Premarital and Couples: Treat Your Partner Like Your Pet? | Couple's Net | Chandrama Anderson | Palo Alto Online |

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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Premarital and Couples: Treat Your Partner Like Your Pet?

Uploaded: May 31, 2019
Tara Parker-Pope, NY Times writer, wrote an article called "What Pets Can Teach Us About Marriage." Ms. Pope had read an article by Suzanne Phillips of Long Island University on this topic.

This caught my fancy, because it touches on many good couples principles:

Give each other the benefit of the doubt , i.e. look for underlying intention vs the impact on you.

Give one another unconditional love. Our pet is thrilled to see us every time we come home. They love us no matter what we've done or said or thought or felt, or failed to do that day. I realize this sounds simple, but isn't necessarily easy.

We have to train each other in positive ways, i.e., making sure your partner knows explicitly what your needs are, and vice-versa.

Have constructive expectations; we don't expect animals to be alone too long, or not be able to get outside for too long a stretch. What are you capable of today? What small thing can you do to add positive energy into your relationship. And remember, don't grind out the little green shoots of new behavior with your heel.

Consider that forgiveness relieves you of the burden of carrying anger and resentment. We can not forget "all the things s/he did" but we can make space for the new, healthier efforts of our partner.

From an attachment perspective, we are "regulated" with secure connection with our pets (they help us feel better when we've had a rough day). We can have this with our partner, too.

Pets are messy, life is messy, relationships are messy. Even when they're going well.

What does healthy, secure attachment consist of?

Knowing your partner has your back and will be there for you no matter what.

Home is your safe haven from which you venture out into the world and seek or come upon adventures.

You seek out your partner for comfort and sex.

Think about how you love your pet, and experiment with how to love your partner and yourself.
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