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HELP! My BF Won't Beef With Me
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I want your perspective on how to approach my relationship with my boyfriend of two years that has changed dramatically. What do I do when his negative lifestyle is affecting the life I've always had? When we met, we used to socially drink and eat whatever we wanted. This has all changed in the last year or so. On his watch, we have both become strict vegans and we can't drink alcohol. As of now, I hate my boring life. What should I do? I'm miserable.
- I Miss My Old Life
Dear I Miss My Old Life,
I'm sorry to hear your fun, Sunday brunch mimosas have been substituted for dry, vegan bread. It's not clear what prompted your boyfriend to drastically change his lifestyle, but what is clear is that he's imposing his will on you. It is only natural to feel resentment when our decision making and lifestyle choices are controlled by someone other than ourselves. It is troubling that you have gone along with these rigid restrictions.
I suggest: 1) you have a serious conversation with him expressing your feelings on the matter 2) that you examine with a therapist if you have a history of dating controlling men and explore this trend (if that is indeed the case). Here's a list of signs that your partner is too controlling from Andrea Bohnies, PhD. If you find that you can check off many points on the list (or if your boyfriend doesn't relent), it's time to pause this relationship by taking care of yourself first and raise a glass to that!
- The Armchair Psychologist
HELP! Does My Dad Love Me?
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I just found my father. We have never spoken (that's more than 50 years). He was a deadbeat Dad and only 21 years old when my mother got pregnant. Time goes on and life gets in the way, which I understand, and he has expressed his guilt.
When my beloved mother passed away, I began seeking some closer family, so I tracked him down. My mother and I spoke openly about my father, but the 70s was the pre-computer age and it was harder to find someone. He actually looked for six years but spelled my name wrong.
I called him out of the blue three weeks ago and we have been talking every day since. We have a real connection it seems. I expected him to not want to talk and gave it a 1% chance that he would. When he was so open and said very loving things — I was blown away. We talk every day. Having said this, do I proceed with caution? He has told me that he loves me and thought of me every day of his adult life. I have forgiven him, but can someone love you without having known you?
- A Cautious Son
Dear A Cautious Son,
What a heartwarming story to hear that you have found your father, whom you've never met or known, after 50 years. It must have been very hard for you to lose a parent, and it seems you have gained a new one in the process.
You say your father was a "deadbeat dad" but after 50 years it seems very possible your father is a changed man. He is making up for lost time by pouring his heart out and expressing his love to you, but you are not sure if you can trust him and whether it is possible for him to love you without knowing you.
In this article, Dr. Burton discusses the different types of love that exist, such as eros (sexual passion), philautia (self-love), etc. His list draws from Plato, Socrates, and other classical readings. One type of love described is "Storge" which is " a kind of philia pertaining to the love between parents and their children." It is true that parents often love their baby the minute they are pushed out of the womb (and even during the pregnancy) without knowing the baby at all. Similarly, your father's love could be the same, you are made of his flesh. There are probably many feelings you have developed over the years by not having a father in your life.
I suggest you move forward with a pace that makes you comfortable and that you also seek professional counseling to process any fears or trepidations you may have. Chances are this could be a wonderful new chapter in your life with lots of parental philia to look forward to!
- The Armchair Psychologist
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Sometimes it takes falling to rock bottom in order to be built back up again. I learned this many years ago when the life I'd carefully built for myself and my family suddenly changed. But in those times, you learn to lean on those who love you – a friend, family member or someone who can relate to what you've been through. I was lucky enough to have two incredible women help me through one of my lowest moments. They taught me to love myself and inspired me to pass on their lessons each da
If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today.
In 2010, I was a wife, a mother of three, and had filtered in and out of jobs depending on what my family needed from me. At different points in my career, I've worked in the corporate world, been a stay-at-home mom, and even started my own daycare center. Fitness has always been a part of my life, but at that point being a mom was my main priority. Then, life threw a curveball. My husband and I separated, leading to a very difficult divorce.
These were difficult times. I lost myself in the uncertainty of my future and the stress that comes with a divorce and found myself battling anorexia. Over a matter of months, I lost 40 lbs. and felt surrounded by darkness. I was no longer participating in my health and all efforts to stay active came to a halt. I didn't want to leave my home, I didn't' want to talk to people, and I really did not want to see men. Seeing my struggles, first my sister and then a friend, approached me and invited me to visit the gym.
After months of avoiding it, my sister started taking me to the gym right before closing when it wasn't too busy. We started slow, on the elliptical or the treadmill. This routine got me out of the house and slowly we worked to regain my strength and my self-esteem. When my sister moved away, my good friend and personal trainer started working out with me one-on-one early in the morning, taking time out of her busy schedule to keep me on track toward living a healthy life once again. Even when I didn't want to leave the house, she would encourage me to push myself and I knew I didn't want to let her down. She helped me every step of the way. My sister and my friend brought fitness back into my everyday routine. They saved my life.
I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again. My friend has since moved away, but, these two women made me feel loved, confident and strong with their empowerment and commitment to me. They made such an incredible impact on me; I knew I needed to pay it forward. I wanted to have the same impact on women in my community. I started by doing little things, like running with a woman who just had a baby to keep her inspired and let her know she's not alone. I made sure not to skip my regular runs, just in case there was a woman watching who needed the inspiration to keep going. These small steps of paying it forward helped me find purpose and belonging. This gave me a new mentality that put me on a path to the opportunity of a lifetime – opening a women's only kickboxing gym, 30 Minute Hit.
About four years ago, I was officially an empty nester. It was time to get myself out of the house too and find what I was truly passionate about, which is easier said than done. Sitting behind a desk, in a cubicle, simply didn't cut it. It was hard to go from an active and chaotic schedule to a very slow paced, uneventful work week. I felt sluggish. Even when I moved to another company where I got to plan events and travel, it was enjoyable, but not fulfilling. I wanted to be a source of comfort to those struggling, as my sister and dear friend had been to me. I wanted to impact others in a way that couldn't be done from behind a desk.
I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again.
When I heard about 30 Minute Hit, I was nervous to take the leap. But the more I learned about the concept, the more I knew it was the perfect fit for me. Opening my own gym where women can come to let go of their struggles, rely on one another and meet new people is the best way for me to pass on the lessons I learned during my darkest times.
Kickboxing is empowering in itself. Add to it a high energy, female-only environment, and you have yourself a powerhouse! The 30 Minute Hit concept is franchised all over North America, acting as a source of release for women who are just trying to get through their day. I see women of all ages come into my gym, kick the heck out of a punching bag and leave with a smile on their face, often times alongside a new friend. 30 Minute Hit offers a convenient schedule for all women, from busy moms to working women, to students and senior citizens. A schedule-free model allows members to come in whenever they have a free half hour to dedicate to themselves. Offering certified training in kickboxing and a safe environment to let go, 30 Minute Hit is the place for women empowerment and personal growth.
Through my journey, I have learned that everyone is going through something – everyone is on their own path. My motivating factor is knowing that I can touch people's lives everyday just by creating the space for encouragement and community. It's so easy to show people you care. That's the type of environment my team, clients and myself have worked hard to create at our 30 Minute Hit location.
Fitness saved my life. If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today. The perfect example of women empowering women – the foundation to invincibility.
This article was originally published September 12, 2019.