A psychologist nudges millennials toward resuming their personal lives in person: Ask Ellie

Opinion Aug 05, 2022 by Ellie Toronto Star

“Be honest with yourself.”

“Face your own demons.”

“Stop sweeping your relationship issues under the rug.”

Readers, these clear, instructive statements are the words of Sanam Hafeez, a New York-based licensed clinical psychologist who spent much of the isolating pandemic years addressing its impact on singles, especially millennials.

Why did she and I focus on them in a recent interview? Because so much changed for those who had long been so independent and free-spirited.

Known also as “Generation Y” and born between 1981 to 2000, they now range from ages 22 to 41.

In her New York-based practice, many of Hafeez’s clients in that age group had long lived alone, regularly meeting friends and dates in bars after work. Then lockdowns/restrictions revealed that many of their “relationships” were meaningless. COVID-19 had changed the playing field.

Regular readers know that I’m very mindful that every other age cohort also struggled in many ways through the pandemic, especially seniors living alone and, tragically, those too compromised by age, illness or insufficient care to survive.

Now, as I’ve done periodically, I sought to learn and share how experts in clinical practice, working daily with people needing mental health support, can improve their current relationships — or know when to move on from them.

For the age group Hafeez discussed, she stressed that “to maintain any sense of an actual connection with someone, they had to start consciously doing the work of building a relationship.

“And recognizing how important it is to not have alcohol be part of every interaction with others.”

Here’s the new reality: “The previous expectation of having long-term relationships, including raising children together, has definitely shifted. This generation of daters are spoiled for choice. They have multiple dating apps to choose from, and are frequently looking for something different.”

In fact, they get stuck in a phase of too many choices, she says. Many are “dating” only through sending/receiving texts and emails

The reality check: “Don’t spend all your time just talking. If someone’s not talking to you in person, they’re not meeting you. So start defining your own rules.

“Be clear that it’s either time for a coffee meetup, or to move on. (Not just women clients, but even guys complain about the long stall, or disinterest, regarding actually meeting in person, she’s found.)

Living in her own “very happy” second marriage, she speaks from the heart as well as her experience: “You must invest in the quality of your life.”

In her own down time? No surprise, she practices what she preaches. “It consists of talking to my husband, cuddling with my child, sitting down with a book …”

We can all do better at valuing ourselves and the people with whom we have real relationships.

QI’m in my 70s with three children, all university graduates. The eldest has her own family including a teenager. The second one’s married and quite happy. They’re well off but have many financial responsibilities.

So, two of my children live luxuriously. The third one’s well off but frugal, not as generous, more calculating, not happy.

What can we parents do?

Concerned

AEnjoy your own life together, stay connected to your children and especially to your grandchildren.

You’ve seen your children all well-educated, so congratulations. You have time to keep yourself and your spouse as healthy as possible, staying fit, eating well, walking in nature and appreciating your own life.

Ellie’s tip of the day

The pandemic’s effects on would-be daters reveals the significance of stating what you expect/need from a relationship.

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: ellie@thestar.ca.

A psychologist nudges millennials toward resuming their personal lives in person: Ask Ellie

Also, a senior reader wonders what can be done for a fully grown but unhappy child.

Opinion Aug 05, 2022 by Ellie Toronto Star

“Be honest with yourself.”

“Face your own demons.”

“Stop sweeping your relationship issues under the rug.”

Readers, these clear, instructive statements are the words of Sanam Hafeez, a New York-based licensed clinical psychologist who spent much of the isolating pandemic years addressing its impact on singles, especially millennials.

Why did she and I focus on them in a recent interview? Because so much changed for those who had long been so independent and free-spirited.

Known also as “Generation Y” and born between 1981 to 2000, they now range from ages 22 to 41.

In her New York-based practice, many of Hafeez’s clients in that age group had long lived alone, regularly meeting friends and dates in bars after work. Then lockdowns/restrictions revealed that many of their “relationships” were meaningless. COVID-19 had changed the playing field.

Regular readers know that I’m very mindful that every other age cohort also struggled in many ways through the pandemic, especially seniors living alone and, tragically, those too compromised by age, illness or insufficient care to survive.

Now, as I’ve done periodically, I sought to learn and share how experts in clinical practice, working daily with people needing mental health support, can improve their current relationships — or know when to move on from them.

For the age group Hafeez discussed, she stressed that “to maintain any sense of an actual connection with someone, they had to start consciously doing the work of building a relationship.

“And recognizing how important it is to not have alcohol be part of every interaction with others.”

Here’s the new reality: “The previous expectation of having long-term relationships, including raising children together, has definitely shifted. This generation of daters are spoiled for choice. They have multiple dating apps to choose from, and are frequently looking for something different.”

In fact, they get stuck in a phase of too many choices, she says. Many are “dating” only through sending/receiving texts and emails

The reality check: “Don’t spend all your time just talking. If someone’s not talking to you in person, they’re not meeting you. So start defining your own rules.

“Be clear that it’s either time for a coffee meetup, or to move on. (Not just women clients, but even guys complain about the long stall, or disinterest, regarding actually meeting in person, she’s found.)

Living in her own “very happy” second marriage, she speaks from the heart as well as her experience: “You must invest in the quality of your life.”

In her own down time? No surprise, she practices what she preaches. “It consists of talking to my husband, cuddling with my child, sitting down with a book …”

We can all do better at valuing ourselves and the people with whom we have real relationships.

QI’m in my 70s with three children, all university graduates. The eldest has her own family including a teenager. The second one’s married and quite happy. They’re well off but have many financial responsibilities.

So, two of my children live luxuriously. The third one’s well off but frugal, not as generous, more calculating, not happy.

What can we parents do?

Concerned

AEnjoy your own life together, stay connected to your children and especially to your grandchildren.

You’ve seen your children all well-educated, so congratulations. You have time to keep yourself and your spouse as healthy as possible, staying fit, eating well, walking in nature and appreciating your own life.

Ellie’s tip of the day

The pandemic’s effects on would-be daters reveals the significance of stating what you expect/need from a relationship.

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: ellie@thestar.ca.

A psychologist nudges millennials toward resuming their personal lives in person: Ask Ellie

Also, a senior reader wonders what can be done for a fully grown but unhappy child.

Opinion Aug 05, 2022 by Ellie Toronto Star

“Be honest with yourself.”

“Face your own demons.”

“Stop sweeping your relationship issues under the rug.”

Readers, these clear, instructive statements are the words of Sanam Hafeez, a New York-based licensed clinical psychologist who spent much of the isolating pandemic years addressing its impact on singles, especially millennials.

Why did she and I focus on them in a recent interview? Because so much changed for those who had long been so independent and free-spirited.

Known also as “Generation Y” and born between 1981 to 2000, they now range from ages 22 to 41.

In her New York-based practice, many of Hafeez’s clients in that age group had long lived alone, regularly meeting friends and dates in bars after work. Then lockdowns/restrictions revealed that many of their “relationships” were meaningless. COVID-19 had changed the playing field.

Regular readers know that I’m very mindful that every other age cohort also struggled in many ways through the pandemic, especially seniors living alone and, tragically, those too compromised by age, illness or insufficient care to survive.

Now, as I’ve done periodically, I sought to learn and share how experts in clinical practice, working daily with people needing mental health support, can improve their current relationships — or know when to move on from them.

For the age group Hafeez discussed, she stressed that “to maintain any sense of an actual connection with someone, they had to start consciously doing the work of building a relationship.

“And recognizing how important it is to not have alcohol be part of every interaction with others.”

Here’s the new reality: “The previous expectation of having long-term relationships, including raising children together, has definitely shifted. This generation of daters are spoiled for choice. They have multiple dating apps to choose from, and are frequently looking for something different.”

In fact, they get stuck in a phase of too many choices, she says. Many are “dating” only through sending/receiving texts and emails

The reality check: “Don’t spend all your time just talking. If someone’s not talking to you in person, they’re not meeting you. So start defining your own rules.

“Be clear that it’s either time for a coffee meetup, or to move on. (Not just women clients, but even guys complain about the long stall, or disinterest, regarding actually meeting in person, she’s found.)

Living in her own “very happy” second marriage, she speaks from the heart as well as her experience: “You must invest in the quality of your life.”

In her own down time? No surprise, she practices what she preaches. “It consists of talking to my husband, cuddling with my child, sitting down with a book …”

We can all do better at valuing ourselves and the people with whom we have real relationships.

QI’m in my 70s with three children, all university graduates. The eldest has her own family including a teenager. The second one’s married and quite happy. They’re well off but have many financial responsibilities.

So, two of my children live luxuriously. The third one’s well off but frugal, not as generous, more calculating, not happy.

What can we parents do?

Concerned

AEnjoy your own life together, stay connected to your children and especially to your grandchildren.

You’ve seen your children all well-educated, so congratulations. You have time to keep yourself and your spouse as healthy as possible, staying fit, eating well, walking in nature and appreciating your own life.

Ellie’s tip of the day

The pandemic’s effects on would-be daters reveals the significance of stating what you expect/need from a relationship.

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: ellie@thestar.ca.