When I began building School of Love NYC, I wanted to do things differently.
Traditional relationship coaches help you to find "The One," but neglect to discuss the importance of mental and emotional health--the cornerstones of viable and productive long-term relationships. The media touts shows like "The Bachelor" where two attractive people find one another. But, where are the lessons in spiritual and personal growth? Is it any wonder that within months of declaring love most people throw in the towel?
The philosopher, Santayana, said, "He who does not remember the past is condemned to repeat it." Relationships, I believe, are the perfect place for us to look boldly in the mirror, examine our ineffective patterns of behavior, and work diligently to improve and make change. Love depends upon each partner's willingness to grow.
Because of my strong commitment to teach others the tools with which to sustain long-term love, I have partnered with Aimee Hartstein, LCSW--a relationship and couples therapist with over 20-years of experience. Together, we will be building a catalog of books, e-guides, and courses aimed to provide insight and guidance for every stage of an individual's relationship life.
I'm particularly excited about our first published e-guide, "Come Here, Go Away," which examines emotional unavailability. This 17-page book discusses how to identify and disengage from an emotionally unavailable partner. We have seen all too often the confusion, anxiety and depleted self-esteem that result from permanently stalled relationships with unavailable partners.
I wanted to introduce you to Aimee, so you have a sense of her commitment and passion for this work:
1. How long have you been practicing as a relationship therapist?
I graduated with my Masters in Social Work in 1995 and then completed psychoanalytic training. I've been in full-time private practice since 1998 with a specialty in dating, relationship issues and marriage counseling.
2. Why specialize on relationship issues?
I am convinced this work found me! The bulk of my patients are single women. While they may have job or family issues, they are particularly interested in relationships. The majority have either had a hard time entering into a relationship or are struggling within an existing relationship. Twenty years of practice has given me enormous insight--hearing what works, what doesn't, what makes people happy, and what makes people miserable.
3. You're incredibly passionate about this subject. Why?
I believe very strongly that a happy, solid relationship is central to a person's life. It doesn't have to be marriage and it doesn't have to look like the traditional white-picket fence, but I truly believe that we are social creatures and not happy in isolation.
4. What are the biggest "red flags" in a new relationship?
There are a lot of red flags! A big one nowadays is when I see one person anxious to make something work, regardless of the fact that the other person is failing to move the relationship forward. Many women are attracted to emotionally unavailable men, which actually may speak to their own psychological and emotional issues. It is often very confusing to assess whether your partner is emotionally unavailable, as the signals are often mixed.
On the other end of the spectrum, I often hear people say, “We are in love!” or “I’ve found my soulmate!” after a date or two. This is not love! It is concerning when a couple starts off like wildfire. Believe it or not, this may be another form of emotional unavailability and there is usually nowhere to go but down!
In the beginning of a relationship, everyone is on their best behavior - as a therapist I suspend judgment until the couple's first fight. And, trust me, there’s always a first fight!
5. In our articles, we often talk about the importance of self-analysis. If someone cannot afford therapy, what do you recommend?
As a therapist, I’m a big believer in therapy. But, I’m realistic too. Therapy is expensive and takes time.
In the alternative, I believe in learning from others who have insight and wisdom. Relationship books and blogs--such as School of Love NYC-- can help a person tremendously! While it helps to have a therapist, much self-analysis can be done on your own if you are motivated.
I also think that good friends are a big help. Studies have shown that a couple’s friends often have a much keener sense of their compatibility than the couple themselves. Your friends know you and ideally have your best interests at heart. If you listen to them and have an open mind you can generally learn a lot about yourself and your behavior.
Aimee and I are both passionate about this work and happy to share our insight and experience with you. If you're interested in a copy of our e-guide "Come Here, Go Away" click: