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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Key Questions to Consider in Significant Relationships

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Aug 20th 2009

young couplThe Today Show recently did a piece on married couples that people in significant relationships may find relevant in today's day and age.

The three questions they pondered were:

  1. Money - Should couples married couples (or people in long term relationships) have a joint account or separate accounts?

  2. Grooming - When it comes to the bathroom, should there be boundaries?

  3. Alone time - Should there be alone time in each relationship or is it OK to be attached at the hip?

These are topics that often come up in therapy; the only one that is missing here is a question about what is too much or too little sex in a relationship?

Psychiatrist Dr. Maria Padro hit the nail on the head when she implied, at the end of the day, there are no shoulds when it comes to these questions. In fact, we need to watch out for the shoulds when they naturally arise as automatic answers to these questions.

It all comes down to personal preference and frankly, what works for the individuals and couples in the relationship.

We all get a gut feeling when we're experiencing tension around money in a relationship. We can feel it in our stomachs, faces, and shoulders. If we're turned off when he leaves the door open while going to the bathroom that's ok to be aware of. If we're feeling like it may be a good idea to have some time away with our friends alone, that's something that may need to see the day of light.

Here's the thing, relationships can be complicated, but the most important thing is to be aware of how we're feeling and what we're thinking. Only from this space can we engage in the necessary next step of communication. The reason so many marriages or relationships fail is because people either lack the skills or simply refuse to communicate what they are feeling.

Take a moment right now and consider: How do you feel when you think about your significant other? Is there tension in any of the four topics listed above? Do you feel like you can talk about it with your partner? If not, why not?

What we may often find is that we actually move through our fears and presumptions that hold us back from communicating, we are able to engage with each other in a way that breeds connection, which is what we all really wanting.

Sometimes, it's actually a good idea to seek out a skilled couples therapist to just provide the space and skill to begin communicating and feeling that connection.

As always, please share your thoughts, questions, and stories below. Your interaction provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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