Tag: Romantic Relationships

Speaking Truth in Our Relationships

When I work with couples, I always advocate for one thing consistently – always stay honest with one another. Regardless of the problem you’re experiencing in your relationship, it can likely be traced back to a moment when you weren’t entirely truthful either with yourself or your partner. It’s easy to want to hide our truth sometimes. We may be afraid of rejection. We may be afraid of hurting our partner. We may be afraid that our truth is selfish, or negative in some way.

But the honest truth is that hiding how you feel or what you think from your partner does far more harm than good. If you hide your truth, you may experience feelings of resentment. And from their perspective, they may experience resentment, as well.

I believe that honesty is the best policy – whether that’s in your romantic relationship, with family, with friends, or with colleagues. Expressing how you feel and what you think helps to open up a productive dialogue. You may be surprised to find the listening party is incredibly receptive – maybe they’ve been feeling the same way or having similar thoughts. You may be equally surprised to find that they disagree with you – but are willing to openly discuss the disagreement.

The more open you are about your experience and your truth, the less likely negative interactions are. Your openness draws in openness. Your energy attracts similar energy. If you are open and honest and someone disagrees with you, there may be a moment of tension. But by accepting their honesty in kind, you move forward in productivity and understanding rather than in negativity and bitterness.

Of course, there are ways to ineffectively communicate your truth. You may be feeling negative emotions – like anger or sadness. These may lead to you lashing out and being brutally honest in a way that’s intended to hurt or offend your partner. It’s important to understand that speaking your truth comes from a place of self-respect and of respecting others – not from a place of anger, fear, or desire to be hurtful. If your words are rooted in good intentions, they will likely be received as such.

Communicating honestly and openly by speaking your truth can lead to great things within your relationship. You will find yourself being more open to hearing the truth of your partner. You will find that your partner truly hears you and empathizes with your experience. Most importantly, you will no longer feel a masked bitterness within your relationship that results from you (and your partner) not being honest with one another (or yourselves) when resolving conflict.


Speaking Truth in Our Relationships

When I work with couples, I always advocate for one thing consistently – always stay honest with one another. Regardless of the problem you’re experiencing in your relationship, it can likely be traced back to a moment when you weren’t entirely truthful either with yourself or your partner. It’s easy to want to hide our truth sometimes. We may be afraid of rejection. We may be afraid of hurting our partner. We may be afraid that our truth is selfish, or negative in some way.

But the honest truth is that hiding how you feel or what you think from your partner does far more harm than good. If you hide your truth, you may experience feelings of resentment. And from their perspective, they may experience resentment, as well.

I believe that honesty is the best policy – whether that’s in your romantic relationship, with family, with friends, or with colleagues. Expressing how you feel and what you think helps to open up a productive dialogue. You may be surprised to find the listening party is incredibly receptive – maybe they’ve been feeling the same way or having similar thoughts. You may be equally surprised to find that they disagree with you – but are willing to openly discuss the disagreement.

The more open you are about your experience and your truth, the less likely negative interactions are. Your openness draws in openness. Your energy attracts similar energy. If you are open and honest and someone disagrees with you, there may be a moment of tension. But by accepting their honesty in kind, you move forward in productivity and understanding rather than in negativity and bitterness.

Of course, there are ways to ineffectively communicate your truth. You may be feeling negative emotions – like anger or sadness. These may lead to you lashing out and being brutally honest in a way that’s intended to hurt or offend your partner. It’s important to understand that speaking your truth comes from a place of self-respect and of respecting others – not from a place of anger, fear, or desire to be hurtful. If your words are rooted in good intentions, they will likely be received as such.

Communicating honestly and openly by speaking your truth can lead to great things within your relationship. You will find yourself being more open to hearing the truth of your partner. You will find that your partner truly hears you and empathizes with your experience. Most importantly, you will no longer feel a masked bitterness within your relationship that results from you (and your partner) not being honest with one another (or yourselves) when resolving conflict.

Speaking Truth in Our Relationships was originally published on Bridge of Life


When Should I Move In?

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At one time, I would have said that when you know you know so just jump. That was before I was a seasoned couples therapist and fully understood how important sharing the same values are for a relationship to work well over time.
So, when do you know if a person shares your values? My grandmother used to say that it is just ‘luck’; but of course she came from a part of the world where marriages were often arranged—times have changed and the decision to make the plunge to move in may feel overwhelming or intimidating. 

Did you know? During the first six to fifteen months of a relationship endorphins such as Phenylethamine are released, as are the chemical Oxytocin, and Vasopressin, if you are sexually active, creating an almost euphoric feeling for some. Certainly these endorphins will stop you from making logical, pragmatic decisions and clear thinking from your head decisions are the kind you want to make if you are going to choose to live together. 

One useful rule of thumb: Date someone for at least two years before officially moving in with them— this will give time for the ‘in love’ phase to soften.

Another useful tool is to write out what your values are and ask your partner to do the same. Be certain to list at least 20 and to do this exercise separately. Then you can compare your lists and see where you are similar and where you differ. 

It’s an exciting time in a relationship and a very important life decision; give yourself the opportunity to make the right choices when it comes to, literally, letting love in.  


The Ex-Factor: How to Get Over It

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It may seem impossible in the beginning, but you can find peace from the pain of a break up. Getting over your ex certainly depends upon the level of intimacy between the two of you as well as the amount of time you have spent together. 

Many people have a challenge letting go of many things—not just their ex’s. As such, letting go of a person is even more difficult; just imagine how hard it is to clean out your closet and give away an outfit you have not worn recently. Now consider if that outfit represents your emotional attachment to your ex; how very hard it can be to let go of your feelings towards them?

Our identity may be connected to our past relationship and if it is, than letting go will create a sense of ‘loss of self’, bringing sadness as well as loneliness, making it even more challenging to manage our emotions. Even if it was a bad relationship or the person we were in that relationship with wasn’t right for us, it’s still hard to shake.

Here are a couple concrete tips that I have found to be very effective for my clients, friends and self:

Focus upon what you did not like about them rather than idealizing what you miss about them.

Often out of loneliness people idealize what they miss about their ex’s. Instead think of the things that made you decide to break up, or brought the relationship to its foreseeable demise.

Now be aware, at that point you knew that you deserved better.  This is still true even though you are hurting. Allow yourself time to grieve the loss of the relationship and know that you can and will heal if you let your self let go and move on, striving for a happier, more fulfilled personal existence, with or without a partner.

Next, write a list of more than 10 and up to 50 traits that you really did not like about your ex.

Whenever you think of the person and feel lonely, bring to mind at least 10 of the 50 undesirable traits and shift your focus to them.

It is also best to keep busy, hobbies, movies, reading, socializing. Being active can really help too, skiing, going to the beach or park, making a snow person, playing tennis, golf etc.

By being proactive and shifting your focus you will be allowing yourself to let go and to heal any wounds that are keeping you emotionally attached to your ex. You’ll find that you’re able to feel whole within yourself, which will make the pain lessen over time. That self-sufficiency will also make you a more attractive candidate to better suitors down the road.