Tag: couples

Stress & Strengthening Relationships

 

There is no time like the present to learn to manage change in a relationship. This year has been riddled with changes (social, economic, technological and personal) that have been challenging to say the least. All changes impact a relationship. Learning to go with the flow, and adjust when life happens, will help you be less fearful when change comes knocking on your door.

Relationships need a strong foundation from which to grow. If your relationship is already tumultuous, working through change can be tough. Building a base of trust in your relationship early on is the way to go. If this hasn’t happened, now is a perfect time to start. Talk issues and disagreements throughlisten to each otherbe kind, and remember love is powerful; it has the capacity to endure. And most important to building trust, is to mean what you say and say what you mean. Be honest, even if the truth is not what your partner wants to hear.

During stressful changes, a move, a new baby, a death in the family, a new job; lather on patience extra thick. Go for a walk, have quiet time, reassure one another, and give each other space. Respect each other’s processing of change, don’t demand your partner respond to change the way you do. Each of you extra thick. Go for a walk, have quiet time, reassure one another, and give each other space. Respect each other’s processing of change, don’t demand your partner respond to change the way you do. Each of you may want to talk about how or why you react the way you do, talk about the hurts, fears and insecurities that shape your reactions. This alone can help relieve a lot of the stress.

Stay physical with each other, and that doesn’t mean just having sex. Hold hands, snuggle, touch each other as a physical symbol that you are here, and you are ready to grow as a couple. Often change can produce resentment which can bleed into the bedroom. Allow yourself the pleasure of sharing one another’s bodies, let your guard down and re-connect. If you are both spiritual or religious, try praying and meditating together, do some yoga together. Share any inspirational gems that speak to you with your partner. Send kind texts, remind your partner that you love them. Life as a couple is sweeter when you know your partner has your back, that you are not alone and that your loved one is rooting for you in and outside of the relationship.

Do something familiar. It can be as simple as having coffee together in the morning. Find a thread of familiarity you both enjoy. Talk about funny memories, leap off the overly stressed, serious bandwagon and find time to get back to the essence of your relationship. Change will come; learning to deal with it together will make life richer while deepening your relationship and better prepared for the inevitable changes to come.

 

 

 

 


Stop Over Thinking

 

 

“I think; therefore, I am.”

Yet often, we overthink.

When we over-analyze our lives, it usually comes from a place of ego, fear, or the need to feel in control. Our existence runs deeper than mere thought. We’re beings who think, strategize, & want. We have intuitions that guide us with our heart & the subconscious, which when dreaming takes on a life of its own. If we cultivate that awareness into our existence as much as the brain & our thoughts, we allow life to take its course. Overthinking never changed the outcome of anything.

When we focus our thinking excessively on one thing, we sometimes sabotage the very thing we’re thinking about. Be it a promotion at work, a call from our partner, or the happiness & success of our children’s future, this kind of overthinking can lead to obsessive-compulsive disorders, adverse emotional reactions, & imagined dreadful scenarios.

We all have to think about the difficult choices we face in our lives. How to respond to the current state of affairs – including a pandemic, the appalling number of young black men murdered due to systemic racism in our country, & our personal circumstances as well. However, from time to time, we need to turn off our brains to allow for healing & growth. The power to let go of repetitive thoughts that often turn negative can be liberating, creating space for growth & lasting change.

When you overthink, your mind tricks you into thinking it’s always right, even when it’s wrong. It may also cause unnecessary stress on the psyche & body. Unwanted thoughts that spiral out of control can destroy your feeling of self-worth. However, discovering ways to turn our thoughts on & off can strengthen your inner calm allowing a more organic outcome to be reached.

  • Yoga & Meditation Practice. During these trying times, when you find yourself at home with more time to think & less opportunity to move, look for a podcast or class on YouTube or live-stream Vimeo courses. Yoga flow classes that get the blood circulating & meditation practices that harness our full attention to our breathwork alleviate unwanted chatter in the brain.
  • Take a Walk – The ego is in constant dialogue with our thoughts & our ego/pride often steer us in the wrong direction. Taking a walk in nature or listening to classical music can instill a deeper connection with your spirit & humanity at large. Pushing all sound & devices to the side & merely taking out a journal to jot our thoughts down is another liberating way to clear the cobwebs in your head. A repetitive sentence or two words such as, “let go, let go, let go,” will help us harness inner calm.
  • Read a Book. Overthinking can overtax your adrenals & send your stress levels to the moon. Our thoughts can be weapons of destruction or bells of peace. Picking up a delicious novel & allowing your mind to relax & get swept away in a story outside of ourselves can help lessen anxiety &inspire your creative side. Overthinking what could, should or would have been, will get tossed to the wind as your imagination runs wild & free in the book’s newfound characters, plots, & sub-plots.

A mind consumed with negative or obsessive thoughts leaves little room for your creative self & the chance to build an authentic relationship with yourself & others. When we think we know every answer or solution, we aren’t able to listen, learn, or evolve. Try listening more & see what happens. You may find you feel a deeper connection with your partner, friends, & family. Inadvertently, you’ll take a chance to learn something that might profoundly shift your life in a positive direction. Had you been thinking about your response & not fully engaging in conversation, you might have lost the opportunity for new & innovative ways of engaging, thinking & being.

How many times in your life have you thought something would happen the way you imagined or wanted it to, & it did not? Now think about all the energy you wasted worrying about the outcome & worse, being disappointed when it didn’t turn out the way you had hoped. Perhaps, in the end, you thought the result would be negative, but it turned out to be positive. Either way, if you learn how to let go of the thinking mind & breathe into a calm mind, you’ll start to manifest a happier & healthier life.

Take one day, one breath, one thought at a time, & let your overthinking melt-away, leaving you calm, clear, & ready to face life with a renewed vigor.


Let People Know You Love Them

The old saying, “actions speak louder than words,” holds true when it comes to expressing the love we feel for others. This behavior may come easy to you, or you may struggle with showing your love, & if that’s the case, you’re not alone.

Previous traumas, relationship experiences, & past patterns of how love was modeled to you as a child, all play a role in how you express love to those you care for. The good news is, by actively showing love, you’ll receive it back in ways you never expected.

Rather than focusing on how much you are loved, shift your awareness to how much you express love. It’s not to say that you neglect yourself. Instead, it’s like looking at the glass half full or half empty. Try looking at the ways people express their love to you.

  • Kind words
  • Patience when you’re frustrated
  • Listening when you’re happy or sad

In other words, they are there for you. Use these examples to express your love back to them, then try cultivating an appreciation for the little things instead of expecting grandiose gifts as a token of someone’s love. Not that presents are inherently loving or unloving; they’re merely objects, that over time, fade or lose their appeal. Sincere appreciation provides fond memories & strength.

Express your love. Let loved ones know you’re thinking about them, not just on special occasions.

  • Text, write a letter or send a card
  • Call simply to tell them you miss them or love them
  • Let them know you hope their day is going well

It’s thoughtful things like these that reassure the people you care about that you love them. If you’re in a long-term relationship or marriage

  • Buy a random card
  • Cook a dinner complete with candlelight
  • Take the kids for an afternoon so your partner can have some needed alone time

Take time to think of the needs of those you love. This doesn’t mean you can fulfill their every whim or desire. Show your concern for them without it being unhealthy, manipulative, or co-dependent.

Ask them about their day, their desires, their pain, their passions, & then sit back & listen. A big part of expressing love is listening to your beloved. Think of how you feel when you’re not heard. You may feel neglected, ignored, or even unimportant. These aren’t positive feelings that nurture a loving relationship. When you listen with your heart, you begin to understand more fully. Ask what you can do to help. More than likely, knowing that you’re there to support through active listening is enough.

If you have a concern or hurt feeling, express yourself. Bottling up your emotions will only lead to resentment, which won’t help. If you’re fearful about something, be honest, let go of your pride, & don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. When you’re transparent with your emotions, you’re showing the person you love that you trust them with your whole heart & it’s a powerful example that your loved one can reciprocate, letting go of pretenses & being real. This is fertile ground for growing love.
Let your loved one know when you miss them, whether it’s physical yearn or something more ethereal. Maybe one of you has been traveling for work, or you live apart from each other. Perhaps you miss laughing with them, or riding bikes together or having sex, let them know what it is you miss & not in an accusatory way. Simply say, I miss …

Tell people you love & you’re grateful for them. Whether they’re a sibling, a parent, or a lover, let them know you appreciate them & why.

 


RELIEVING LONELINESS THROUGH CONNECTION

 

Feeling lonely & being alone are polar opposites. Spending time alone affords you enormous benefits like the opportunity to contemplate, sort through thoughts, & calm your mind from the daily barrage of stimuli, which in turn settles the nervous system. Loneliness involves a sense of isolation regardless if there are hundreds of people around you. Think the tips below can be helpful to someone else? Pass it along!

Try out these six techniques & discover how to feel less alone

  • LOG OFF & TUNE OUT – Get out of the house & see people face to face rather than on Facebook or Instagram. Studies show that too many hours on our computers & phones are detrimental to our mental & physical health, if not tempered with real-time contact with others. So next time you go for a walk, turn your phone off & notice all that is swirling around you. Get out of your head & dive in with your five senses. Refresh your ability to feel alive & notice the people around you.

 

  • TALK TO PEOPLE – Yes, that means strangers as well. You’d surprised how many other people feel as much as you do. Take a risk & say hello to the woman at the park who is also alone with her kids in the morning. When taking public transit, strike up a conversation. I’ve met incredible people with inspiring stories while riding the subway. Had I been on my phone, I would have never made the connection. When you’re standing in a line at the store, chat with the person behind you, say hello to the cashier. All of these interactions build your sense of community & allows you to feel a part of something. Get to know the names of the people who work at the places you frequent. If the thought of talking to strangers is terrifying, a simple hello with a smile will erode awkwardness over time & leave you feeling less bashful.

 

  • GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS – This may be a real tough one for many, but studies have suggested, getting to know people in your immediate community provides a feeling of safety * can bring new friendships as well. Rather than running in the house double-locking the door and shutting the blinds, take time to say hi to the guy next door or the woman across the street. Before long, you will be enjoying a newfound sense of community. Getting to know even the annoying neighbors, may pave the way for negotiations.

 

  • CALL PEOPLE & MAKE PLANS – Be an instigator for getting together even if it’s simply for coffee or a glass of wine. Rather than feeling lonely, reach out to people & perhaps invite them over or suggest doing something together. Go on a hike or walk or anything that builds a connection with the other person. Adopt more of a dolce vita attitude, in other words, live as if you’re in Italy where there are no to-go cups. Take time to indulge your relationships, they’re as important to living a healthy life as breathing clean air. It’s not a waste of time to sit with a friend & simply catch up or indulge in conversation. Just like a job, you want to invest time into relationships to make them fulfilling.

 

  • BE HONEST WITH OTHERS – Let people know when you’re feeling lonely. You’d be shocked at how many are right there with you!  Drag your loneliness into the light of day & talk about it openly. Many of us feel lonely at different stages of life. Perhaps you’re a new mother & on maternity leave. Your partner & friends are at work all day so you begin to feel isolated. Be honest with yourself & seek other women in the same boat. If you just moved to a different country or state or switched jobs, take the time to introduce yourself & explain that you’re new. Begin to see where you can fit in, chat with co-workers ask about local spots that deserve checking out. Over time, you’ll build mutual camaraderie. Whenever we’re honest about our emotions, we sow the seeds of sincere relationships that leave you with a true confidant as well as a friend.

 

  • GET INVOLVED – Join a group of moms & kids at the park for playdates or even a political cause or enroll in an Improv class. Look to your interests as a source for finding meaningful relationships. Maybe you’re seeking spiritual insight, search for a church, synagogue or temple that speaks your spiritual language. Investigate how you can become involved. Volunteering is another excellent way to make lasting connections by surrounding yourself with others who are also passionate about the same issue.

 

Implement a few of these suggestions to reduce feelings of loneliness & begin to give yourself the gift of connecting with others—you deserve it!

 


Emotional Infidelity – What is it? Is it in YOUR Life?

Many people think that infidelity is only sexual. The #1 form of infidelity is Emotional Infidelity. It usually stems out of feeling that something is missing in your relationship. You may feel disconnected from your partner. What is best is to talk to your partner about feeling disconnected. If you cannot talk to your partner than seek the help of a couples/marriage counselor.

How do you know if you are emotionally cheating?

  • Ask yourself: If my partner were sitting next to me would I be uncomfortable doing this? If your answer is yes, it is a clue for you.
  • You flirt with him/her.
  • Perhaps you dress in a way that might attract the person’s attention.
  • When something happens in your life you share it with her/him rather than your partner.
  • You feel excited when you see the person and look forward to seeing them more than you do your partner.
  • You have relationship fantasies about that person.
  • You find yourself sharing problems you are having at home with that person, rather than your partner.

I recall a man I worked with who was so proud that he had not had sex with his female work friend until after he and his wife had separated. He had been receiving emotional support from his work friend for over 1 year and this is what led to his wife leaving him. He had no idea that he had been emotionally unfaithful in his marriage. Nor did he get that he was cheating on his wife.

Emotional Infidelity is quite common and very difficult for couples to fully address on their own as often the partner that is cheating does not know he/she is cheating.


Couple vs. Individual Therapy for a Couple

Here is a link to a video that will answer a question that couples calling me often ask: Is it better to be in individual therapy or couples therapy in order to save my relationship?

I hope you find this helpful:


How do I get close without getting lost while in a committed relationship?

Ever wonder how to know if you are being intrusive? It is much easier to get when someone else is being intrusive. Sometimes that can be confusing as well.

When we are in a committed relationship our confusion with boundaries becomes most evident. It can be quite confusing. Is it okay if I tell my partner what I think? Will I be invading their space? How come I get upset when my partner tells me what he/she thinks? If I want something done a certain way am I invading my partner’s boundaries? These questions can go on and on. Understanding our own boundaries is quite complex and worth the effort.

I have noticed that all working relationships have some degree of haze surrounding the boundaries of the persons within it. Relationships are alive and the people in them often overlap in order to achieve comfortable levels of intimacy. Relationships take on a life of their own separate and apart from the I or the you.

The question many of us ask, is how can I tell if I am getting lost within the life of my relationship? And yet some of us do keep our sense of self and do not get lost in the forest of our relationship. While others forget to leave breadcrumbs when they go into a relationship and so they get lost.

What prevents us from maintaining our identity in a relationship? Perhaps we did not have a clear sense of self when we went into a relationship and so the relationship became whom we are. It is possible to lose your sense of self-while in relationship if you are trying to accommodate the other person.

It may be time for you to look for your I.

In all relationships there is some melding of identity. Understanding and knowing your own boundaries will allow you to know yourself and who your partner is with clarity.


Divorce ?

When we marry most of us believe it really is for the rest of our lives. We often create a combined life as well as individual life. It is the combined life however that usually has the priority in marriage. Separating from our life partner is painful; feelings of anger, abandonment and yes relief may also be present. There is no escaping your feelings, whatever they are.

I have seen some people avoid their feelings by dating constantly or drinking or drugging. I have seen others plummet into despair for periods of time. It is natural to miss the warmth, friendship, financial security, and sex you had or hoped you would have.

If you have children parenting becomes much more challenging as your role does change and the frequency that you will spend time with your children will change as well. Questions like when do I introduce my children to the person I am dating will arise and possibly cause you anxiety, as there is no ‘right’ answer, only better ones.

Divorce is often one of life’s most stressful experiences. I refer to divorce as a mini-death. In some ways it is more challenging than a ‘real’ death in that the person you have separated from, possibly feel abandoned by, is alive. If you have had children together you will be seeing your X for the rest of your life. This for many is re-wounding, especially if you are unable to forgive yourself and you’re X for the divorce. It is common for both parties to have feelings of failure regardless of who initiated the divorce.

On the positvite side, a divorce can be a time of discoving yourself again, creating new relationships, learning and growing. In order to move forward taking responsibility for your part in the divorce rather than blaming your X for it is paramount. As well as, allowing yourself to grieve your loss and honor your feelings. Then you will be in a space to grow into your new life, the one you will create out of joy. The life you used to dream about having when you were married and unhappy but always thought you could not create it.


The ‘Space-Between’

My Colleague Hedy Schleifer uses the term ‘Space-Between’ when describing what occurs energetically between two people in a relationship. I find this term very useful and wanted to share my point of view with you.

Consider that Relationships live in the ‘Space-Between’ you and your partner? The space that often you can feel but do not see. This is the space where your children are, the space where they grow up and learn values.

Have you ever wondered what happens in this space when you yell at your partner, or belittle him/her? And the effect negative behaviors have upon your children’s development?

So, how can you keep the ‘Space-Between’ safe for your partner and for your children?

Creating a Safe ‘Space-Between’

  • Communicate safely and effectively with each other
  • Building trust and intimacy
  • Be willing to hear and actively listen to what your partner has to say
  • Value your partners point of view
  • Respect your partners feelings
  • Show empathy towards your partner
  • Show appreciation for what your partner does
  • Respect your partner’s point of view

Leave the following in another room:

  • Criticism
  • Contempt
  • Defensiveness – Defense is the 1st act of war
  • Stonewalling
  • Resentments

The ‘Space-Between’ is thriving when you have:

  • Affection in Public
  • Passion in Private
  • Fidelity
  • Quality Time Together
  • Confiding
  • Mutual Interests/Activities
  • Shared Decision-Making
  • Shared Housework
  • Shared Parenting

How To Have A Happy Relationship!

How is it that many people expend tons of energy to find their “Soul-Mate” and then, once they do their focus changes? Have you noticed this too?

People stop putting energy into the relationship they had previously spent years dreaming about. Perhaps there have been disappointments; perhaps there have been expectations that were not met. Slowly, quietly and often unconsciously the relationship begins to drift apart. Although this is not true in all relationships, it is a common occurrence that can easily be shifted.

If, when people become a couple, they are willing to stay conscious and continue to put at least 50% of their energy into their relationship; they will be more likely to feel and express the appreciation that they dreamed about when they were single. When people feel appreciated they are less likely to hold resentments, anger and negative thoughts. Just notice how you feel when you are appreciated as opposed to criticized!