The most important thing I ever learned.

October 6, 2010 at 2:52 pm (psychology, relationships, Uncategorized) (, , )

Disclaimer: I hope this doesn’t come off sounding pretentious.

I was in grad school for 2 1/2 years, in classes/workshops/internships/practicum constantly, and in all that time, I would say that the most important skill I learned was empathy.

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Ask Gynomite!

October 3, 2010 at 11:39 am (ask gynomite, Uncategorized) (, , , )

In her former life, Emily “Gynomite” Gordon was a couples and family therapist licensed in 2 1/2 states.  In this life, she’s a freelance fighter of your emotional woes with Ask Gynomite.  Write her at askgynomite@gmail.com- all emails stay confidential.  Today, Gynomite takes on keeping boundaries up when Mom moves in.

My mom has been out of work since January and can’t find a job in the city she lives in right now.  She asked me and my husband (of two years) if she could move in with us so she could shut off her utilities and keep making her house payments so she wouldn’t have to face foreclosure.  We know that this is the only way she can keep her house, so we said yes.  We have tried to do it the most responsible and honest way that we can be laying out rules (for example, she’s usually pretty messy and cluttered and I prefer a clean home and I told her that it was expected) and asking for a timeline.  I told her that I would prefer if she start transitioning back to her home no later than May 2011.

If I had a normal, happy relationship with my mom then this would be a non-issue.  However, my mom has always been a little overbearing.  Her “sense of humor” as she calls it can be sarcastic at best and mean-spirited at worst.  I spent my entire life growing up waiting to get out of the house so that I could live my own life without her trying to control my actions and decisions.  She’s not a bad person, our pesonalities just clash.  After I moved out and got married, our relationship improved, but that was after years of me reinforcing the fact that I was an adult and did not have to stand for her behavior any longer.

I’m afraid that her moving in will place a strain on my relationship with my husband, first and foremost, and that it will also damage the shaky relationship I’ve managed to cultivate with her so far.  I have tried my best to lay down some ground rules before she moves in, but I’m not entirely sure how well she will adhere to them.  What is the best way for me to approach something like this with her?  If she consistently breaks a rule, I don’t know what I will say to her without making her feel humiliated.  She already had an issue with swallowing her pride and asking to move in with her daughter because she’s on the verge of losing her home and I don’t want to aggravate the situation.

I am really dreading the move (that happens in a couple of weeks) because I have no frame of reference for how to handle something like this.

My goodness, I can’t imagine what a pressure cooker this situation could be.

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Ask Gynomite!

July 21, 2010 at 6:27 pm (ask gynomite, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

In her former life, Emily “Gynomite” Gordon was a couples and family therapist licensed in 2 1/2 states.  In this life, she’s a freelance fighter of your emotional woes.  Write her at askgynomite@gmail.com- all emails stay confidential.  You can also check her out on her weekly advice column over at Lemondrop.  Today, Gynomite takes on when the sex is good but everything else is bad.

I’ve been dating this guy for about 8 months, and honestly, it’s a pretty lame relationship.  At first we got along totally great, but we quickly went from being flirty and having fun to either ignoring or snapping at each other.  I have stuck around because I love him, and also because for the first time ever, I have a great sex life.  Every time we fight we end up having sex, and it’s always passionate and mindblowing and amazing.  That’s worth sticking around for, right?

Wow, good question.  Here’s what I will say: while it’s tough to have a good relationship without a good sex life (thanks Mom!), it is totally possible to have a horrible relationship with a good sex life.  And this is what you have.  The question is, what does it mean?

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Ask Gynomite!

May 31, 2010 at 7:22 am (ask gynomite) (, , , , , )

In her former life, Emily “Gynomite” Gordon was a couples and family therapist licensed in 2 1/2 states.  In this life, she’s a freelance fighter of your emotional woes.  Write her at askgynomite@gmail.com- all emails stay confidential.  You can also check her out on her weekly column over at Lemondrop.  Today, Gynomite takes on gaining insight and making changes, or something like that…

I have this friend who is always making sweeping changes in her life (like deciding she wanted to run a marathon and then dropping it), and is always having all these epiphanies about herself that she calls life changing, but nothing ever really changes.  She just gets philosophical for a few days and then is back to normal.  I don’t know what question I’m asking, but I’m tired of it.  I guess…do I have to put up with it or can I tell her she’s being stupid?

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Ask Gynomite!

May 17, 2010 at 2:07 pm (ask gynomite, New York, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

In her former life, Emily “Gynomite” Gordon was a couples and family therapist licensed in 2 1/2 states.  In this life, she’s a freelance fighter of your emotional woes.  Write her at askgynomite@gmail.com- all emails stay confidential.  You can also check her out on her weekly column over at Lemondrop.  Today, Gynomite takes on safety in the big city.

This is not really a crazy person or relationship question, but I just moved to New York about a month ago, and this place terrifies me.  I live in an ok neighborhood, but do you have any tips on how a girl can keep herself safe in a big city?

I went through the same feelings when I moved here too, and it’s more of a mental health question than you might think!

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Ask Gynomite!

April 1, 2010 at 11:13 am (ask gynomite, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

In her former life, Emily “Gynomite” Gordon was a couples and family therapist licensed in 2 1/2 states.  In this life, she would love to take a crack at your emotional dilemmas.  Write her at askgynomite@gmail.com- all emails stay confidential.  You can also check her out on her weekly column over at Lemondrop.  Today, Gynomite takes on boss problems.

I have a problem. I have been working at a new job for about 7 months. I LOVE the challenges this job presents.  My boss, however, is another story. She is a micro-manager. She has 5 children, inherited the business from her mother, and is committed to being a good mom, but not so committed to the company. That’s great, if she would just hire someone to RUN the company. She will “pop in” and interfere with everyone’s projects, hold everything up, and then disappear for a couple days. She brings her toddlers into meetings, she will completely miss meetings without a call or an email. Most days we have no idea if she will be in or not. She places unreasonable deadlines on us because she has no idea how to run ANYTHING.

The company is too small to me to go elsewhere here. I think the problem is, I do not respect her, at all. I like the job, but I can’t stand the way she is running things into the ground. She bottlenecks all processes, she reminds me of the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland – “Off with his head” as soon as anyone upsets her. She is utterly ridiculous. I am used to people who work hard, people I respect and admire, people who are professional. She can barely make it to work by 1pm, yet she expects all of us to “clock in” by 9am. She screams and goes into tantrums in meetings and flies off the handle constantly.

What do I do?

Dealing with a boss who needs a boss can be very very tricky.  Tread carefully.

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Ask Gynomite!

March 5, 2010 at 8:22 am (ask gynomite, relationships, Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

In her former life, Emily “Gynomite” Gordon was a couples and family therapist licensed in 2 1/2 states.  In this life, she would love to take a crack at your emotional dilemmas.  Write her at askgynomite@gmail.com- all emails stay confidential.  You can also check her out on her weekly column over at Lemondrop.  Today, Gynomite takes on the dregs of long term relationships.

I’ve been with my boyfriend for about three years, and we live together, and in the past few months, everything he does just annoys the shit out of me.  I don’t want to break up with him because I love him, but seriously, I just want to tell him to shut up a lot of the time.  Is this normal for long relationships?

It is perfectly normal to feel annoyed by someone you’re spending your life with, absolutely.  But you’re going to have to fix your response to it.

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Ask Gynomite!

February 16, 2010 at 6:56 pm (ask gynomite, Uncategorized) (, , , )

In her former life, Emily “Gynomite” Gordon was a couples and family therapist licensed in 2 1/2 states.  In this life, she is a blogger that would love to take a crack at your emotional dilemmas.  Write her at askgynomite@gmail.com- all emails stay confidential.  You can also check her out on her weekly column over at Lemondrop.  Today, Gynomite takes on the disappearing date.

I am not the biggest fan of long distance relationship but I came across this charming lady and we have been talking to each other since october. We would exchange occasional text messages and speak for hours on the phone at least once a week.
Then last week I made a hike to her town to catch up with her over lunch and we had a great time. I haven’t heard back from her since. I sent her a text while on a work trip in TX a couple days back but still no response.
And now I am facing the dilemma of trying to figure out what’s the story. I wouldn’t mind hearing an expression of disinterest, I can take a no, but how do I get any response from her?
Thoughts, suggestions, ideas?

Ugh, this is always a lame situation, and I’m sorry that you’re having to become a low level psychic.  Let’s discuss.

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Ask Gynomite!

February 10, 2010 at 8:23 pm (ask gynomite) (, , , , , , )

In her former life, Emily “Gynomite” Gordon was a couples and family therapist licensed in 2 1/2 states.  In this life, she would love to take a crack at your emotional dilemmas.  Write her at askgynomite@gmail.com- all emails stay confidential.  You can also check her out on her weekly column over at Lemondrop.  Today, Gynomite takes on drama in a relationship that’s grown stale.

I live with my boyfriend, and for the past year almost, our relationship has just been lame.  We don’t fight that much, but I’m not happy being with him anymore, and I don’t think he’s happy being with me either.  It’s just joyless and boring in our house, and I want to leave him, but it seems stupid because he’s not a bad man.  Now this was all true before “Lyle” showed up.  Lyle is a college buddy of mine that recently moved to the same town I live in, and for whatever reason, I am ridiculously attracted to him.  I’m pretty sure he’s attracted to me too.  We’ve never hooked up, back then or now, and I am not a cheater, but I want this guy so bad I can’t stand it.  Is wanting to cheat a sign that I have to get out of this relationship?

Wow.  A lot going on here.  Since you didn’t ask what to do about the current relationship you are still in, I won’t address it either, until I do.

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Tales from the wilderness therapist’s chair

February 9, 2010 at 7:33 pm (my life, tales from the therapist's chair) (, , , , )

For my first job after grad school, I worked as a therapist at a wilderness camp for troubled adolescent boys.  I showed up for the interview at the camp in my “I’m a grownup” suit and heels, and was immediately introduced to the campus dog Murray.  You’re always going to feel a bit overdressed meeting a dog in a business suit.  I learned my lesson, and for the next year, dressed as if I was on a break from painting my house, or perhaps about to play some touch football.   The last thing you want to do with emotionally troubled teenage boys with no outlets for their sexuality is wear form-fitting clothes.

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