It's My Divorce Party, And I'll Cry If I Want To

It's My Divorce Party, And I'll Cry If I Want To

Divorce carries with it many stigmas worldwide. While Americans have less legal issues and social stigma than other countries, the idea of a marriage failing is not easy for people to overcome as they prepare for being reintroduced to the singles world. A newly divorced person may have a range of logistic and emotional barriers to overcome as they begin life anew independently.

Having gone through the process of marriage with a ceremony to mark that stage in life, there is no real acknowledgement and fanfare to support the next stage after a marriage ends. To lift the spirits of a newly divorced person and to help them know that they have the support of their friends with disposable income, Divorce parties were born to reintroduce the single person to life outside of marriage. These events are self-esteem boosts and gathering with friends will encourage the divorced person that they are loved, when they may be feeling guilt and potentially shame about ending their marriage.

As a professional counselor, I don’t see married people being so jealous of divorce parties that they start thinking of ending their own relationships.Divorce has become so common and part of the culture of relationships that the stigma associated with ending a marriage has lessened in the past few decades. It is still a serious and potentially depressing event for two people to endure. Coming together to support a friend going through the loss of a relationship and ideal future is a good thing.

Written for She Knows.com

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Bucket Lists Keep Couples Together

Bucket Lists Keep Couples Together

 

A couple that creates common goals is also making an emotional investment in their future together. Having joint goals builds a team mentality that can help smooth over the minor conflicts that occur over time. Like any shard vision or goal for the future, it does not have much meaning unless there is progress towards the goal.

When life gets in the way too often, that bucket list can eventually become a list of disappointments and unmet expectations weighing on the relationship. A couple should set a schedule for their excursions and bucket list items, so they remain a priority. That will keep the couple looking forward to something, and allow them to refocus attention to strengthening their bond. The partner that supports the goals of their loved one will reap benefits of sharing in the joy of their partner’s accomplishments, and might also gain some appreciation for why a bucket list item is important.

The more variety that goes into the bucket, the better. Different bucket list items will bring variety to the couple’s future, and can create some meaningful communication when the list is planned. Of course, if we are in the early stages of a relationship and trying this activity, things like kids, marriage, and relocations might need to be addressed before the couple commits to one another long term. 

When creating a joint bucket list, it may make sense to create some categories. Are there things that can be accomplished locally or over a weekend? Those can be done as drops in the bucket list. Seeing the world wonders might take several years and multiple trips, and that can go as an annual goal to accomplish. There is nothing saying that there can’t be relationship goals or family goals in the bucket as well. A couple should try to make their bucket list something to enjoy and work on consistently. There could even be penalties for missing a bucket list goal deadline. Maybe some extra savings or chore task can be included as a penalty. The only bad bucket list is one that stays full.     

Dr. Ethan Gregory

Written for The Chicago Tribune

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Suicide Prevention For Loved Ones

Suicide Prevention For Loved Ones

In my experience working with suicidal adults and in counseling families with children that presented suicidal behaviors, I have seen ways that behaviors escalate and want to share some symptoms and interventions with you.

As a loved one with someone considering suicide there is a need to be vigilant. Truly suicidal people will be eager to learn how, or gain access to resources to help. A loved one that notices someone withdrawal from others, seem preoccupied with harm or death, or has started to avoid things they normally take pleasure in may be depressed and on a path to self-harm or suicide. Previous mental illness or episodes can be a symptom of the potential to take things to an extreme without considering other coping skills or the reality that things can get better.

It may seem counterproductive to discuss suicide with someone that is suicidal, but in fact, if you show that you care very much and are willing to help them through any situation, it can bring some relief to the suicidal person. When death is a potential outcome, embarrassment should not be a barrier.

When I worked in adult mental health, we sometimes used a suicide contract. This is something in writing that defines if a person is feeling like harming or killing themselves, they will call or get in touch with a person first, and that person will answer, no strings attached any time. This may seem like a bit of a gimmick, but sometimes a little time and conversation can be enough to get a person past a dark moment.

Of course is a person is on the edge, they should be seeking or forced to seek some counseling, and may need to be inpatient for a time until they and the family can learn some different coping mechanisms.

Dr. Ethan Gregory 

Written for zliving.com

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Intimacy Issues For New Parents

Intimacy Issues For New Parents

After childbirth the body undergoes a healing process to return the mother’s body back to a state of normalcy, but the body is still working harder than it used to, with lactation, healing of tissues (especially from cesarean section) and the elasticity of the pelvic area returning to whatever normal or the new normal is for the mother.

While waking life is surely different, so are sleeping patterns. As a couple adjusts to the newborn being a priority, other things naturally adjust in the hierarchy of needs. In other cultures, a woman that gives birth transitions from a sexual being to strictly a mother. Sex in Japan between married couples happens less than any other country in the world (highest number of sexless marriages) meaning once per month or less. Here in America there is an expectation that sex and marital satisfaction will be consistent, but the reality is that marital satisfaction drops when a child is born and doesn’t go up again until the child is out of the home.

A couple must work hard to ensure that there is open communication about intimacy to keep that a priority. That burden is not only on the mother dealing with the physical and emotional transition of being pregnant to motherhood and co-parenting. The father can help ease a mother’s transition by being supportive and attentive to the mother.

Throwing out the typical gender roles and creating an egalitarian household will lessen the burdens on the mother, making her emotional state less stressed with the worries of the day. Happy wife, happy life. The father and mother need to make time to reconnect and the mother needs to know that she is still as attractive to the father as she was before. If the mother is feeling insecure, she should share that instead of holding it back.

Dr. Ethan Gregory

Written for SheKnows.com

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My #1 SAT Taking Tip

My #1 SAT Taking Tip

My best SAT tip is to scan through the section and answer the ones that stick out as easy to you. Then go back and handle the rest. Make sure to get your answers bubbled in as you go, I have seen many students rush to bubble in ones they have in their book as time runs out.

Extra tip: For the subject test takers, you can take three subject tests at a time, go ahead and take three. Sure, math and science, but why not show your diverse skill set and take a non numbers based test. That could help you stand out, and you are already in the building.

Dr. Ethan Gregory

Written for Schoolinks.com

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As Daughters Mature, Mothers Reflect on Their Own Beauty

As Daughters Mature, Mothers Reflect on Their Own Beauty

When a daughter goes through puberty, it is only natural for a mother to feel concern for what’s to come. Often teen girls align with their opposite sex parent during their teen years, a change from their childhood when they identify strongly with their same sex parent. That transition can be difficult for the mother, and there can be some conflicts that may stem from insecurity that the mother is losing some part of the special relationship she shared with her in years past.

Mothers may use consumerism as a way to secure quality time with their daughters if they can afford to do so. Seeing a daughter go “solo” might be an early sign of what is to come with college, relationships, and independence from the family unit. Mothers that live vicariously through their daughters will have a hard time separating from their daughters, especially if they feel that they are reliving their own glory years through their daughter.

Mothers should celebrate their daughter’s developmental milestones internally, and support their child with unconditional love. If jealousy and control are interfering with the relationship, taking form in passive aggression, the child will pick up on that and use it against a parent when power struggles occur. A mother that is able to balance their concern and pride for their daughter while coming to terms with their own maturation will be a wonderful role model for their daughters.

A daughter viewing their mother as a role model is not well served by having an insecure parent holding on to the last bits of their physical youth to match their teen daughter.         

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Written for The Washington Post

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Dr. G Featured in Divine Caroline Article on Soulmates

Dr. G Featured in Divine Caroline Article on Soulmates

10 Signs You've Found Your Soulmate

The concept of soulmates has been around for more than 2,500 years. While the idea may be statistically unlikely, it's definitely appealing. Learn why 10 real women believe without a doubt that they've found their one and only. Written by Jasmine Gordon

Click the link to read my segment at the Divine Caroline website. Below is my short submission for the article. 

I believe that we have found our most compatible mates when we are comfortable farting around one another. When we can share the parts of our minds and bodies that we usually hide from others without fear of rejection or recourse, we have found a soul mate. Unconditional acceptance and encouragement between partners is another trademark sign that you have found the one. 

Dr. Ethan Gregory

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Author of I’m Sorry, You are Not a Pick-Up Artist and I’m Sorry, You are Not a Disney Princess

 

How Can I Keep Up With a Kinky Partner?

How Can I Keep Up With a Kinky Partner?

 The reader 911 of the week:

The new girl I am dating is a lot of fun. We get along well, and she is very sexual. She sends me naughty text messages during the day, and she has all sorts of kinky ideas. I thought I was open to that kind of thing, but I am a bit worried that I am too boring for her, or that she is really some kind of crazy sex freak that is going to give me a disease. What can I do to keep up, and how do I bring up the STD thing?

Dear Mr. Careful What You Wish For,

Back in my day I always felt a sense of enjoyment when I found a girl comfortable enough to explore with me sexually. There are few things more fun then learning about another person while enjoying sensuous pleasures at the same time. The kind of sex that keeps you up all night and sends you off to work the next day not concerned about the lack of sleep…that’s the good stuff. Now that I am just a tad bit removed from the debauchery days of my life, I have a slightly different perspective on those lovely partners. Let me preface this advice by saying it takes two to tango, so you are also a dirty boy fornicator.

 

The first thing you need to do is find out if this girl’s crotch or throat is on fire before you put your man clit anywhere near them without some kind of shield. It may be too late if you have already been testing the waters, but before you dive in head first you need to ask her some questions, and give some answers of your own. It doesn’t matter how many partners you or she has had, it just matters if you are both safe.

 

Stereotype alert: Girls count partners differently anyway. A girl could sleep with the basketball team, but only count the guy that goes to the NBA. Ask her if she has a condom before the next time you guys know you are going to have sex. If not, you can ask her how she feels about contraceptives and birth control. You guys can go the store and pick out her favorite condom. No one likes condoms but most people like condoms more than babies or genital warts, so keep that in mind.

I like to throw out the question, “have you ever been tested before” because that usually flows into when and what were the results. If you have not been tested in the last six months go do it! A clean report card is a great aphrodisiac. You can even have a date to get tested, and use the excuse that you like her and want to make sure you are both safe because you haven’t been tested in a while. That will help you feel safer being with a wonderful freak, but now you need to arm yourself with tools and techniques to keep up with the girl.

Any bookstore (maybe not Christian bookstores) will have an aisle dedicated to sexuality and self help stuff. Venture down there and pick up a few books with titles like 100 ways to do it and be the biggest freak you can. That will give you a starting point to build on. Let her be the freak, you do the details on the dates, and you will make quite a dynamic duo. For the love of God wrap it up with this one and enjoy yourself! Instead of worrying about where she has been and applying some judgment to her, be appreciative of her selflessness and open mind. Learn from this sexy sage. Best of luck, remember that you matter most!

Dr. Ethan Gregory 

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How to Increase Your Chances of Having Sleep Orgasms

How to Increase Your Chances of Having Sleep Orgasms

Sleep related female orgasms have been studied infrequently, but Kinsey had a study in the 1950’s that included sleep orgasms. It might be impossible to find a reliable way to encourage the event, just like hoping to not have a nightmare does not guarantee we won’t.

If you are taking care of your sexual needs in your waking hours, you have an opportunity to have a sleep orgasm as well. Women that have sexual intercourse or masturbate, can achieve orgasm, and have a healthy attitude towards sexuality may be more likely to have sleep orgasms. If you do not practice masturbation, and your views of female sexuality are more conservative, sexual thoughts may not be as prevalent in your sleeping hours.

Some research suggests that sexing before bed might kick start the sleep orgasm, as if your body is still riding the orgasm wave once you zonk out. If you tend to have vivid dreams, you might be able to influence your dream by watching, reading, or doing something sexual. Every woman is a snowflake, so it is nearly impossible to forecast a sleep orgasm.

The best chance to achieve a wet dream for yourself is to make it rain before bed and sleep in your goulashes. There is a woman that did her dissertation on SRFO’s, her name is Franceen King (Google her).

Dr. Ethan Gregory

Written for Women’s Health

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Mental Health And Wellness at University

Mental Health And Wellness at University

The most important thing to realize for anxious parents sending their children off to colleges is that every college and university will offer some level of wellness and mental health services. Schools that offer graduate programs in social work, marriage and family therapy, and psychology will usually have some students working under supervision while gaining experience as counselors.

Schools will have licensed psychologists and social workers to help with one to one therapy, couples therapy and counseling related to physical health and wellness. This is important for most schools, but it may not be well advertised. Students practicing independence for the first time will encounter many opportunities to practice coping skills, and the university is there to offer support if the student seeks it out. The treatment can be free or low cost to help the students that cannot afford private counselors in the community.

If an incoming freshman already has medication and a diagnosis, it would be wise for the family or the student to check out the services available for them. If a student has an issue they should be aware of where to go on campus. Clinics have small pharmacies and can fill prescriptions if a student does not come with a large amount of medication.

Colleges know the stress that higher learning can have on students, and most will offer many free activities to enjoy throughout the week. Most all campuses have wellness and fitness centers with classes for working out or learning about healthy living. These services are also free for students. Dorm residents have organized activities to bring students out of their rooms to interact. Student advisers are available to help students that are feeling academic stress, and can make referrals to other services on campus.

Mental wellness usually involves moderation of entertainment and academics. When one or the other gets out of balance, life might seem more difficult in a campus environment. As parents, we should be checking in with our students but not crowding them. This is their time to experience parenting at a distance and to spread their wings. One thing parents can do to prepare their children is to have them practice the life skills like laundry and budgeting before they leave for school. Cooking and organization should be strange concepts to freshman.

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Dr. Ethan Gregory

Written for LitteMissMomma

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