Below find frequently asked questions about relationships, sex, divorce and online dating.
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General Relationship FAQs
What are normal changes in a relationship?
It is normal for relationships to change over time, especially as a relationship transitions from the “honeymoon stage” to a long-term partnership. Some of these changes may include:
- Feeling more comfortable with each other
- Regaining a sense of independence and spending more time apart
- Less “public displays of affection” such as holding hands or kissing
- Increase in intensity of conversations or disagreements
None of these changes are objectively positive or negative. They are just a natural progression of two people growing more familiar with each other.
If you are uncertain about the direction that your relationship is heading, therapy can be a useful resource.
Why is trust important in a relationship and how do you build it?
Trust can include trusting yourself and your own judgements as well as your partner. A relationship can be a safe place to feel secure, comfortable and cared for.
Building trust takes time and vulnerability. Here are some exercises that may help:
- Seeking conversations that teach you where the other person is coming from
- Being respectful in your words and actions to one another
- Expressing your feelings and your needs when necessary
- Being true to your word: if you say something, follow through
What can break trust in a relationship?
Trust can be positively or negatively affected by a number of factors both inside and outside of the relationship, including:
- Emotional/physical infidelity
- Lack of reliability or support
- Jealousy or possessiveness
- A feeling of incompatibility
It is important to note that while trust can be torn down, it can also be built up. The process of building and restoring trust is a cornerstone of any relationship.
Can you rebuild trust in a relationship after betrayal?
It is possible to rebuild trust in a relationship if both partners are committed to working toward this. Therapy can be extremely helpful in these cases. Some of the key steps in rebuilding trust may include addressing what happened (rather than ignoring the issue), being honest about your emotions and needs, and staying present or looking toward the future, rather than living in the past.
What is a toxic relationship?
A toxic relationship is often defined as a relationship in which one or more individuals works against the other to sow conflict or undermine or control the other. There may also be continued patterns of disrespect or unhealthy competition.
Toxic relationships can be more than unpleasant, they can also be harmful or draining. If you are uncertain about the progress of a relationship, therapy can be a valuable resource.
How do you know when a relationship is ending?
Ultimately, it is up to the individuals within a relationship to determine when a relationship is concluding. Some warning signs may include avoiding physical contact, escalating arguments and a constant state of stress or annoyance toward each other.
What are the emotional stages of divorce?
It is normal to experience the five stages of grief in the wake of a divorce: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
How do I move on after a divorce if I still love them?
The first step is often to acknowledge the situation. Give yourself the time to grieve and the resources to do so in a healthy manner. This may include seeking out therapy or engaging in new, healthy habits such as taking up a new form of exercise or meditation.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Reach out for help when you need it, either from your personal support network or a professional therapist.
Can you still love someone and get divorced/break up?
Yes, absolutely. There are many reasons for ending a relationship. If you are having difficulty processing a recent divorce or break up, it may be best to reframe the situation and remove ideas of “love” entirely.
How often should couples have sex?
There is no “normal” amount of sex. It is dependent upon you and your partners needs and is unique to your relationship. Discuss your needs with each other in order to determine what is your personal preference.
What can I do about mismatched sex drives?
It’s normal for couples (especially long-term couples) to have a difference in sex drives or libidos. The first step is likely to discuss the issue and seek to understand and empathize with each other. From there, you can try a number of strategies in order to satisfy you both according to your needs and desires, including scheduled sex dates, reframing “successful” sex, or emphasizing quality over quantity.
My partner has lost interest in sex. What do I do?
Changes to your life, such as having a baby, starting a new job, changes to your body or even the length of your relationship can all have an effect on how often one or both of you want to have sex. It is important to communicate about these changes and your needs and to respect your partner’s feelings.
Can you be sexually incompatible?
It is possible for partners to experience conflict in their sexual preferences, including having differences in preferred sexual practices or number of sexual encounters; however, these conflicts can often be managed through open discussion with one another and, if needed, a therapy professional acting as a mediator.
Online Dating FAQS
Can online relationships work?
Online relationships can work if the partners are committed to making it work, but it’s important to recognize online dating’s unique needs and limitations (similar long-distance relationships). Be open and communicative when establishing the relationship, conveying your needs and expectations for the romance as it blossoms.
How do you maintain an online relationship?
Because there can be limited physical intimacy in online relationships, it’s important to keep communication open and be honest with each other. That may include discussing what you expect from the relationship now, as well as where you see it going in the future. You have to partner together in order to be successful.
How do you start a relationship online?
The most important factor when beginning any relationship is building a foundation of honesty and trust. That means open communication with each other regarding what you are looking for and your expectations and needs for the relationship on a longer timeline.
How do you know if an online relationship is real?
Before opening up to somebody online, it’s important to confirm that the person you are talking to is who they say they are. With modern technology, this is easier than it’s ever been. Once you have both agreed to get to know each other better, set up a video call or some other form of real-time communication that allows you to see and hear the other person. This can give you the piece of mind that you are confident that you know who you are talking to.
Another consideration is whether what they say about their private life is true, for example that they are single if they say they are single. Keep in mind warning signs such as changing stories or inconsistencies in what they are telling you. Ask questions if you have them, and work to develop trust in a similar way that you would for any new relationship.