Beatty Cohan, MSW, LCSW, AASECT is a nationally recognized psychotherapist, sex therapist, author of For Better, for Worse, Forever: Discover the Path to Lasting Love, national speaker, columnist for the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Medium and Three Tomatoes, national radio and television guest and host of the ASK BEATTY SHOW, which airs live every Monday from 3–4 p.m. on the Progressive Radio Network.
Beatty earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, has post-graduate specialization in marriage and family therapy and sexual dysfunction and over 35 years of clinical experience. She has a private practice in New York City and East Hampton, where she lives happily with her husband Jim Vrettos, a prominent sociologist and activist and their therapy dog Chacha.
Thanks so much for doing this! What is your backstory?
I grew up in an Orthodox Winnipeg family. I am an only child. My mother Edith Sair was a teacher at the local Jewish school and my father Maurice was a writer and the ‘neighborhood father figure’ to dozens of children who worshiped his kindness and generosity of spirit.. Justice, fairness, respect for others and helping others in a variety of ways were the values that I grew up with. I always knew that I wanted to help people, so becoming a psychotherapist and sex therapist was a natural choice for me.
What is the biggest problem facing people looking to get into a committed marriage today?
The biggest problem facing people looking to get into a committed relationship or marriage today is that they do not realize that they have some work to do in order to find and maintain a healthy relationship:
The reality is that people spend more time researching and assessing cell phones, computers and mortgages than they do their relationships. Relationship education is key to relationship success.
People are surprised to hear that the divorce rate for first marriages is 48%. 63% of second marriages fail and 72% of third marriages end up in the divorce courts. It’s always easy to blame the other person. However, if people are really interested in having successful relationships, they have to be willing to engage in some serious introspection and relationship education. And most of us at some point in our lives could benefit from some individual psychotherapy.
Why do people have trouble being open in a relationship and does it get easier or harder the longer you are together?
People need to feel emotionally and physically safe before they can allow themselves to be vulnerable to express their most intimate feelings. This takes time. And if you find that your communication and problem-solving skills need some work, you need to be prepared to learn the art of successful communication. Taking courses, reading books and even going to therapy can make all the difference in the world.
Why don’t people want to do the work to make their relationship work? When would you advocate moving on and when would you advocate staying the course?
I believe that the majority of people still believe in the fairy tale of falling in love. Working on oneself and on one’s relationship is not consistent with that fantasy.
What should people look for in finding a mate?
The most important ingredients that must be present if a relationship is to succeed include: love, great communication and problem-skills, caring, sharing, respect, trust, honesty, commitment, patience, empathy, sexual attraction and similar values and goals.
Deal-breakers include: untreated psychiatric problems, including substance abuse of varying kinds, verbal, physical, emotional and sexual abuse, poor communication and problem solving skills and a lack of emotional intimacy. People also need to carefully consider and discuss with their partner the challenges of ex’s, stepchildren, goals, values, children, money, politics, sex, lifestyle, alimony, child support and religion BEFORE making an ultimate commitment. My mantra….Acknowledge, Address and Resolve. The goal is to find win/win resolutions to problems.
What kind of self work or state of mind should people be when looking/in a relationship?
People really need to understand that relationships are challenging, to say the least and require that both people be in a good place emotionally, psychologically and psychiatrically. So if you have some ‘unfinished’ business or ‘skeletons in your closet’, including traumas from your past, or untreated psychiatric problems, this is the time to do your own work. This will enable you to be able to open your eyes and ears to the reality of your relationship.
Who were your biggest mentors in this space and what did they teach you?
My biggest mentor was my father Maurice Sair. He was my coach both off and on the courts. He taught me about love, compassion and respect for others. I feel that I was the luckiest girl in the world to have had him as my father. By the way , I played competitive sports all my life (and still do). I was ranked number 10 in Canada as a junior tennis player. Competitive sports taught me resilience and about never giving up. These values have helped me enormously as a psychotherapist.
If you could impart one piece of advice to the 20 year old version of yourself, what would it be?
I wish I had known the ingredients that must be present if a relationship is to succeed. I wish I had known the difference between love and lust. And I wish that I had known my formula for assessing who’s right or wrong for you BEFORE committing to any serious relationship. However, what I was able to do, was educate my daughter Jordana about healthy relationships. My book is dedicated to her. She is very happily married and has a beautiful 1 1/2 year old son. And I too have found lasting love with my husband, Jim Vrettos, a sociologist and activist.
How do people follow you or learn more about the work that you do?
People can go to my Beattycohan.com website for for information about me. You can order my book on Amazon. You can also follow me on FACEBOOK. I have appeared on over 1,000 local and national radio and television shows as an expert guest. You can watch some of my most memorable videos, including my appearance on the Daily Show on my website. You can hear me LIVE every Monday afternoon from 3–4 p.m. EST on my ASK BEATTY SHOW ON THE PROGRESSIVE RADIO NETWORK. You can call me during the show with any questions you may have about relationships, sex and mental health issues. The number is 888–874–4888. I have a private practice in New York City and East Hampton.
About the author: Jacob Rupp is a coach, author, speaker, podcaster, and rabbi. He is the founder of Lift Your Legacy, a community that helps people live a more authentic life. He has a regular, syndicated column that appears in ThriveGlobal and Medium magazine. To learn more about him or to listen to the Lift Your Legacy podcast, search iTunes or visit his site: liftyourlegacy.live