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Why didn’t he understand? Why did she get SO upset? I WAS JUST BEING HONEST!!! This has been you at some point, right? You were just having a simple, no-biggie talk with your significant other. Or your colleague. Or your sister. And then, whoooooaaaa . . .you thought expressing your feelings would clear the air and make you feel better, but it just made everything worse. Honesty is of incredible value in this world of alternative facts. Sometimes, our honesty...

A few years ago I worked with a woman who had been suddenly and brutally abandoned as a young girl by her father, who left her family for another in another country. As you might imagine, as a grown woman, trusting men in intimacy was extremely difficult. Every perceived threat of abandonment by an intimate — like a late returned phone call or decision to go somewhere without her — would set off a chain of reactions that felt real...

Years ago, I learned about my limitations from a dog I rescued up the road. This summer, when we picked up this rascally-angel from the pound, I sensed we were in for it. Kedra (for my Facebook followers who saw the post introducing her, {click for cutie-pic!} there really is no “n” in her name, it’s just that since everybody adds it, I thought I’d simply introduce her that way), the new addition to the family, is a lover, a...

In the middle of a risky conversation with a steady boyfriend, one in which we were confessing our doubts about moving to the next level, he brought up the dreaded N word. The other N word. He was concerned that I might be a narcissist. Gulp. I had just come from a conversation with a colleague who referred to the selfie stick as “the narcisstick,” complaining about our culture’s bloated obsession with self-promotion, and, since I do a fair amount...

I made a different funny face for every ridiculous reason Barry gave for his decision to stop dating his fabulous new love interest (she doesn’t like rock music; she’s shorter than most women he dates; he’s not sure if his son would like her kids — who Barry himself hasn’t met). Then, he got quiet. “I know I set out to find a relationship, but maybe a relationship would be too much,” he said. “I’m just getting a sense of myself,...

Eden was upset. John was nervous. Eden, with her good communication, had asked John to “just listen.” John knew that meant he couldn’t fix her problem. So he listened. And when she was done talking it all out, she looked up at him with pain on her face and cried out, You’re not going to say anything?!!! John threw his hands in the air. “What do you want from me? I don’t fix and I listen, and now it seems you...

When we are unprepared, our vulnerability gets triggered, which is a good thing in terms of growth and learning for the next time. But if we take the time to really learn, and prepare to better handle what threw us off center the last time, the more opportunities we will have to risk and bring our vulnerability to our partners by choice.

Change is destabilizing -- and for most people, destabilization is very triggering. When people are emotionally triggered or feeling insecure, relationships suffer. Sometimes, sadly, they cannot withstand the stress, and people grow apart. But does that make personal growth an adversary to good relationships?

I recently received this comment from a colleague who unsubscribed from my e-mail list: "I just have too many emails coming into my box, I need to streamline, you understand!" I certainly do understand.

You can’t always choose how life is going to go, but if you pay attention to the roles that simply take over and lead you nowhere, you can begin, as Katherine models, to select what roles you want to play. And that enables you to steer the relationSHIP to safety in rough waters.