Mental Health and Your Child - Part 3: Does My Child Need a Diagnosis?


Making the decision to take your child to counseling can be overwhelming. In part 1 of this series, we talked about how and where to find a good therapist and in part 2 we covered finding a good fit for you, your child, and your family. As you continue down the path of seeking support for your family, something else that might come up is the idea of a mental health diagnosis. Today we will break down exactly what that is, why it can be important, and what it means.

So what is a mental health diagnosis anyways?

“Mental health diagnosis” can be three very scary words as you are entering counseling and considering services for your child and your family. When thinking about these words we sometimes think about the most serious diagnoses and how popular media presents “crazy”. However, in reality, a mental health diagnosis simply means that there is a challenge with coping with the demands of life. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) describes mental illness as something “that disrupts a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning”. A mental health diagnosis is simply something that names that illness.

Does my child need a diagnosis?

A mental health diagnosis is not always necessary. You can seek help for your child and participate in counseling very productively without ever giving a name to the symptoms that you are seeking help for. However, naming those symptoms can sometimes be therapeutic in itself and be beneficial in creating the most effective treatment plan for your child and family. In addition, there are certain circumstances that necessitate a mental health diagnosis.

Some pros to having a diagnosis:

- Having a mental health diagnosis can sometimes provide better access to services. For example, a child diagnosed on the autism spectrum might have access to behavior therapy through the public school district.

- A mental health diagnosis is required to seek counseling through your insurance provider or EAP. Insurance benefits can be very helpful in making mental health services accessible and affordable. However, it is important for you to know that a diagnosis will be required in order for them to cover your child’s treatment and this is something that will always be on your child’s health record.

- A mental health diagnosis can be beneficial in creating the most effective treatment plan possible. For example, if medication could be beneficial in your child’s treatment, a diagnosis might be used to name the challenges and provide a way for your therapists and doctors to work together.

A mental health diagnosis can be essential to successful treatment but is not always necessary or beneficial for your child and your family. As a therapist I work with many families without ever naming a mental health diagnosis. When starting work with a new counselor, asking questions about his or her use of a mental health diagnosis for your child will help ensure you’re on the same page. Finding a therapist who is a good fit will pay off in your child’s and family’s counseling success and knowing everything you can about questions to ask, what a diagnosis means, and what to expect, will help in that process. Congratulations on continuing these steps toward making positive changes!

Amanda Regalia, M.A. is a marriage and family counselor and clinician for The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. Amanda specializes in working with families and children ages 5 and up. She is passionate about helping people to create practical solutions that support them in achieving their goals and improving their relationships and life

Make It a Quick Wedding: Best 6 Tips for Marrying in a Hurry


In life, we all want to fall in love with the partner of our dreams. However, for some people this may take months and months of dating, while for others it could happen in the blink of an eye. If you're currently looking to get married in a hurry, check out some of the tips compiled below.

6 Tips for Marrying in a Hurry

1. Make the Most of Your Time

Most couples usually spend about a year planning their wedding, so when you don't have nearly that much time to put together your ceremony, you have to make sure that your time really counts. Begin by creating a budget of how much money you want to spend on the occasion and then start buying what needs to be bought. There is no time for indecisiveness here: you must make your major decisions now. This obviously includes booking your reception hall, purchasing your gown, renting out a tux and picking a beautiful location for the honeymoon.

2. Use Creativity 

When you don't give yourself a lot of time to put together the wedding of your dreams, you may notice that a lot of your first choices aren't readily available. In that case, you have to learn to adapt, as well as be flexible. There may be more choices at your fingertips that you didn't even know existed. That's why you must keep an open mind. There are always other options waiting to be explore, which is especially true when eloping. When you're running away with the love of your life with absolutely no notice, you have to be prepared for the unexpected and welcome it with open arms.

3. Ask for Help

There's no shame in asking those around you for help. This will help you move the whole process along much quicker. even suggests hiring an event planner to put together the entire wedding for you. If you go this route, you'll save yourself a lot of time because many wedding planners have a whole network of vendors at their disposal. This means you don't have to do nearly as much research as you would otherwise.

4. Enjoy the Moment

Remember, weddings are supposed to be a joyous time in your life, so really take in what's going on around you. Being in a hurry doesn't mean you have to stop experiencing all the fun that comes with having a wedding. In fact, a lot of couples feel that when they elope to a place like a Las Vegas wedding chapel for a themed Elvis wedding, it leaves them with less room to stress out. Instead of focusing on all the details, all their time and energy can be put into celebrating their love right then and there at the drop of a hat.

5. Money Situation

Many times couples worry that by planning a wedding in such a short amount of time, they will end up spending a fortune for what would cost others with more time a lot less. That is certainly not the case, since there shouldn't be any rush fees put into action for booking a reception hall. Similar to this, even though you're on a short time frame, you should still look for great bargains and try to negotiate prices. Of course you don't have as much time to be fickle about your decisions, so just make smart and informed choices every step along the way.

6. Look for Recommendations

Like asking for help from event planners, you should also look around for any family or friends who got married recently in your area. See if they have any recommendations for you. After all, these are the people you trust most, so if they're saying that the hip jazz band down the street or the Mon Bel Ami photography service was great, chances are you'll end up feeling the same way. This will save you so much time and hard work in the long run.

For those situations when you don't have all the time in the world to put together a fabulous wedding, don't fret. If you keep these tips in mind, you will put together a one-of-a-kind ceremony and reception that will leave your guests in total awe.

About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she's used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here. This article uses Las Vegas wedding chapel information from

Tips to Finally Stop Your Toxic Relationships


For most of us, relationships are our foundation; they give our life purpose and meaning.  But not all relationships are positive.  If you've ever been in a toxic relationship, you understand the damage they can do.  Your self-worth is challenged by the other person’s criticalness, you often feel judged, and you feel used.  While you may have a strong grasp on identifying toxic relationships, you can't help but wonder why you continue to find yourself in one-sided relationships. But there are a few things you can do to see a toxic relationship before it begins - and stop the relationship before it becomes toxic. 

Identifying Toxic Relationships

First of all, understand that toxic relationships come in all shapes and sizes; it could be your next door neighbor, your boss, an old friend from college, your child’s soccer coach, or even a parent or partner.  The main thing to understand is, because toxic relationships come into your life under the guise of a positive relationship, they can often be difficult to identify in the beginning. 

Then when you are with the other person, check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling.  Are you exhausted trying to meet his or her needs and expectations?  Do you feel like you’re walking on eggshells, constantly questioning your actions because you feel like you can't yourself?  If so, you are probably in a toxic relationship. 

Toxic relationships are often one-sided.  You give and give while the other person takes.  However, if you ask for a favor, no matter how minute, the need goes unmet and eventually, you find yourself putting your needs aside.

Although there are a number of ways to identifying toxic relationships, the best is to be aware of your feelings and actions.  If you are feeling like you cannot be your true self, are uncomfortable, or feeling used, chances are, you are in a toxic relationship

Taking the Next Step

After you’ve identified that the relationship is toxic, or one-sided, what do you do next?  With some of these relationships, you may not have the ability to cut all ties; like with that coworker who sits in the cubical next to you.  However, you can and need to start setting limits with the other person.  If you are constantly being asked for favors, but the gesture isn’t returned, let the other person know you can't help them at that time.  By setting limits and boundaries, you can bring equality into your relationship. 

While setting boundaries is a healthy way to start changing the relationship, you also need to be honest and communicate your thoughts and feelings.  Although it may seem obvious to you, the other person may be unaware that you feel used.  By clearly communicating your feelings, you are shining light on the issues within your relationship and can open the channel of communication. 

There may be instances where you have tried setting limits and communicating and the other person is just not willing to budge.  In these cases, if it is possible, it may be best to end the relationship because it will more than likely remain one-sided. 


After ending a toxic romantic relationship, it’s time for the healing process to begin.  It is okay to take time to grieve the loss of the relationship and heal the wounds.  During this time, surround yourself with positive people who can remind you of what a two-sided, healthy relationship is.  Also, take a look at yourself and the relationship.  You obviously stayed in the relationship for a reason.  Ask yourself what need was being met? What were you getting out of the relationship?  By answering these questions, you can begin to understand and meet your own needs instead of relying on another person. 
While it may not be easy to confront the toxic person, or completely cut him or her out of your life, you deserve to be in an equal relationship.  So if you find yourself feeling unappreciated, acting differently around the other person, or putting your needs aside, it’s time to hit the breaks and decide how you want to proceed with this relationship.  

Lori Dougherty is a Marriage and Family Counselor at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. As a marriage and family counselor, she helps couples navigate the many difficulties that arise in their relationship. She also helps couples rebuild happiness together so they can have the fulfilling relationship with their partner they've always wanted. 

Mental Health and Your Child Part 2: Questions to Ask Your Future Therapist


Making the decision to take your child to counseling can be overwhelming. In part 1 of this series, we talked about how and where to find a good therapist. Now, let’s narrow it down to finding a good fit for you, your child, and your family. When starting out on your search one of the first things you might find overwhelming are all of the letters behind names to choose from. Here is a brief overview of what some of the most common letters stand for:

What Do Those Letters Mean?

MFT or LMFT – MFT stands for marriage and family therapist, with the “L” indicating that the individual is licensed. Licensing generally indicates that the individual has completed vigorous post degree training and supervision requirements. MFTs have a master’s degree and have completed training that is specific to working with families and couples in counseling.

PC or LPC – Professional counselors (PCs) have a masters in counseling and have completed training specific to counseling, with the “L” indicating that the individual is licensed.

PhD and PsyD – These letters indicate that the professional has a doctorate degree and can be referred to as a doctor or psychologist. PhDs are sometimes focused on research while PsyDs can be more clinically focused, however, both can provide counseling.

MSW or LCSW – MSW stands for masters in social work (MSW), and with additional training this professional can be a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).

All of the above letters indicate that a counselor has completed extensive education and might be a good fit for your family. In the state of Colorado, you can verify a therapist’s license on the state board website. After understanding what his or her license is, some follow up questions can be helpful in determining if he or she has specialized training in working with children. Some questions to ask your future counselor might include:

Questions to Ask Your Future Therapist

What kind of training or education have you completed to work with children in mental health?
This question will help you to determine if your potential counselor is qualified to work with children and deal with specific concerns that you would like to focus on.

Do you specialize in working with specific mental health concerns or a specific age group?
If you have very specific challenges you would like to focus on in counseling, there might be a counselor who specializes in that very thing. Some professionals might even specialize in a certain age group. Although these specializations are not necessary to finding a good fit, it can be helpful to ask.

What approach do you use in working with children?
Counselors will vary widely in their approach to counseling and there are many different effective approaches that can lead to client success. Many child therapists will utilize some play therapy which includes toys and can help your child to feel comfortable in counseling.

Will my family be involved in my child’s counseling?
It can be important to know what your future therapist’s expectations are of you in counseling. When working with a child, it can be essential to include family in sessions as this can ensure that your success in counseling continues at home too.

Not every counselor works with children or families and this can be critical to feeling like it’s a good fit. Generally, potential therapists will be happy to offer you a short phone or in-person consultation to answer your questions and learn more about your child and why you are seeking counseling at this time. If your potential therapist is unable or unwilling to answer questions, it might be worth consulting with additional therapists in your area. This can sometimes be an overwhelming process but finding a therapist who is a good fit will pay off in your child’s and family’s counseling success. Congratulations on continuing these steps toward making positive changes!

Amanda Regalia, M.A. is a marriage and family counselor and clinician for The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. Amanda specializes in working with families and children ages 5 and up. She is passionate about helping people to create practical solutions that support them in achieving their goals and improving their relationships and life

He Said/She Said: I think I'm in Love, but I'm Married to Someone Else


I was in a year long relationship 28 years ago with a man who was in the middle of a divorce. (Bad idea, I know.) As the custody battle over their son heated up, I told him he should move back home and try to get his wife to go to counseling, so that when they went to court he could say that he tried and she wouldn't go, etc. and he would have a better chance at getting custody.  Then his wife got pregnant.  The divorce came to a halt and I told him that I would no longer see him, moved out of the area and married an old friend who had been pursuing me. (That marriage didn't last.)

I have been remarried for about 14 years but my husband and I have disconnected over the last several years and have had no sex for 3 years. In the last year, my relationship with my husband has deteriorated and I told him that I want a divorce. But he doesn’t want to.

Then a couple of years ago, through social media, I found the man from 28 years ago and sent him a friend request, not intending anything more than to see if he was having a good life. I found out that he has been divorced for 12 years and lives a thousand miles from me.

I considered this man to be "the love of my life" and have thought about him often over the years. At first when he called, I kept him at arms length and only spoke to him twice in a years time.

I have begun talking to this man more frequently.  He said that he still has feelings for me and I think that I could still have feelings for him. He is willing to wait for me to get divorced. How should I handle this? I don't think I should jump right into this relationship too soon.



She Said 

As your past relationships confirm, sometimes, when it comes to our love lives: It's complicated. As the cliché goes, when one door closes, another opens. Please make sure the door is closed with your husband before you try to open another door. 

If you believe your marriage cannot be fixed and you do not see yourself being happy with your husband, get a divorce. But don't get a divorce because you think you will live happily ever after with a man you have not seen in twenty-eight years. The truth is, while you shared a love in he past, you are strangers now. The fantasy of the relationship with him that you have in your head may be better than the relationship you would actually have. Or it could be the best thing that ever happens to you! 

Either way, one thing you don't need is a rebound. Finish up your business with your current relationship before you jump into another one. Make sure you get to know your future partner before changing your life to be with him. Good luck!

He Said 

This has red flags all over it! A lot happens to people in 28 years. I couldn't agree more with Rachel when she says that you may have knew each other 28 years ago, but you are strangers now. He might have traces of the same guy from 28 years ago but there's no guarantee he's the same guy he was. And there's no guarantee to him that you're the same girl he wanted 28 years ago, either. 

But even more important than the time is the fact that you haven't ended your current relationship. This is more important because you can't judge one relationship while you're still involved with another. You can't do it because you're getting certain needs met from one person and getting other needs met from the other. And there's no way to tell all the subtle ways that who's fulfilling what. Because of this, you could start a relationship and realize that your new partner isn't all he's cracked up to be because you weren't actually getting certain needs met by him; they were being met by your old partner. 

One last thing: there are more than just two fish in the sea. You don't have to stay with your current husband OR leave him for your friend of 28 years ago. There are plenty of eligible men local and available that you can begin seeing who may be just as good (or better) than your old friend. Do the right thing: divorce first, then start looking around. 

About Rachel:  Rachel Russo is a Dating, Relationship, & Image Coach who works with marriage-minded singles and couples in NYC and throughout the US. You can find her at

About Aaron: Aaron Anderson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, Colorado and writer for various websites on marriage and relationships.

Break Free from Relationship Limbo


So the story goes, boy meets girl, or boy, or girl meets girl – or some version of the sort.  You date, maybe you fall in love, maybe you don’t.  Either way, as you travel through life together, unbeknownst to you, your partner decides to disembark the love train, leaving you single, grieving, and possibly pining.

In your new singlehood, you may reconnect with friends for a night out searching for your next sexual encounter, eat your way through a pint of two of Ben & Jerry’s, maybe you decide to finally train for that half marathon you’ve always wanted to run, or simply try to better yourself.  As you grieve, and possibly dedicate yourself to being the best version of you, you slowly get over your ex.  You start feeling like yourself again, and then it happens: the contact.  It could be a simple text inquiring about how you’re doing, a phone call, or an email.  Nevertheless, you’re curious.

You and your ex meet up, you talk, reminisce, and those feelings come flooding back.  While you’re thinking my ex must have missed me, you’re being told, “You’re so great, but I’m really not ready for a relationship yet.”  Because of that "yet", you two decide you can be friends and you fall back into old patterns.  You laugh about inside jokes, he watches your dog for you while you go out of town, she accompanies you to a work gathering, you two feel like a couple, but you’re not.  You are in relationship limbo and you ex wants to know how far you will go.

Will you sleep together without the commitment?  Will you still water his plants or take care of her cat while she’s out of town?  Will you listen as he vents about his boss or she cries after a rough day at work?  Your ex is testing this boundary, figuring out how to keep you in his or her life without having to commit to a relationship.

Overall, your ex was missing the companionship of a relationship, but probably not missing you. just not that into you.”  In fact, your ex is probably actively dating and hanging out with you to fill up some free, lonely time.  Unfortunately, as you’re thinking it could lead to you two reuniting, you are actually being used.  You have become your ex’s emotional crutch.  You are there when it is convenient for him or her, but your texts are rarely responded to, there isn’t cuddling after sex, and you two never spend the night together.  Even if you two aren’t sleeping together, your sole purpose is to provide comfort and support until a new partner comes along to fulfill that role.  And when your ex finally finds someone new, you will have to start the grieving process all over.  However, to avoid months of agony, you have the choice to break out of relationship limbo and keep your mental well-being intact. While your ex is telling you he or she isn’t ready for a relationship, what you are really being told is, to quote Greg Behrendt, I’m “

Is It or Isn’t It?

Maybe you’re thinking, this isn’t me, I’m not stuck in relationship limbo.  If you’re comfortable with the way the relationship is going, you probably aren’t stuck in relationship limbo.  If you understand you and your ex may never get back together, or maybe you have no desire of reuniting and you are also dating, then you might be comfortable spending time with your ex until you find a committed partner.  However, if you’re not comfortable, proceed with caution.  You need to decide how important you are to yourself; if you’re not treating yourself with respect, your ex won’t show you the respect you deserve.

It’s Not Me, It’s You 

If you are in relationship limbo, try not to blame yourself. Blame your ex instead. Chances are your ex is emotionally needy and doesn’t like being alone.  You, unfortunately, were the easy target, possibly because you were vulnerable after the break up.  If you are hoping your ex will eventually come to his or her senses and see you for the catch you are, but you are being told some version of “you’re amazing, but,” it’s time for you to put yourself first and consider your wants and needs.

Cutting Off Contact

Keep in mind, your life isn’t a made for TV drama.  More than likely, you and your ex  won’t smoothly transition from dating to just friends.  And, unfortunately, the best way to avoid getting in too deep and hurting yourself more is to completely end the relationship, including sex and trying to be friends.  Although it may be difficult because of the history you two share, you deserve to be in a relationship with someone who wants you, not with someone who will use you to meet his or her own needs.  Whether or not you decide to explain this to your ex it’s time to end all contact.  No more texts, FaceBook messages, emails, or phone calls.  In fact, it’s probably best to delete your ex from all forms of social media.

Do not set yourself up to be used by your ex.  While breakups are difficult and you may find yourself missing your ex, but you deserve to be more than a booty call and someone’s emotional crutch.  It is possible that your ex may contact you and genuinely want to rekindle the flame.  However if you are being fed lines, your ex is more than likely trying to pull you into relationship limbo.  If you hate games, ignore your ex’s advances.  In time, the two of you may be able to be friends, but anything immediately after the breakup may be harmful to your overall well-being.

Lori Dougherty is a Marriage and Family Counselor and Intern for The Marriage and Family Clinic. As a marriage and family counselor, she helps couples navigate the many difficulties that arise in a relationship; simultaneously helping them cultivate happiness to maintain the fulfilling relationship they share with their partner. 

Mental Health and Your Child Part 1: Finding a Therapist


Making the decision to take your child to counseling can be overwhelming. Mental health care can be tough to navigate with its many options and can be intimidating for families just starting down this path. In this series, I’ll attempt to clarify some questions that come up most often when families decide to seek support in counseling. Tough questions will be answered like “where do I find a therapist?”, “what am I even looking for?”, and “does my child need a diagnosis?” Let’s start with the first step of finding a therapist that’s a good fit for your child and family.

If you’re considering counseling, something could be going better for your child and family and I commend you for seeking support. Making that decision can be scary but also exciting as you seek out a counselor to support positive changes. At this point you might be asking yourself “Now what?” as the options seem overwhelming and it’s not exactly clear where to start. Here are some first steps to finding a counselor:

Finding a Great Therapist for Your Child

 Insurance or EAP. If you wish to use your mental health benefits through your insurance or EAP program, it can be time saving for you to check with them first for an appropriate referral. There may be limited options in your area and you might be limited to a certain number of sessions that they will cover. They also might reimburse a certain percentage of sessions with an “out of network” provider if your future counselor is willing to provide them with certain information. There are pros and cons to using your insurance and these can also be discussed with your future counselor whether they accept your insurance or not. An EAP program might also offer sessions for families and children as part of your benefits. Calling them directly and asking exactly what can be covered can help clarify some questions for you and might narrow your search for a counselor.

Referrals. Talking about mental health can sometimes be a taboo topic. But in reality, a lot of people have or will have experience with a counselor at some point in their lives. Anestimated 59 million adults are involved in therapy! Asking friends or family about their experiences can help you make decisions about who in your area might be a good fit. School counselors and teachers are also a great resource for counselors in your area. Many will know a good therapist in the area who works with children. If you have a connection to a therapist that you already like and connect to, such as your own marriage counselor or individual counselor, he or she will also usually be able to provide you with a referral to a counselor who works with children and families.

The internet. An internet search can be intimidating but also provide a wealth of information in just a short amount of time. Doing a simple search like “child counselor” in your town will return with potential counselors who work with children in your area. Other sites like and also allow you to search for free for a counselor in your area that specifically works with children.

So what am I looking for anyways? In the next part of this series we’ll talk about what questions to ask your future counselor and what all those letters mean behind their names. Utilizing the above resources will help you to find a counselor that specializes in working specifically with children and their families. Not every counselor works with children or families and this can be critical to feeling like it’s a good fit. You have taken the first step toward you child’s and family’s success in making positive changes!
Amanda Regalia, M.A. is a marriage and family counselor and clinician for The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. Amanda specializes in working with families and children ages 5 and up. She is passionate about helping people to create practical solutions that support them in achieving their goals and improving their relationships and life

Stop Damaging Your Relationship: 3 Options Instead of an Ultimatum


In your relationship, whether past or present, you may have found yourself overly frustrated and exhausted by your partners behaviors, feeling you only have one option: the ultimatum.  For instance, if your partner does not stop abusing drugs or alcohol, start helping around the house or with the children, or end a relationship that is impacting the bond you share, you will leave. The principle of your ultimatum implies that you are leaving the relationship unless your specified need is met.  However, with most ultimatums, you are actually asking your partner to change because you are not ready to end the relationship.  This is where the ultimatum falls through and ultimately damages your relationship.  Ultimatums imply finality.

When you do not follow through on your threat, you are teaching your partner that his or her behavior is actually okay, therefore suggesting the issue is no longer a problem for you.  However, if an ultimatum is declared and behavior does not change, you are left with the unresolved issue and feelings of resentment – resenting your partner for not changing and yourself for staying in a relationship that does not fully meet your needs.  Over time, these feelings of resentment, and possibly anger, will poison your relationship, ultimately compromising your bond.  Before reaching the breaking point where your partnership becomes irreparable, considered the following suggestions in lieu of an ultimatum.  

Teach Your Partner How to Treat You

When you teach your partner how to treat you, you are setting boundaries.  Modeling to your partner what is and is not acceptable in your relationship, by simply respecting the boundaries you set, you are ultimately drawing a line that illustrates how you prefer to be treated and things you will not compromise on.  Through maintaining your own boundaries, your partner should be able to establish a sense of your wants and needs.  However, if your partner is not picking up on your subtle or overt hints, it is time to open the channels of verbal communication.    

Clearly Communicate Your Want and Needs

Essentially, ultimatums are an effort to control your partner.  You are aggressively requesting your needs to be met - or else. Maybe you have communicated these needs numerous times before declaring an ultimatum, and maybe you have not. In your perspective, you have made your needs clear, but unless you explicitly communicated what you want or need in a relationship, your partner may be unaware.

Overall, ultimatums may result because of a breakdown in communication, leaving you feeling unheard.  Next time you feel forced into a corner and see an ultimatum as the only available option, try to clearly communicate your needs to your partner.  This can be as simple as saying, “I would like some extra help with the laundry.  Can you help me fold the clothes tonight?”  With open channels of communication, you are able to share your wants and needs in a calmer, more rational state of mind.  

Work Toward a Compromise

If the behavior is something irritating, but not a deal breaker, use the newly open channels of communication to come to a compromise.  In a relationship there are two people who both have needs; taking your partner’s needs into consideration shows you value them.  As your relationship grows and changes, you need to be flexible enough to renegotiate expectations and rules.  Determine if you are comfortable bending your boundary and what that would look like for you.

However, if your partner’s behavior is absolutely something you cannot compromise on – working
long hours, drug or alcohol abuse, cheating, putting others before your relationship – it may be time for you to consider your own well being and exit the relationship before you find yourself becoming too resentful of your partner.

Remember, a true ultimatum involves you leaving the relationship.  If you and your partner have reached a breaking point and an ultimatum is your only option, you must be prepared to follow through if changes are not made.  If you are not ready to end the relationship, an ultimatum will only damage your relationship, and there are less aggressive avenues to venture down when asking for your needs to be met.    

Lori Dougherty is a Marriage and Family Counselor and Intern for The Marriage and Family Clinic. As a marriage and family counselor, she helps couples navigate the many difficulties that arise in a relationship; simultaneously helping them cultivate happiness to maintain the fulfilling relationship they share with their partner. 

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