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opposites attract Articles

‘Friends With Benefits’ or Friends With Complications?

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

According to the urban dictionary, ‘friends with benefits’ are defined as “Two friends who have a sexual relationship without being emotionally involved.”

Wait a minute… didn’t someone say that once people see each other naked they can’t be friends?

In my experience working with people, I have found that those who have acted on what is now termed, “friends with benefits” often end up as “friends with complications” – or not friends at all.

Both men and women who sleep with a friend often start out believing, or telling themselves and each other  “It’s no big deal. Why not?”

The reality seems to be that it is a big deal emotionally – if not for both, often for one. Sleeping with a friend changes the definition of the relationship in terms of physical boundaries, emotional connection, conscious and unconscious expectations, view of self and other.


Married with Differences: Can That Work?

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

at the alterIt depends. It most cases it’s not the differences that threaten a marriage, it’s how the partners experience and react to those differences.

There Are Always Some Differences

Whether you were drawn together by the attraction of opposites or finally found your ideal match in terms of similar looks, education or socio-economic background, most partners at some point realize they are married “ with differences.” The fact is that no two people have the same goal, react the same way or enjoy the same thing, at the same time – ALL THE TIME. ( Thankfully)

  • “ You really like working in the garden?”
  • “ You don’t mind driving the kids for 8 hours to ski?”
  • “ You really want that many pairs of shoes?”

When Do Differences become Problems?

Working with couples, it seems that differences become problems when they are unexpected, imply change or are experienced as a threat to either partner or to the relationship. Often partners react to the assumed threat with accusation or judgment which sets the stage for conflict. For example,

While most partners can live with having different tastes in foods and music, differences that emerge in the face of life events ( jobs, children, financial burdens) often threaten partners.


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Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP & Dianne Kane, DSW are the authors of Healing Together: A Couple's Guide to Coping with Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress. Pick up the book today!

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