As couples therapists, we’ve been excited to have several publications, including international news websites, reach out to us for our expertise about relationships during the past few months. Our Senior Therapist Kelly Scott and Founder and Clinical Director Matt Lundquist are featured in two publications addressing, respectively, couples’ challenging but necessary conversations about health-related viewpoints and what it means to be–or look for–a soulmate in 2020.
Most recently, Business Insider Australia spoke to Kelly for their article “How to Talk to Your Partner About Vaccines If You Don’t Agree,” in which Kelly strongly suggests that couples begin having conversations about differences in health issues, such as vaccines, early in a relationship. Approaching a partner early both lowers stakes and makes it easier to be curious rather than combative.
However, many couples avoid these divisive topics out of fear. As Kelly explains, “I think that that a lot of the time, probably more than folks would want to admit, we are coming from a place of fear or coming from a place of being scared…And the scared-ness, that is what really intensifies the conflict and prevents us from being able to compromise, from really being able to take in the other person’s position and feelings.”
When approaching a partner about a topic like vaccines, which can bring up intense and strongly held opinions, particularly during a global pandemic, Kelly recommends focusing on curiosity rather than trying to immediately change their viewpoint. She says, “You trust them for a reason, and so keeping that reason in mind can help you stay grounded and not see the other person as a villain or, worst-case, an idiot, somebody doesn’t know what they’re talking about…So really revisiting the respect that you have for that person and all of the positive reasons that you have chosen to be in a relationship with that person is really helpful.” And if couples find they need some extra support, Kelly also offers that bringing in a third party like a therapist or a healthcare provider can be useful.
In “In 2020, What Does a ‘Soulmate’ Really Mean?”, Matt talks with InStyle Magazine about the potential pitfalls of an all-or-nothing (soulmate vs. incompatible) approach to love. For example, what some people want–or think they want–in their soulmate may not actually be what they need for a healthy, fulfilling relationship. “One of the things we commonly address in therapy is the discovery that a patient, over time, tended to be drawn repeatedly to individuals who are not available to date or are otherwise not right for them,” Matt observes.
Matt also notes that the idea of one soulmate may be limiting and even, hurtful for those who are dating. Matt says, “I think what the idea of soulmates has put into the world and reinforced, for single people and for people who are struggling, can be really mean…It can send messaging to people that can make them feel really hopeless and like they missed the boat.”