Life Beyond Therapy: Cheaters

Dear Michael:

I never thought it would happen to me, but here I am, in a relationship with a cheater.

I didn’t know he was sleeping with other guys, but I started to notice too many things that were weird and he then started being extra nice to me in a way that made me wonder what the hell was going on.

Anyway, I found out, confronted him and he admitted it. The problem is: What do I do now? Do I forgive him? How can I trust him again? He swears he won’t do it again, but can I believe him?

Life Beyond Therapy: Parenting yourself

Almost everyone I know complains about their parents — clients, friends and relatives alike. Our parents never get it right, do they? They always screw up in tons of creative, hurtful ways. But what can we do about it?

We can learn to parent ourselves.

Many of us go through life looking for what our parents couldn’t give us. We look to friends, partners, children and our pets for those missing pieces of ourselves that we never got. I see it a lot as a psychotherapist: There’s all this stuff we didn’t get from our parents that we still want. And we want it NOW.

Life Beyond Therapy: How to raise your self-esteem

Self-esteem is a phrase that you hear a lot in the media. I’d like to talk a bit about what self-esteem is and how you can improve yours.

When I worked for Kaiser-Permanente Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, I both founded and facilitated the “Healthy Relationships Support Group.” A key concept of the group was that without healthy self-esteem, a healthy relationship is almost impossible.

That said, I invite you to take this self-esteem quiz. Read the following statements and rate them on a scale of 1 (totally true) to 10 (totally false).

Life Beyond Therapy: Reinventing marriage

Now, no matter what state we live in, move to, or visit, our same-sex marriages are legal. Hooray! This has been a long time coming.

As a therapist and someone who has conducted numerous workshops on same-sex relationships in the past few years, many LGBT men and women have come up to me after their particular workshop was over, pulled me over to the side, and asked, “So Michael, what do you think is really the best way to do same-sex marriage?”

Life Beyond Therapy: Fat? Old? Ugly?

I was inspired to write this column after seeing an ad in an LGBT periodical (not from San Diego). The above three words were the large font headline.

Nice, huh? So helpful and encouraging.

It was an ad for plastic surgery; playing on our worst fears and offering a very expensive, and temporary, solution. If only plastic surgery would solve all of our self-esteem problems, I’d sign up myself.

Life Beyond Therapy: How to have a happy summer

Summers are supposed to be happy, right? Carefree, easy, laid-back … and yet, so often they are not. This column is about how to make this summer one of your best ever. Let’s start with:

Life Beyond Therapy: Fathers and mothers

As we’re about halfway between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, it feels timely to address how our fathers and mothers affect our lives and relationships.

In this column, I’d like to focus on: (1) how our fathers and mothers are (unknowing) models for our own adult relationships, and (2) how we can become good fathers and mothers ourselves, whether we are single or married.

Life Beyond Therapy: Do I have enough?

As a psychotherapist, over the years, I’ve heard many people say that they don’t have enough of the good things in life. This column looks at a few of the things that I think really matter.

Fun: Enjoyment, amusement and pleasure … that’s a good definition of fun. To quote San Diegan Dr. Seuss: “Today is gone. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” To which you may reply: “As if.”

Life Beyond Therapy: The psychology of shopping (and hoarding)

I enjoy shopping … in small doses. It’s fun to go into stores and see what’s there.

I used to shop a lot more. When I would go into a store, I’d literally get an adrenaline rush: so much stuff to look at … and buy. There was a period when shopping was a kind of entertainment for me. When I was bored, I knew what to do: I could go shopping.

Does this sound like you? If so, you’re not alone. Many of us are shopping to fill the voids in our lives.

The Mankind Project is looking for GBTQ men like you

The Mankind Project is a weekend getaway for GBTQ men that starts May 15 and goes through May 17. It focuses on healing the inner-self through reflection and removing those obstacles that restrict GBTQ men from reaching their full potentials.

It is the mission of the Mankind Project to make GBTQ men aware of the pain they are capable of creating, and the suffering in the lives of those around them. The project claims that doing this type of exercise is a paradox of modern masculinity, but one that they are dedicated to teaching.