The Dating and Relationship Group
"Dislocation" as a Metaphor for Romantic Relationship Struggles

In recent meetings we have been discussing the "Erotic Hinge," a paradigm for understanding how couples become embroiled in negative relationship dynamics. The Erotic Hinge views romantic love as the coming together of two separate beings to create a unit or system.  The psychological and emotional contact points may be compared to any joint in the human body; the health of the joint depends on its ability to link two separate components in a way that is firm but that also provides flexibility, strength, and durability.  All relationships are inevitably challenged, and the joint that connects the two persons becomes stressed and inflamed, and ultimately may fall out of place or become "dislocated."  Good relationships are characterized by partners who have learned over time how to tolerate and manage the dislocations that naturally occur, and how to repair the dislocations so that the joint falls back into place and gains functionality again.  Using this metaphor begs the question: when are repeated dislocations a signal that the joint is essentially unhealthy, i.e., that the relationship can't be repaired and perhaps shouldn't be?   In the next meeting of the "Dating and Relationship Group" on Saturday,  December 17, 2016, 12:00 to 1:15 PM, I will explore this question using the Erotic Hinge metaphor.  I will attempt to distinguish "typical" dislocations from more severe, problematic ones.  Finally, I will discuss the notion of "letting go" within the context of the Erotic Hinge.  What I will argue is that while most people try so very hard to make an imperfect joint work, it is also a psychological and emotional skill to realize how and when to disengage from these efforts -- a concept in Buddhism known as "disenchantment." 

The Men's Group: 
Men's Ability to Cope with Breakup and Divorce

Breakups are difficult for everyone, but emerging scientific evidence suggests that the ending of a romantic relationship is actually more taxing and difficult to overcome for men than women.  While the reasons for this trend are still not exactly clear, preliminary findings indicate that men are not as well-equipped to handle significant stresses than are women.  Men are not necessarily "weaker" than women, but, rather, men are socialized all their lives to adhere to certain social expectations that actually detract from their capacity to cope with significant stresses and adapt effectively.    In the next meeting of the "Men's Group" on Saturday,  December 17, 2016, 10:45 AM to 12:00 PM, I will discuss what we now know about the status of men following romantic breakup and divorce, and the implications of these findings for men's overall emotional health and capacity to cope with challenging circumstances.  

The Buddhism and Romantic Love Group:

"Disenchantment" is a central concept in Buddhist psychology and various spiritual realms, yet it is poorly understood and not often emphasized. Disenchantment essentially describes the components of what is commonly referred to as "letting go," a capacity that is necessary for finding contentment even during the most stressful and difficult of times.  In the next meeting of the "Buddhism and Romantic Love Group" on Saturday, December 17, 2016, 9:30 to 10:45 AM, I will discuss the notion of disenchantment and, especially, its relevance for romantic relationships.  I will suggest that because human development is largely invested in finding ways to making even adverse conditions "work," the capacity of the human mind to de-link and utilize what are called "disintegrative functions" is  far less well developed.  Working on this capacity is an important step toward balancing the mind and optimizing one's relational life.  

To register for the December 17th meetings of the "Buddhism and Romantic Love Group" (9:30 to 10:45 AM), the Men's Group (10:45 AM to 12:00 PM), and/or the "Dating and Relationship Group" (12:00 to 1:15 PM): If you would like to attend any of these groups on Saturday, December 17, 2016, please RSVP ASAP to Dr. Tobin at 949-338-4388 or There is a limit of 14 attendees for each of these groups and registrants will be accommodated on a first-come/first-serve basis.  The fee is $25.00 and the location is The Water Garden Business Center, 23421 South Pointe Drive, Suite 130, Laguna Hills, CA, 92653.  Please note that these groups are educational in purpose, not therapeutic, and do not constitute psychotherapy or counseling.
James Tobin, Ph.D., PSY 22074 | 949-338-4388 |