The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman and Nan Silver shares the results of research conducted by the Gottman Institute in their “Love Lab” where they studied thousands of couples to observe what makes relationships fail or succeed. The book comes with practical interventions and homework exercises.
Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson takes an attachment- and emotion-focused approach in addressing what makes for healthy bonds of connection to sustain love.
Therapist, author and speaker Esther Perel wrote The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity and Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence. In her podcast, Where Should We Begin, she holds real-time couples counseling sessions.
TED has a video playlist on love and one on sex & relationships. Check out Dr. Kirk Honda’s Psychology in Seattle podcast series on relationships, love, and sexuality.
Multiamory podcast covers a broad range of topics, including relationship and communication tools that can also be valuable to those in monogamous relationships. Sex therapists Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi hold a podcast called Swoon: Love Lessons with Julie and Gina addressing questions you might be afraid to ask. Black and Poly offers a variety of resources, including this reading list on polyamory.
If you are interested in incorporating an understanding of attachment theory into non-monogamous relationships, check out the new book Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma, and Consensual Nonmonogamy by Jessica Fern, or listen to her speak on Multiamory Podcast.
Read about the de-pathologization of kink in the mental health field. Consider the various roles kink can play in mental health. Make time for “the talk” using the STARS framework.. Find other resources through Sex Positive Portland.
Heterosexual women can find helpful advice on flirting and building relationships from popular dating guru Matthew Hussey’s YouTube channel. The Good Men Project helps straight men recover the lost art of flirting.
Gay men can check out Alexander Cheves’ Gay Flirting Guide. Anna Pulley offers The Essential Lesbian Guide to Flirting. You can also read dating advice for bisexual women interested in women or for awkward bi guys trying to flirt with guys. Watch this video with dating tips for bisexuals, or this one on what not to say to a bisexual person you’re flirting with.
If you’re new to online dating, you might want to read advice on how to use dating apps. People on dating apps tend to make snap judgments and burn out quickly, so don’t take “ghosting” personally, especially if you haven’t met someone in person yet, but do familiarize yourself with what not to do: avoid these common mistakes, cliche verbiage, tacky photos overused by men and women, and other gaffes. You might also be curious to learn what OKCupid has learned about human behavior, which has been compiled into the book Dataclysm: Love, Sex, Race, and Identity--What Our Online Lives Tell Us about Our Offline Selves, by Christian Rudder.
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships, by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg is a classic and easy to read book explaining the key concepts of Nonviolent Communication and their practical applications.
The Center for Nonviolent Communication offers additional resources online. Print this simple, one-page, NVC Feelings and Needs handout to keep in a common area of your home, such as on the fridge, or wherever you need a reminder to check in with yourself or a loved one. Or use a more comprehensive feelings list and needs list. You may wish to accompany this with a reminder about the 4 steps of NVC.
When communicating with a loved one, monitor your emotional state, and theirs. Nonverbal cues are the biggest indicator, and defensiveness is usually a sign that you are losing the ability to hear each other. Certain attachment styles are more vulnerable to certain triggers, be it fear of abandonment or fear of engulfment. Anxiety, stress, or trauma histories can reduce a person’s capacity to stay centered. So can being Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired - so learn to HALT. Healthy communication can only occur when both parties are relatively calm, so know when and how to de-escalate. It may also help to understand your and your partner’s conflict styles or Enneagram types.
Take an online quiz to assess your attachment style. Read a book on attachment theory, such as Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find - and Keep - Love, by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. You can watch a brief summary of that book here, or an article explaining the basics here.
If you or someone you love has an anxious attachment style, consider reading Insecure in Love: How Anxious Attachment Can Make You Feel Jealous, Needy, and Worried and What You Can Do About It, by Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD..
ChildMind offers resources for parents during the Covid-19 crisis and some advice for how to keep your cool. Read tips for parenting during the pandemic from Dr. Rebecca Hershbirg’s, HealthyChildren.org, HelpGuide.org . ChildrensHospital.org has tip sheets you can download to help explain the pandemic to children of various ages.
Peruse this list of book recommendations on parenting. Gain an understanding of how parenting varies by culture and what Americans can learn from French parents in Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman. Consider subscribing to some parenting podcasts or YouTube channels. Join the Peaceful Parenting Community.
Learn what codependency is and how it shows up in your life. Attend a free online Codependents Anonymous meeting, listen to Dr. Rhoberta Shaler ’s Emotional Savvy podcast, or watch Dr. Abdul Saad’s YouTube Channel, Vital Mind Psychology.
It may be helpful to familiarize yourself with assertive communication skills, strengthen your boundaries, examine your self-esteem, consider whether there are any personal problems you are avoiding, address relational trauma that contributed to your codependency in therapy, or learn about your attachment style. Build up your self-esteem and emotional wisdom through listening to Dr. Thema Bryant’s Homecoming Podcast.
Several books have been written on this subject, including Codependent No More by Melody Beattie, and Facing Love Addiction: Giving Yourself the Power to Change the Way You Love, by Pia Mellody.
If you think you might be dealing with a highly manipulative person, read Shahida Arabi’s article, 20 Diversion Tactics Highly Manipulative Narcissists, Sociopaths And Psychopaths Use To Silence You, to help you gain clarity about their behavior.
Listen to Dr. Rhoberta Schaler’s Save Your Sanity podcast for insight into dealing with highly manipulative people. Vital Mind Psychology has several YouTube playlists on this subject. Read Dr. George Simon’s In Sheep’s Clothing for an in depth understanding of how highly manipulative people work. You can also check out his blog or YouTube interviews such as this one. Or read The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It… Every Time, in which researcher and author Maria Konnikova elaborates on the precise manner by which con artists capitalize on the frailties of the human psyche in order to manipulate us.
If you are certain the person you are dealing with is not just irritating or a poor communicator, but is manipulative and malicious in their intent, consider going No Contact. If that’s not an option - for instance, if you share children with an ex - learn the Grey Rock Method.
Understand you will experience heartache, but it won’t last forever. The physiological symptoms are just as real as withdrawing from a drug, so cut yourself some slack while you heal. Find comfort and wisdom in Chloe Bell’s poem, An Instruction Manual for Putting Yourself Back Together. As much as possible, regulate your sleeping, eating, and exercise habits. You may eventually need a supportive plan for co-parenting after a divorce or navigating other fallout, but remember you don’t have to solve every problem right this moment. Visit the Mood resources page for additional support.