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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
Individual, Couple and Family Therapy
Resolving issues from your past that block your future

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Don’t Do What The Movies Do!

February 2009

I was watching a movie last night where a couple broke up. The break up occurred after the man had hurt the woman. The woman walked out and refused any communication for six months. After that, they fell into each other’s arms and lived happily ever after.

I realize that this is just a movie, and its goal is to entertain people and not teach healthy communication, but it really annoyed me. I began to think of how many other couples, real ones, get mad and walk out with no attempt at communication or reconciliation.

I completely support the idea of a cooling off period after a fight, but that should last a few hours not six months. If you have a fight or been hurt by your partner, do not start talking until you are calm enough to be rational. Throwing hurtful words at each other only enflames the situation.

Once you are calm, sit down with your partner and calmly explain why the situation was so hurtful for you. Allow you partner to explain, ask forgiveness or express why he or she is angry with you. Talk out the problem. Understand your part in the conflict. Yes, you have part of the responsibility, too. If you two cannot do this calmly, then seek out a therapist who can help mediate the conversation. Work on the issues in the relationship. See if the partnership can be fixed, or even made better. You may find that by being able to talk things through that your connection is st ronger and healthier after the conflict, if it is resolved thoroughly.

Being hurt does not, necessarily, have to mean the end of the relationship. As you can see, watching movies can be very difficult for a therapist to do!


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