes…