When it comes to talking with young adults about love, sex, and relationships, too many of us are silent. Making matters worse, most young adults wish their parents talked to them more about love, according to a recent Harvard research study, and 65 percent of those surveyed said they wished schools taught them more about it.
Couples therapist Alexandra Solomon, author of Loving Bravely, says that as difficult as it might seem to have open, honest conversations about love and sex, older adults are actually well-equipped to start them. The young adults they’ll speak with are often “hungry for curious, nonjudgmental conversation,” she adds.
In the following interview with Networker Assistant Editor Chris Lyford, she explains the importance of having these talks, and the 60-second “Truth Bomb” exercise to help get you started.
As Solomon notes, young adults who don’t get an education from parents or older role models about how to navigate love and relationships are more likely to turn to online sources where they may encounter misinformation.
And for those older adults who think the love lives of younger generations are far removed from their own, Solomon says there are actually several prominent similarities in how younger and older people view relationships: initially, with fear and ambivalence, and also with a curiosity about and interest in marriage.
In short, Solomon says each generation can educate the other. The goal for therapists, she says in her Networker article, is to manage fear, judgment, and expectations around young adult romance. “With our cultural insistence on a narrow and meritocratic path to success, it feels awfully unfair to expect young adults to manifest romantic coherence,” she writes. “Our culture seems to reflect back to them anything but.”
Alexandra H. Solomon, PhD, is internationally recognized as one of today’s most trusted voices in the world of relationships, and her framework of Relational Self-Awareness has reached millions of people around the globe. A couples therapist, speaker, author, professor, podcast host, retreat leader, and media personality, Dr. Solomon is passionate about translating cutting-edge research and clinical wisdom into practical tools people can use to bring awareness, curiosity, and authenticity to their relationships. She is a clinician educator and a frequent contributor to academic journals and research, and she translates her academic and therapeutic experience to the public through her popular and vibrant Instagram page, which has garnered over 200K followers. She is on faculty in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University and is a licensed clinical psychologist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University. Her hit podcast, Reimagining Love, has reached listeners across the globe and features high-profile guests from the worlds of therapy, academia, and pop culture. Her latest bestselling book is Love Every Day. You can visit her online at DrAlexandraSolomon.com and on Instagram at @dr.alexandra.solomon.
Chris Lyford is the Senior Editor at Psychotherapy Networker. Previously, he was Assistant Director and Editor of the The Atlantic Post, where he wrote and edited news pieces on the Middle East and Africa. He also formerly worked at The Washington Post, where he wrote local feature pieces for the Metro, Sports, and Style sections. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.