Author Archives: FireSpike

Micro-Abandonments: How a Narcissist Gains Emotional Control of a Couple

A Narcissist Can Easily Dominate in a Gay Couples Relationship

How a narcissist gains control in a couples relationship.

  • A narcissist may utilize the defense mechanisms of idealization and devaluation in tandem to gain emotional control of a partner.
  • Idealization occurs when a narcissist love-bombs a person or agrees with everything they think and feel at the beginning of the relationship.
  • Devaluation occurs when the narcissist suddenly “drops” the person without an explanation or care.

Interpersonally, a narcissist often prioritizes control over closeness. Although manipulative, maintaining emotional control of a partner is a powerful way to dominate in a relationship. Difficult to detect because of the narcissist’s ability to convince the person that the fault is theirs, this tactic slowly erodes a person’s self-esteem.

Continue reading at Psychology Today.

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How Do Gottman Principles Apply to the Dating World?

How to Date the Gottman Way

Dating the Gottman method way.
The world of dating can feel daunting and difficult for many. You are not alone if you are out in the dating world and are experiencing doubt, frustration, or disappointment at not finding the right partner for you. Or, perhaps you are single and have not taken the leap back into the dating world.

In collaboration with The Gottman Institute, I created The Seven Principles for Singles workshop, which focused on helping single people gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in healthy relationships. The workshop was based on concepts presented in Dr. John Gottman’s The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, but we applied those same principles to the realm of searching for a partner, dating, and forming a new relationship built on mutual trust, understanding, and support.

Continue reading at The Gottman Institute.

Gottman method therapy for gay couples, contact me to make a telehealth appointment.

How to Have a New Year’s Gottman Method Relationship Check-in

Make your relationship your New Year’s resolution and reap the Gottman Method benefits of a happy, healthy, and meaningful couples relationship!

New Year's  Gottman method resolutions for gay couples.

When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, many of us turn to one another for a kiss and we celebrate. Did you take stock of how the last year has been, and think about what the new year will bring?

Very few of us sit down with our partner, the most important one in our life, to have a relationship check-in and make resolutions for our relationship. Below we present some helpful questions to ask and topics to explore, and provide you with an exercise to make the process easier for you. Finally, we’ll make some recommendations for resolutions to ensure that this year is the best year yet for your relationship.

Continue reading at the Gottman Institute.

A Gottman Institute couples therapist-make a telehealth appointment.

The Impact of Social Media on Gay Couples

Is social media a threat to your LGBT relationship wellness?

Learn how social media affects your gay relationship.

In 2019, the average person spent 144 minutes per day on social media (Clement, 2020). According to Media Dependency Theory, the higher dependence a person has on media the stronger the influence of media on the individual’s perceptions and behaviors (Joo & Teng, 2017, p. 36). A study conducted in 2018 by Brigham Young University found that extensive social media usage is linked with decreased emotional wellness and lower satisfaction in interpersonal relationships (Christensen, 2018). In other words, if you think your relationship is being negatively impacted by social media, you are not being “dramatic,” it actually is (you can read more here).

It’s important not to downplay or dismiss the role social media plays in relationships. Acknowledging and talking about it can actually help strengthen your bond.

Continue reading at The Gottman Institute.

Contact me for more information on how relationship therapy can help you.

Relationship Tips for Lesbian Couples Using The Gottman Method

Advice for Coming Out as Lesbian/Bi/Queer After 35

The Gottman Method therapy for lgbt couples

Maybe your attraction to women came as a surprise to you. You might have suddenly started having feelings for a friend. Perhaps a woman expressed attraction to you, and you were surprised to find yourself feeling open. Or maybe you’ve known about your feelings for a long time, but there were inner or outer barriers that kept you from living your way. Then something shifted and what seemed unthinkable suddenly became something you couldn’t stop thinking about.

Although I’ve been out for a long time, I still remember how scary it was walking into my first LGBTQ meeting. At that time, the “Q” stood for “questioning,” and I made sure every woman in the room knew that’s all I was. A few weeks later, a woman kissed me, and my physical response to her kiss answered that question in a way I could no longer deny. Since then, I’ve spent my adult life loving women, and, more recently, teaching other lesbians and queer women about dating, love, and sex through the Conscious Girlfriend Academy.

So, what do you, as a new lesbian, bisexual or queer woman, most need to know? Here are a few things I wish someone had told me when I came out.

Continue reading at The Gottman Institute. 

Contact me to learn more about Gottman Method therapy and how it can help you.

Understanding When a Partner Withdraws Through Therapy

The five most common reasons why a partner withdraws.

Telehealth therapy understanding why a partner withdraws

Intimate partners create internal maps of how their partners think and feel about themselves and the relationship. They can pretty accurately predict what thoughts and behaviors they can expect in most situations from that knowledge and understanding.

But sometimes, those comfortable and secure expectations slowly or suddenly go awry. A partner’s predictive behavioral patterns shift without warning or explanation, leaving the other partner confused and unsettled. A withdrawing partner often becomes even more inaccessible when pressed for reasons or attempts to understand.

Rarely have I been called by those partners. It is much more likely that the newly-exiled partners are worried that something is wrong and need help to understand and what they can do.

Continue reading at Psychology Today.

Conflict Resolution in Neurodiverse Relationships Using The Gottman Method

Two Different Brains in LoveNeurodiverse conflict resolution using The Gottman Method

Neurodiverse romantic relationships include at least one or more neurodivergent partners. Neurodiversity refers to the variation in neurological differences that occur naturally in all humans, with 15-20% of people falling in the category of neurodivergent.

The term neurodivergence is most commonly used with Autism and ADHD, but it also applies to people with Dyslexia, Sensory Processing Difficulties, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Synesthesia, OCD, and other common brain variations.


The biggest conflicts in neurodiverse relationships boil down to the difficulty individuals have in understanding the differences in how each partner processes information.

Continue reading at The Gottman Institute.

5 Secrets to Being Happier Without Relying on Your Partner

Using these easy, science-backed tweaks can make a big difference in your life.

Tips on creating a happy relationship without involving your partner. Oregon therapy telehealth.Every relationship has its ups and downs. In fact, life has its ups and downs.

That’s totally normal—we wouldn’t be human if we did not have these mood swings.

At times, you don’t even know why you feel down but you find yourself dreading getting up in the morning and are having trouble getting through the day. In any case, a little mood booster would be a good thing.

But you may not want to involve your partner because they’ve got enough on their plate or because you don’t want to impose on them. Or you may find that your partner is just not up for working on your relationship right now.

So, what can you do to be happier in your relationship?

Here are some suggestions to help you find more happiness in your relationship and everyday life without involving your partner:

Continue reading at Psychology Today.

How to Add Passion to Your Relationship

Does personal growth help or hinder passion in relationships?

Sharing passions to bolster relationship tips from online lgbt counseling Oregon.Passion refers to intense feelings of longing for a partner, whether emotionally or sexually. In North America, at least, people who have more passion in their relationships tend to be happier.

But while passion is often high at the beginning of relationships, it tends to decline over time. Luckily, there are things couples can do to combat passion decay.

One way to increase passion in a relationship is by engaging in exciting activities with a partner (e.g., going on a trip together, taking a cooking course, hiking). These exciting, shared activities are associated with increased relationship well-being, sexual desire, and passion.

Continue reading at Psychology Today.

3 Ways to Invest in Your Relationship

Make deposits into the wealth of your relationship and see dividends in love.

gottman method couples therapyOf all your relationships, the one you have with your romantic partner likely requires more work. To stay happily together long term, you need to put effort into things like attunement and managing conflict—and that’s in addition to handling outside stressors like work and finances as a team. With so much going in the world, it’s easy to let your relationship fall through the cracks and just assume that everything is okay.

If you want your partnership to thrive this year, you both need to be intentional about investing in it. Like a bank account, you need to actively and consistently make deposits to help your relational wealth grow. It won’t happen on its own.

Here are a few ways to invest in your relationship and get intentional about your happily ever after.

Therapy isn’t just for people in crisis. Preventative care can go a long way in addressing smaller needs and overcoming everyday obstacles. For example, a counselor can help you manage stress, reignite the spark in your bedroom, or raise children going through difficult stages. Also, a counselor can assess your relationship for areas that may seem insignificant now but could become major issues later on. You can head off conflict before it happens with preemptive inventions learned in the therapy room. Find a couples therapist trained in the Gottman Method or scroll through Psychology Today. You both can see pictures, read profiles, and see if they’re a good fit. Also, you can connect with a therapist about their in-person or telehealth options, rates, and whether or not they take insurance (knowing how to financially budget for routine therapy will help you stick with it longer). With professional help, you can turn any weak spots in your partnership into your strengths as a couple.

Continue reading at The Gottman Institute.