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Saturday, February 22

The Words Your Upset Wife Needs to Hear

Not to be sexist, but…

My father is an inch shorter than my 6-foot 2-inch (188cm) mother. Despite the example of grandma and grandpa, though, amongst my siblings and our many children, nearly every opposite-sex attachment has involved taller males connecting with shorter females. My tall daughter shudders — literally — at the idea of dating average-height men.

Lesson? I’m not confident socialization is the most compelling explanation for gendered differences.
Little girl handing a flower to a littler boy
It’ll never work out. (Image credit:
Here’s my theory: There’s something fascinating and compelling about people who aren’t us. Perhaps that’s part of the reason most humans are drawn to people of the other sex: They’re mysterious, and mystery is interesting.

But here’s the thing about that mystery. While it’s interesting, it also leads to confusion and misunderstanding…and quite often, hurt feelings.

Tuesday, February 18

How to Stop Getting Sucked In

When Jessica* got online with me, she was nearly in tears. Her husband was furious with her, and she was ready to give in.

Cartoon woman asking questions
What should I do? 
(image credit:

“What should I do?” she asked.

“He wants to buy more toys?” This wasn’t our first conversation about her spendthrift partner.

“Yep. Another set of golf clubs. Even though he already has a set.”

“And he wants to take the money from…?”

“From the money I’m saving to replace my tires. He says the tires aren’t that bad.”

“So, when you disagreed?” 

“At first, he was trying to be nice about it, but when I didn’t agree, he started shouting that I’m a selfish, controlling bitch.”

Monday, February 17

Are we having (dys)fun(ction) yet?

How well does your family function? Are you all quite fond of one another, or are one or more family members contemplating airing the family problems on an upcoming episode of Dr. Phil?
Bet you'd quit fighting if a bear suddenly showed up!
(Image credit: Flickr)

Here's a quick one-question test to determine whether your family is functional, or dysfunctional. Ready? Here it goes:

Where's the enemy?

Are members of your family causing

Wednesday, February 5

The Fast Fix for Spinning Thoughts

When emotions overwhelm, don’t word vomit. List vomit.

I have an acquaintance who is married to the idea that she has a right — a right, I tell you — to unload on her partner whenever she’s upset.

Her fourth marriage is on the rocks.

What did shouting ever get you? (Image credit: frank mckenna on Unsplash)
I’ve shared with her the research(1) that says venting is a terrible coping strategy. (Incidentally, so are self-blame, denial, withdrawing, and using social support — ie, gossiping.) But she’s so angry, so often, that she never gets to the three effective coping strategies: positive reframing, acceptance, and humor.