As a practice known for its expertise in couples therapy, we’re lucky to regularly appear in publications relating to dating and relationships. Most recently, our Founder and Clinical Director Matt Lundquist and Senior Therapist Kelly Scott were featured in several articles for The Cut and Insider.
In The Cut’s “There’s No Escaping the 5 Love Languages,” Matt weighs in on the continuing popularity of Gary Chapman’s 1992 bestseller The Five Love Languages: How To Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. Matt explains to The Cut’s Katie Heaney that in his experience as a therapist “way more women than men” bring up the love languages in therapy. This isn’t necessarily because women are more attached to Chapman’s five categories of expressions of love, such as words of affirmation, acts of service, or physical touch, but women tend to find it “interesting and fun.”
Matt also articulates that the love languages may have become more popular during the pandemic as both single people and couples reevaluate their relationships. For single people, Matt states, “We’re in this moment where people are diving back into dating, and maybe thinking differently about dating.” The five love languages could act as a touchstone for deciding what they may value in a potential partner. “And for people who are in ongoing relationships,” he continues, “many of us who’ve spent a greater percentage of time with our partners are reflecting on questions like: Are we a good fit? What are the qualitative aspects of building a good relationship? How successful are we at comparing needs?”
Kelly similarly provides her insight to Insider on what to do about repeated unwanted contact from an ex after a breakup. According to Kelly in “How to Handle an Ex Who Is Giving You Unwanted Attention After a Breakup, According to a Therapist,” focusing on what you can control is key, including setting clear boundaries. “When you decide to leave a relationship, you have to behave in a way that reflects the fact that you’re no longer with that person,” Kelly says.
It’s also important to be aware of how you respond to an ex’s unsolicited communication. Sometimes, the best response is no response. However, this isn’t always easy. Feelings of guilt, shame, and low self-esteem can get in the way of setting tough limits. Additionally, stopping interaction entirely may not be possible, especially for ex-partners who are co-parenting. Kelly recommends getting a lawyer involved when necessary, especially since parents often feel the need to shield their children from their co-parent. “That’s parental love,” she notes, “that fierce urge to protect and shield.”
In the earlier “I Left My Toxic Ex—Then He Changed His Behavior for Another Woman. How Do I Stop Feeling like the Problem Was Me?” Kelly helps Insider’s resident sex and relationship reporter Julia Naftulin answer a reader’s question. Replying to the reader who expresses feeling hurt while watching an ex alter his behavior in another relationship, Kelly asserts that the reader’s self-blame may be internalizing the ex’s toxic behavior towards her. “In reflecting on past relationships,” she responds, “it’s really important to include both reflection of the other person’s contribution, and also be able to take a look at ourselves.”
Instead, a healthy dose of anger may be needed to fully process the bad relationship. “Sometimes aggression is incredibly appropriate and incredibly healthy and not destructive,” Kelly says. At times, a person’s history with family and past relationships may make it hard to express anger. What can help, Kelly encourages, is talking with loved ones and perhaps a therapist about this relationship and the breakup. “When you’re forced to tell the story to another person who doesn’t know the story, it can often help you have new reflections,” she describes.
In another Insider article, “A Therapist-In-Training Shared Private Texts with Her Husband on TikTok to Show How They Support Each Other Every Day,” Kelly responds to the text exchanges therapist-in-training Crystal Britt made public with her husband in order to show how these daily check-ins boosted their relationship. In particular, Kelly observes that their text-based chats work for them because they emphasize clarity and transparency. “Moving things out of the subtle and out of the implied and into the realm of, ‘Let’s just say it as clearly as possible so that we can be as accurate as possible,’ eliminates a lot of opportunity for conflict,” she says. However, Kelly cautions that this strategy, particularly via text, which can often lead to misinterpretation, may not work for all couples.