“We Do!” Dr. Stan Tatkin Explains How to Say Yes to Your Relationship

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In this episode of “Sex, Love, and Addiction 101,” Dr. Rob Weiss welcomes Dr. Stan Tatkin, a renowned expert in human relationships, intimacy, and monogamy. Dr. Tatkin discusses his latest book, We Do: Saying Yes to a Relationship of Depth, True Connection, and Enduring Love , his work at the PACT Institute, and how we can encourage people to take time to have the important discussions before jumping in headfirst to a commitment or marriage. Dr. Rob and Dr. Tatkin also discuss the smart way to vet out a potential relationship, monogamy as a choice, the commandments of a secure functioning relationship and advice for couples dealing with betrayal. To listen, click the icon below.

Pornography Use as Rebound and Retaliation by Ralph Lind

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Pornography Use as Rebound and Retaliation by Ralph Lind

I have noticed and recognized a pattern in my work with couples where one partner, usually male, will respond to his partner in a manner that seemed safer than other options in the moment…however very costly in the long term.
Couples come into counseling for usually one of two situations. First is a crisis of some sort. Often that will have to do with issues around sex: affairs, physical or emotional; clandestine sexual connections on the internet or in person; or pornography use that has created a huge problem. Secondly, couples come simply when they are at an impasse of some nature or another, and can’t get through it. The tried and consistently failed method of arguing to convince the other of the correctness of one’s own position and how wrong the other’s is, with ever increasing intensity, is often the breaking point that brings the couple to therapy. The interaction between marital conflict and pornography use is the combination of these 2 situations that frequently require professional intervention.
Men will frequently tire more quickly of the conflict and withdraw, or at least that is what it looks like. Women often intensify their efforts to get the man to reengage in the futile conflict and intensity escalates. The man takes the stance that might appear to him as the “high road”, “safer” and “reasonable”, and becomes passive conceding in a false manner to avoid further conflict, “…whatever you say Dear…”. I understand how men get to this point that Gottman calls “stonewalling”. That position comes from despair. I also also understand the dynamic where a woman has tried everything she has ever heard and read about (often considerable amounts) to get her partner to relate, connect and genuinely care about her. She too reaches despair, and her moving towards her partner pursuing connection often does not look pretty – men may experience this as controlling and feel disempowered. Men misunderstand this dynamic, call it aggression or mean spirited, and find justification for their withdrawal, further infuriating their partner who is already at the end of her rope. The common ultimate statement after each conflict is: “…he/she just doesn’t understand…if he/she did they would see that my action/position is caused by the others’ objectionable behavior”. And quite honestly, they are both absolutely correct. Any attempts to discern who is more justified in their attacking behavior or is more abused or in pain usually follows, with the same impasse eventually coming around that feels so very familiar and so dreaded to both.
This is a conflict no ones wins, and frequently one of the recourses men will pursue is their use of pornography, knowing how hurtful it would be if known. But may be viewed a “safe way” to get even or be consoled, or many other rationalizations. In this context masturbation to porn runs a high risk of becoming “preferred” over a real live, skin on skin, willing partner. Masturbation to porn is “always successful”, can be much less anxiety provoking than risking sex with partner with whom they are in conflict with. Porn belongs to the AAA club – “affordable, accessible and anonymous”. Although this rationale can bring severe consequences, it is often the result of couples inability to genuinely connect, become skilled in resolving conflicts, and nurture their relationship. Many seek help only after the behaviors, unacceptable to both, are found out. There really is a better way.
If any of this rings true to you and yours, or couples you care about, please give us a call. You are not alone, we can help.

Short Videos on Attachment Trauma & Neglect

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Still Face Experiment: Dr. Edward Tronick

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Dr. Allan Schore on attachment trauma and the effects of neglect and abuse on the brain

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Dr. Allan Schore Neurobiology of Secure Attachment

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Dr. Dan Siegel – On Avoidant Attachment

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Signs and Symptoms of Porn Addiction

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See post in Psychology Today by Sue Johnson: Losing a Loved One to Porn (and What You Can Do About It) How much porn is too much porn


Signs and symptoms that indicate addiction: 

  • Inordinately preoccupied with a potentially addictive substance or behavior (thinking about it, pursuing it, etc.);
  • Lost control over use (using even when they don’t want to, not being able to stop once they’ve started, etc.);
  • Lives are falling apart as a result (relationship issues, trouble at work, financial problems, legal woes, depression, anxiety, lowered self-esteem, social/emotional isolation, etc.).

Signs of compulsive porn use:

  • Escalation—increasing amounts of time that a person spends on porn, and/or an increased intensity of the material they view (moving from vanilla porn to hardcore, fetish, or violent porn).
  • Withdrawal—becoming restless, irritable, and discontent when porn is not available.
  • Dishonesty—lying and keeping secrets about porn use (amount of time, content they view, etc.).
  • Disconnection—loss of interest in family, friends, work, and previously enjoyable activities.
  • Sexual Dysfunction—loss of interest in real-world partner sex and/or problems with delayed ejaculation (DE), erectile dysfunction (ED), and/or anorgasmia (inability to reach orgasm)

The great porn experiment | Gary Wilson | TEDxGlasgow

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The first TED talk on porn addiction took place on 2012 by Gary Wilson: “(Internet porn use behaviors include) Being alone, voyeurism, clicking, searching, multiple tabs fast-forwarding, constant novelty shock and surprise.” See Gary Wilson website with detailed information about ‘rebooting’ the brain, science-based resources and more. http://www.yourbrainonporn.com

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