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Linda Nusbaum, MFT
Long Beach, California
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist/Specializing in Couples
Recent Activity
As a relationship specialist I was working recently with a couple where one of the pair (“the client”) was in misery. The client anguished because this individual thought their partner was talking with another person outside the relationship. This worry was very real and took up an enormous amount of time for the client. Although there was no sexual relationship the client kept ruminating with the following thoughts about their mate. “What if the partner was interested in another? What would happen to the relationship?” These types of questions played out in this person’s mind. The more the client thoughts... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2012 at Talk About It
As a couples specialist I am sometimes humbled by the changes I see people make to improve their relationships. It’s not that I don’t believe it can happen; it’s just that more often than not couples stay locked in their differences and expect the other person in the relationship to make the changes. I spend a lot of time listening to how wounded people are because of what the other person has done to them. I know it’s important for people to be heard because often they have exhausted themselves trying to tell their partner what is wrong and they... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2012 at Talk About It
I was counseling a couple recently and as the session was coming to a close I was asked point blank, “How many couples come to see you with infidelity?” I had to stop for a moment and think, “About 30% of the couples I treat work with infidelity issues,” I answered. Then I thought: That’s what I see, but I bet most couples probably don’t even make it as far as the counseling room. Where cheating is involved, many couples likely break up after the affair is revealed. I am thinking of tales from history — people I used to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2012 at Talk About It
I don’t know anyone who is not feeling greater stress during this time of year. Even terrific moments with people we love can cause us stress, and that’s if family and extended family are individuals we WANT to see. It’s even more stressful if we are acting out of obligation. Whatever your circumstances, it’s likely there will be at least a few people who drive us up a wall and cause us enormous stress. Welcome to the holidays. Not to mention the numerous details: buying gifts, decorating, baking, cooking sending cards, and trying to be a loving person on top... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2011 at Talk About It
One of the hardest things I see couples struggle with is the idea that each person in the relationship is responsible for his or her own part of the problems that surround them. It’s not uncommon for people to want to blame the other person for how they feel as if the partner did something to cause the upset. Something bad happens and people start pointing fingers at the other person. Many couples actually live this way for a long time; looking at their partner as if he or she is the tormentor. When couples live with this pattern it... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2011 at Talk About It
Many couples I work with come in with a good amount of stress and difficulty. The causes sometimes vary, but the behaviors people use to respond to the upset are often predictable. People who start out loving each other sometimes find themselves so burdened by stress and difficulty they end up feeling frustrated in the relationship. No one starts out being frustrated. Frustration comes after being unhappy, sometimes for a long time. Often couples with the best intentions end up not being able to explain themselves to each other, or they won’t say what they really want to say and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2011 at Talk About It
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this from couples during a session. Something big happens between them, like one person cheated, the offending party apologizes but the difficulty continues and the person who said sorry wonders why. The person who got hurt wants to feel better. The person who has apologized becomes exasperated because he or she feels they have done everything they can. “I said I was sorry. What else do you want from me?” Unfortunately this is frustrating for both people. Each person wants to feel better, yet both feel like something is unfinished.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2011 at Talk About It
Many couples tell me how much they love their partner. They sit on a couch in my office with their mate next to them and they profess their love. I listen to them convince me. Then the other person adds their voice, “I love him too.” They are very sure of themselves as if there is nothing more truthful in the world. I hear these pronouncements often, and then I listen to how these two people actually treat each other when they are not professing their love, and it’s not very nice. “He called me a @#$%”. “She said I... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2011 at Talk About It
Every one in a relationship wants to feel loved by their partner. To feel loved, many individuals will put on a happy face and maintain a persona that everything is fine, even when it isn’t. Often people are so good at acting like they are happy that the partner has no idea anything could be wrong. Unfortunately, if you are projecting a happy demeanor when communicating with your partner, you may feel stuck in one place and very much alone. That’s because a lot of other feelings; sad, disappointed, mad, irritated, frustrated, fed up, discouraged, disheartened, worried, nervous, unsafe etc.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2011 at Talk About It
When we think of a bully we might be reminded of a big kid from school who used his or her size to intimidate others. Maybe we have an image from some television show or movie of a hulking being pushing others around. As a couples counselor I can tell you bullies come in all shapes and sizes. They can be demur women and they can be medium sized men. They can be kind in their presentation and underneath they can be steaming with anger and come out harsh. Whatever their shape, they all have at least one thing in... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2011 at Talk About It
Can a couple survive an affair? I get this question a lot as a marriage and family therapist. I’d like to say yes, but that is not always the case. And yet, sometimes yes is absolutely the right answer. Couples can survive an affair; an affair of the heart, an affair of the flesh, and an internet or phone affair. Not all couples survive. Sometimes there’s just too much pain to overcome. But for others, two people sometimes find a way to move closer together. They don’t ever put things back the way they were. How can it ever be... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2011 at Talk About It
What Do We Do When We Don’t Speak The Same Language? This is not a post about people speaking two different languages such as English and Spanish. This is a story about couples that talk to each other but it feels as if they just don’t speak the same language; they talk but they can’t hear each other, as if both are speaking in a foreign dialect. Couples who fall into this category try to communicate but usually end up giving up because it gets too frustrating. Both people want to get their points across but it’s so difficult many... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2011 at Talk About It
All of us get mad at our mates. Even therapists get mad at their partners. I did last week and it was a big one. You might even call it a tantrum. Yes, I had a tantrum. I was pretty sure my reasons were valid for having this blowup. I was very convinced that my mate was hurting me intentionally with a particular situation so I had all the right in the world to get mad. Well this is what I think I was thinking when I was winding up. I had just learned that my husband was going to... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2011 at Talk About It
I was talking to a friend the other day and she was telling me about her husband and how he doesn’t really communicate with her. She says she has resigned herself to just telling him what she thinks because she says she has just grown tired of asking him to talk about difficult subjects and watching him stay mute and not say anything. It’s not a great scenario, but for the moment it works, somewhat. I believe this is a problem that many couples live with. Understanding the Problem As a couples specialist I like to look at what each... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2011 at Talk About It
When couples begin counseling one of the most common difficulties I hear couples talk about has to do with communication. I often hear one or both say this, “We just don’t know how to communicate. That’s why we are here.” Chances are people in this situation feel a lack of intimacy. If you feel empty in your relationship and when you try and get your needs met you run into resistance from your mate, you could surmise that you and your partner are having communication problems. Many couples then think if they could just learn how to “communicate” the relationship... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2011 at Talk About It
Wow, what a good question. Do I need a therapist? How many of us have ever wondered if we do? How many times have we just thought that life felt too overwhelming for us and maybe, just maybe, someone could help us figure it out? Probably a lot of us have thought this at some time or another, and why not? Living can be complicated. And that’s just one of the reasons people call on a therapist. Here are some more thoughts that could lead someone to wonder if they need one. It’s not uncommon for people to say to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2011 at Talk About It
Many of us grew up needing to have the last word when we got into an argument. It just doesn’t feel right if we can’t say what we have to say after the other person has said their piece. We just want to finish the exchange with our own ending note. It’s not uncommon to see this interaction when two people are discussing issues important to both of them. It’s also not uncommon to see this type of behavior between two people who are in a relationship. He says one thing, she says another, he has to top her, she... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2011 at Talk About It
I really empathize with couples that begin a session with one person telling me something like this, “Why doesn’t my partner realize I am right?” Immediately I know that the pair sitting in front of me is in despair. I know that to live in a relationship where one person professes to have the right in the relationship while seeing the other as wrong puts both at a disadvantage. I know that both people may be feeling exhausted and sad. Unfortunately this pattern often repeats itself; arguments unfold where one person insists he/she is right while the other feels inadequate... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2011 at Talk About It
One of the most common difficulties I see couples struggle with is miscommunication. Each person has something he or she wants to say to the other. They do their best to get their points across, but they never quite feel heard, and therefore they can’t get relief. This is frustrating for both. So why does this happen? It may be because of how it’s presented. It might seem as if you are saying everything in a way your partner can hear it, but chances are you may be using words that make the listener feel like he or she is... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2011 at Talk About It
Couples, no matter how long they have been together, can find themselves in situations that feel oppressive. Both people are looking for relief from the other person but instead of finding relief they can become frustrated. The longer they stay locked in this system of frustration, the more they feel exhausted and drained. Some couples stay in challenging situations with the hope that they will get better on their own. Sometimes they do. Many times they don’t and people go from feeling overwhelmed and exhausted to becoming angry and resentful. Once they have reached this stage they might even begin... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2011 at Talk About It
Sometimes couples will come in for counseling and the first thing they tell me is how much they love each other. I believe them. They say it with such great emotion. I know they mean it. I also get to see their angst, because they are in such a quandary and feeling frustrated because they can’t figure out how to make the relationship work. They wonder aloud and say, “We love each other. Why can’t we get along?” How does this happen? When you meet the right person, why doesn’t it just magically work out? It feels so great. It... Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2011 at Talk About It
We all do it, assess where we are each year and vow to improve in the coming one. Many of us are probably having the conversation with ourselves right now. We might even be thinking about how to improve our relationships, and maybe we are thinking of how we can be a better partner to our mate. Whatever you may be considering, let’s look at the changes differently this year. Why not make 2011 your breakout year, and your best yet? I’m talking about making meaningful changes. I want to tell you about an old friend. His name is Bill... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2011 at Talk About It
Most people have an amazingly high tolerance for discomfort. Some of us can even live many years feeling terrible, terrible about our mate and our relationships. As a couples counselor I am sometimes surprised though, at how much pain a couple will endure before seeking help. When I see a couple that feels terrible about their marriage or partnership I am always interested in finding out when the problems began. Sometimes I hear answers like “six years”, six years, imaging feeling terrible about your relationship for six years. If you are in a happy relationship you might not even be... Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2010 at Talk About It
Making rules to govern a relationship sounds like something kids would do, but what if a set of rules helps couples treat each other. Would you follow a few guidelines then? We all learn to follow rules when we are little. Rules show us right from wrong. Rules keep us safe, coloring within the lines, or in other words, they keep us grounded. As a couples specialist I wouldn’t say anyone really needs rules, but sometimes partners treat each other so poorly rules might actually help. I work with many different kinds of couples. Some partners speak kindly to each... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2010 at Talk About It
As a couples specialist I know that every couple I counsel has a unique set of issues. Even so, I can say with confidence that every couple has at least one thing in common: they want to feel better in the relationship. So if two people love each other, why do they have such difficulty? To put it simply, we don’t learn how to be in relationships when we couple, we just hope that things will work out.Couples want to be happy. They want to feel supported, understood, admired and loved. So why do the couples I counsel all say... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2010 at Talk About It