Gustav KlimtJudith I, 1901Öl auf Leinwand84 x 42 cm

In our first episode of Ask Dr. Amy on the Romance Broadcasting Network, two women submit provocative questions about their relationships. One woman, “Janet,”  has a live-in boyfriend who is dodging the question of marriage due to his own parents’ divorce, and another woman, “Marilyn,” is in a torrid, but troubled, sexual relationship with a “sexually appealing jerk.” (Names are changed, of course!)

For “Janet” and her boyfriend, couple’s counseling is a must. But I also suggested taking a good, long-range look at her future and the kind of life she wants, and considering if this particular man is really going to make her happy. And, as she is so keen on marriage, I also suggested reading some good books for woman about divorce – so she’d understand what happens when a marriage ends. Frankly, I think that’s a good thing for any couple to do, prior to marriage, as a kind of reality check.

On the other hand, Prep.inc is a great place to find resources for successful, long-term relationships. I’m a strong advocate of “marriage education” and “couple’s communication” classes and I teach them myself, as a trained PREP leader. In fact, I even teach them online!

Two-hour introductory Secrets of Successful Couples class (recorded, self-paced) for $19.95.

Six-hour Secrets of Successful Couples class (recorded, self-paced) for $69.95.

Both these courses require a separate purchase of the PREP 7.0 Participants Manual (PR 4) for $11.00. Scroll down to the “Participant Materials” on this page to preview and order.

Secrets of Successful Couples, based on the PREP 7.0 marriage education course, is a great way to learn communiation skills, a few simple conflict resolution techniques, and other ways to support and enrich a relationship. The manual is a great way to think through and ease communication about topics which are often difficult for couples to address.

For divorce books, I recommend checking out such titles as Fair Share Divorce for Women, Second Edition: The Definitive Guide to Creating a Winning Solution by Kathleen Miller or What Every Woman Should Know About Divorce and Custody (Rev): Judges, Lawyers, and Therapists Share Winning Strategies onHow toKeep the Kids, the Cash, and Your Sanity by Gayle Rosenwald Smith J.D. and Sally Abrahms. There are many titles to choose. Understand the laws in your state, before you commit to a legal relationship.

“Marilyn” was dealing with an entirely different situation – a hot lover with a lot of (bad) attitude. “Marilyn” described a situation where their sexual chemistry was off the charts, but so was the conflict. It was hard to know whether she was simply dealing with a “sexually appealing jerk,” who would eventually lose his charm, or if she was entangled with a potential abuser. I gave advice for both potential scenarios.

I asked her to consider the level of their disagreements, questioned whether matters were escalating and getting physical, if he was controlling, and so on. I recommended that she check out the danger signs of a potential abuser and the cycles of domestic violence and get help immediately if she needs it.

On the other hand, if this is not an abusive relationship, but simply consists of low level – but not serious – disagreement, I suggested she simply leave after sex and make no effort to include this man in the rest of her life.