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Category - 'Relationships' ↓

How To Communicate Assertively In Your Relationship

Couples when they get married usually believe that they are on an equal footing and that marriage or their decision to live together gives them the permission to express their feelings and wants with an expectation that they will be respected, to state their views and opinions with an understanding that they will be listened to, and to say “no” openly without feeling guilty.

This does happen in many partnerships but there is no guarantee that it will in all, for sooner or later many couples will feel the discomfort of an imbalance in their relationship. This disparity will become noticeable when for instance one partner asks their partner to do something that they don’t want to do. It may be something simple as to go out with people they dislike, or more complicated as packing their bags and moving away from family and friends. In either case due to one partner’s inability to say “no” they submit to the request thus magnifying the inequality in the relationship.

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How to Break the Hold of Jealousy

Our society witnesses episodes of jealousy in every walk of life. Siblings vie for the love and attention of their parents, and become jealous of their brothers and sisters who they feel may be stealing affections that are rightly theirs. Workers are jealous of colleagues who receive rewards and recognition, while they themselves experience a loss of self worth at failed attempts to gain promotion and move forward. Couples seeking the approval and acceptance of ‘higher society’ become jealous of their neighbours who are easily admitted into all the ‘right’ places. Such couples end up feeling humiliated and embarrassed by their so called loss of prestige.

The most common jealousy is that found in romantic relationships, and it is this jealousy that we will explore in this blog article.

Jealousy is often referred to as the “Green Eyed Monster”. And rightly so. I am not too sure about the ‘green eyes’ but a monster it is! Anyone who has experienced the wrenching fear of loss, the anxiety laden debilitating thoughts, and the irrepressible bursts of anger, can easily justify this claim. You yourself know how horrible you feel as you lose your sense of self, and transform into a self doubting, accusing, hostile and belligerent individual.

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How Collaborative Parenting can save Your Relationship

Over the last fifty years the fabric of our society has been stretched, twisted and patched to the extent that not much remains of the organisational structure that defined the relationships of our parents and grandparents. When it comes to relationships- anything goes! Both men and women work and the traditional gender roles of wife the homemaker and husband the breadwinner hold a minority status. Lacking guidelines, a book of instructions, or realistic Ken and Barbie dolls for them to model many couples follow an ad hoc process and define their relationship as they live from day to day.

And this in many cases bar a few hiccups works quite well for awhile. It is with the birth of the children that chaos strikes and the administrative functioning of the relationship may be disrupted.

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A Step by Step Guide to Problem Solving

No matter how much you love each other, how effective your communication and how committed you are to each other, relationships are mercurial and still may experience problems. Sometimes the problem is a one off event that is quickly resolved to the satisfaction of all involved.

At other times the problem may be a long term niggling irritation that pops in and out of the relationship slowly building to an explosive level. Problems may become the resting place for resentments, accusations and petty nuances, and if left to sit in silence may suddenly voice themselves in anger and hostility. Problems that are ignored or inappropriately managed have the potential to cause irreparable damage and the termination of a once loving relationship.

It would logically follow that if couples had an effective tool to help them solve their problems amicably that more relationships could be saved.

This did seem to be the case for Helen and John.

Helen and John’s Story

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Listening: The Key to Effective Communication

Communication breakdown in relationships has reached epidemic proportions.

Couples are very busy. In most cases both partners work; they have children to raise; and family and friends to attend to. They are always in a hurry. In the Rush that has become their life, they find that they haven’t got the time to listen and to respond to each other. Before they know it they have stopped communicating and perhaps have even stopped relating.

If this problem is not addressed it may result in the demise of many relationships. The thing is that most couples are not aware that their communication has broken down. They accept as normal their brief contacts over a meal or as they rush off to work. With little time for sharing they establish a communication pattern based on a lack of listening as they pay lip service to what their partner is saying. A false belief emerges that if I see your lips moving and respond, I am listening and understand what you are saying. But just because you say “I understand”, does not necessarily mean you do.

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How to Resuscitate a Dying Relationship

All relationships are unique. There is no template for the perfect relationship and no one way to heal an unwell one. But we can always learn something from the experiences of others.

Judy and Will’s Story

When I first met Judy and Will they blurted out in a somewhat bewildered fashion that they really didn’t have a problem and didn’t know why they were talking to me BUT their relationship was feeling a bit flat and was there something that could be done about this?

Both went on to proclaim that when they met and married just over three years ago their relationship was wonderful and they felt great every time they were together. They had met on the tennis courts and were overjoyed in finding a companion that shared their passion for tennis and for a whole range of other sports.

For the first year of their marriage their life together centred around tennis, squash, biking and any extreme sports they felt challenged to try. They were the best of friends and felt they had “lucked onto” the perfect partner. They never argued, they did everything together and always had fun.

Things however suddenly changed. Judy suffered a knee injury and could no longer participate in these high impact sports.

Will felt sorry for Judy missing out on these activities she loved so much and initially he cut down on some of his pursuits so as to spend some time with her. But soon he was back on the tennis and squash courts and was engaging in all his sporting interests as before. He just relied more on his mates for companionship.

Judy began to use her new found time upgrading her skills through various courses and began to focus more on her career.

For the first time since they had become a couple they were no longer spending very much time together, and when they did get together over the odd meal they were at a loss as to what to talk about. They still were not arguing and were polite and civil to each other, enjoying a laugh now and then. BUT….

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Moving Forward after Adultery

When couples are asked what are the five most important qualities that keep their relationship alive and thriving over 90% will include “trust” in their answer.

Trust is a big one. It means “to have faith or confidence in someone or something and to believe in the honesty and reliability of someone else”.

Today when we think of trust in a relationship we automatically assume we are talking about sexual fidelity and the trust that each partner holds in the other to keep sacred the sexual union. And indeed infidelity is one of the main reasons relationships end.

But trust does not only impact on the sexual. A wife may not trust the children with her alcoholic husband. One partner may not trust the other with money. In abusive relationships one partner cannot trust the other with their safety. When communication is poor in relationships both partners often can’t trust each other to listen.

Without disregarding the significance of these different perspectives on trust it is sexual infidelity that catches the attention of society and makes a great impact on relationships. It raises such questions as: “What happens when trust is gone due to sexual infidelity?”; “Does this breach of trust mean the relationship is over?”; “Can a relationship survive this betrayal?”; “If yes-how?”

These were exactly the questions that Lin and Craig were asking when they came to counselling.

Lin and Craig’s Story

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