Family & Marriage

Why can't you get your partner to really hear and understand you?

Each couple I coach has their own bespoke set of challenges, however there are a handful of issues, that seem to be consistent in each partnership, tearing away at the fabric of their love, trust and intimacy.

  • Loss of passion, not limited to, however also including a dying sex life.

  • Poor conflict resolution leading to circular, go no where fast, conversations and arguments.

  • Affairs, emotional and/or physical where one or both have gone outside the relationship seeking their needs to be met.

  • Problems with in-laws and extended family, where boundaries and respect are not being cherished.

  • Loss of love, where one or both partners no longer feels cared for in a way they need to thrive.

 

This is why my coaching programs always offer instruction, tools and skill learning opportunities for each individual, within the partnership, to become better at leaping these common relationship hurdles.

We always start at the very root; COMMUNICATION!  

Wowza, communication is such a big topic and everyone is failing at this, we just can’t figure out how to make ourselves heard and our partners understand.

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This week, I want to offer up a significant first step on the road of communication, where so many of you may be falling at the very first hurdle. 

One of the worst things we can do, and the very first most of us do.. is projection of self onto our relationship. Your partner is not a version of you. This means that what and they think, their needs and how they translate the world around them. is not the way that you will.

We can get trapped in the resentment fueled circular thought process of how WE would never do such a thing, say such a thing or react in such a way!  We interpret their actions and words, through our own lens… i.e. ‘If I didn’t take out the rubbish when asked, it would be because I don’t have any respect for them, and don’t care how busy they are!’ 

Just because, that would be our motivation and inferred message in this action DOES NOT mean, that is how everyone else thinks, let alone your partner. 

In fact, my experience as a relationship coach AND within my own marriage, has shown that it’s almost NEVER that simple.

Men and women have very different communication styles because their foundational needs that are driving the communication are totally different.  Beyond that hetero normative angle (um, NO men are not from Mars and Women are not from Venus) how we are raised, the role modeled behavior we saw growing up and our own personality traits directly impact how we communicate and resolve conflict. Newsflash, my same sex couples do NOT speak the same language simple because they are the same sex. If only, it was that easy!

Our communication boils down to our CORE NEEDS and If you are in the dark about these core needs, then here is your first problem and why you are struggling.

Your partner keeps saying,  “You never say, I love you!".

What do they really mean?

 
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If you know that, you DO indeed say ‘I love you’, even occasionally, you will reject the whole statement at the “never” part sentence.  However, this unreasonable word, ‘NEVER’, is the first indicator that it’s not about the ‘I love you’ but something deeper and perhaps even completely different then the what the words above suggest. 

For men, and for many partners regardless of gender, this makes no sense.  AND, we have no idea how to solve it, so communication quickly becomes shut down.

Sadly, growing up we are not informed that being married for life needs life & relationship skills and new understandings.

Most couples are totally unaware of what they don’t know but need to if they are going to happily ever after this whole love thing.

How do we go from surviving, to thriving in our marriage and partnerships?!?

Please note: It’s not just you!  We ALL missed the Relationships 101 class at school, because it simply doesn’t exist, and many of us #notallofus, didn’t have very great teachers at home either.

I’m often the second to last call people make, right before the divorce lawyer or moving truck.  Crisis brings them to my door, and helping them breakthrough (their immediate problem) is a small part of what they really need. The biggest part is helping learn the skills to live a purposeful exciting life, as a team. It’s why I work with couples, and individuals in relationships, up to 6 months, personally guiding them through work around communication, love language, core values, mindset transformation, self love, intimacy, forgiveness and so much more.

You could say, I have created that elusive Relationships 101 class, we all missed.

And starting today...

CLASS IS NOW IN SESSION!

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I have cleared some slots over the next couple of weeks for YOU to book a FREE Breakthrough To Love call, where we can spend 45 minutes together to sort a way forward in your relationship. 

(Yup, an appointment with me, FOR FREE!)

On this call, I will help you get clarity on where you have been, where you are at, and where you want to go with love and your partnership.

IF, and only if, we both think it’s a good fit, AT THE END OF THE CALL, I may invite you to become one of my new clients and tell you about the coaching programs I can offer, that will provide you with the solutions YOU NEED, in order to save your relationship AND become more healthy and happy within your partnership. 

SCHEDULE YOUR FREE BREAKTHROUGH TO LOVE CALL APPOINTMENT HERE

Looking forward to speaking to you soon, my darling!

 
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The Big THREE Relationships Types; Which one do YOU think healthiest?

An interesting topic keeps arising with both my Relationship Coaching clients, the brave couples and empowered individuals who are in relationships AND my Love Coaching clients, the incredible fierce women who are out there in the wilds of the dating jungle.

 

What is a healthy relationship?

 

 

Whilst there are as many ways to flesh out the many facets and unique paths towards a ‘healthy relationship’ there are a few basic fundamental points that are universal and if we want the journey of love and partnership to thrive and be a well paved smooth road, we need to navigate the three primary relationships highways, with great care.

 

Image credit: stephane delval  via unpslash.com

Image credit: stephane delval  via unpslash.com

One of the basic principals of coaching, for me the coach, is to never assume you know, what I know.  Confession time!  I don’t always get that right.   And over the last few weeks, it’s become apparent that this very topic is one of the ways, I’ve fallen down, as a coach.  And today, I RECTIFY THAT!  WOOT!

 

 

There are three major categories that relationships (and most people who engage with ANY kind of relationship) fall into; Independent, Co-dependent and Interdependent.

 

This is not one of those millennial races, where every one get’s a prize… there is one clear winner for the best and healthiest type of engagement in relationships. 

In today’s LOVE LETTER I am going to present the big three, and YOU, dearest one, are going to tell me, what you think is the #1 health winner.  Hop on, LET’S RIDE!

 

CO-DEPENDENT:

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Co-dependent relationships are one of the most common ailments I come across in my coaching practice. 

 

Here is the dictionary definition of CO-DEPENDANT.

Codependency is a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person's drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.

 

Right now, you might be thinking OH SNAP, BEEN THERE BOUGHT THE T SHIRT!

Or you might be saying, Hey drug addiction>? Mental health?  That’s not been my relationship experience!

 

Let me  drill down on the simpler yet deeper explanation of co-dependency.

I am only okay, if you are okay.

My well being is directly influenced by your well being.

I am not sure where I end, and you begin.

 

 

Co-dependent relationships are toxic for ALL who are involved, it enables the person we are trying to fix and it stifles our own happiness and ability to self create happiness from within.

 

INDEPENDENT:

 

Dictionary definition of INDEPENDENT = Free from outside control.  Not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence.

 

Whilst this does affect more of my single Love Coaching clients, it’s also not uncommon with those in relationships.  Independence is not a bad thing. In fact this feminist LOVES her some independence! Hellllo free from outside control! YASSS!

HOWEVER when we are using independence to self sustain 100% because we are convinced others will disappoint us, OR we feel that no one can be relied upon to do the job and/or do it right AND/OR  in general are using independence to shield our own control issues… we lose out on allowing others to provide for us. 

Human beings often connect most meaningfully in the exchange of love and through acts of contribution.   If we are too independent to truly receive from others, we in effect make them redundant.  And most people want to feel they play an active, impactful role on others lives.  That they can contribute sustenance, whether that be emotional, mental, spiritual or even financial. 

People are generally drawn to go where they are needed most. In fact, that’s often how we define a ‘good person’.

 

INTERDEPENDENT:

image credit: Evertone Vila via Unsplash.com

image credit: Evertone Vila via Unsplash.com

Definition = mutually dependent; depending on each other creating a framework of partnership.

My personal definition for independent?  I want AND need you in my life, but not to have a life.  

 

Interdependent relationships mean relying on each other for mutual support.  Adding to someone’s happiness, however not being the sole font for that person’s happiness. We are open to give and receive within healthy boundaries, where asked, where appropriate whilst still allowing and even expecting self-sufficiency, too. Interdependent t partnerships do not necessarily mean everything is split down the middle 50/50, but instead means that each individuals assets and limitations are valued and utilized for an overall sense of equality. 

 

You can be in an interdependent relationship where one spouse is the overall ‘bread winner’ whilst the other spouse is provides the highly valuable ( yet wildly un monetized) service of childcare.  In a healthy interdependent relationships, those roles do not have to correlate with traditional gender roles, and yet they still can, if that is what works best for your relationship. 

 

You can be in an interdependent relationship and still put concerted effort in to brightening your partners day, or booking those concert tickets you know will bring them joy but you don’t feel you HAVE to do those things in order to be liked, loved desired by your partner OR that if you don’t ‘make them happy’ they won’t BE happy.

 

 

 

I do hope the above offers you a very clear and easy to apply standard for relationships. 

 

POP QUIZ!!!

WHICH ONE DO YOU THINK IS THE WINNER FOR HEALTHIEST RELATIONSHIP OF THE YEAR? 

And, where do you see where you have been curating, participating and harming yourself and others in your past relationship?  OR, your current one, my dear? 

 

 

Can’t wait to hear your responses in the comments!

 

 

xx

 

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Do you know your LOVE attachment style? Are you avoiding love in dating & relationships? YIKES!

Lately, I’ve been digging in a bit again, around 'attachment' styles. WOW, is this really fascinating stuff!

Over the next couple of weeks I will be guiding you through a brief introduction to these various attachment styles, so you can begin to identify your own default style, rumble with how that’s effecting both your search for love AND how you are engaging in your current relationship + how to begin to change up your attachment style for better results in love and relationships.

YES. You read that right.  These next few blogswill be invaluable to those who are still looking for love AND those fighting to keep love! 

Attachment styles, is our natural default engagement with attraction, attachment and love.

Attachment styles, directly influence who we choose, how we interpret feelings of love, how we respond to love and how we show love.

There are three major attachment styles, Anxious, Avoidant and Secure.

Oh, and this is NOT one of those contests, where everybody gets a prize.  There is ONE DEFINITIVE attachment style that is THE BEST. That when we are OR overlay this particular type we have better, longer lasting, happier and more fulfilled relationships!  So stay tuned, throughout this series, dearest ones!

 

First up… the AVOIDANT Attachment Style!

The Avoidant attachment style is REALLY interesting.

The avoidant style always manifests itself. Which is to say, it requires some proactive thought or action, even if only subconsciously to consistently be maneuvering to keep people, and partners at an arm’s length.  The Avoidant attachment style, determines to a great degree what you expect from relationships, how you engage with romantic situations, how you interpret what prospective and actual partners want from you and want to give to you.

The Avoidant often self-identify as ‘free spirits’ and they view ‘NEEDS’, especially needing other people, as a weakness. The avoidant will tend to repress emotions instead of expressing them.  When someone takes a step closer to them, offering connection, intimacy and even safety, the avoidant will take two steps back. 

 

Here is the super abbreviated version of what you really need to know;

1. We come across them SO MUCH whilst dating because they are the largest population of the dating pool.. they avoid relationships, so stay single and dating longer and/or have a higher turn over in relationships, hence dipping in and out of the dating pool more often. (#ghosting #mixedmessages #saytheywantarelationshipthensaytheydont)

 

2. Avoidant can be a secondary attachment style, many of us adopt and lay over our natural attachment style as a survival skill. We come to believe, maybe after being hurt in love or due to abandonment or instability (as example) in our childhoods that self-reliance and avoiding attachment is the safer option. This self-reliance is fear based, so please don't confuse it with independence. It ain't, doll. I often witness women brandish 'I don't need a partner/I love my single status' as a shield (and a mask) which is not truly authentic OR helpful, if it comes from a place of fear and ego! And by 'witness', I mean I've also seen it in the mirror too! 😲

For those in relationships, we may have been hurt by our current partner, so we recede into the depths and into our fortresses, avoiding intimacy and vulnerability, for protection.  Again, if we are engaging with love from a place of anger, resentment and fear...then we‘re not engaging with love, at all. If our partners actions are forgivable, we need to forgive and if they aren’t, if there is no love left on the table worth fighting for, it may be time to stop digging and move on.

 

3. For those of us with a more anxious attachment style (more on that later) we are often drawn to and fall for the Avoidant because we confuse the highs and lows of our anxiety attachment with the feeling of 'falling in love'. Avoidants are the worst attachment style for Anxious types, as they cannot offer us the stability we require to feel safe. And yet, when we meet Secure attachment folks, because the frenetic energy of our own anxiety attachment, the crazy highs and lows, are not activated we think there is no 'spark'. Hellllo vicious cycle!

Fascinating stuff. And a bit of a head scramble, but in a good way! 🤣

Here are a few quick tips to help move you forward through and beyond The Avoidant Attachment Style.

How do we ‘avoid’ Avoidants whilst dating? 

Abundance is a top technique for dodging avoidants. The more people we date, the more active we are on meeting new people, the more likely we will get in front of people who do not have the avoidance attachment style. Of course really understanding and accepting our own attachment style, what we really NEED in a relationship (versus what we want sometimes) is they super duper ninja move.

 

Yikes, I may be in a committed relationship with an avoidant, are we doomed?

NO.  The Avoidant attachment style, like any other attachment style, can change.  Sometimes, they really want to love us, and the wall inside of them is blocking them, as much as it is you.  Threatening, badgering or making demands of an avoidant, is the worst possible tactic. They scare easy, no matter how tough they may act.  If you can consistently offer them safety, they will step out of the fortress.  This won’t happen overnight or even after a week of trying.  This is a long game, my dear.  Once you have created an atmosphere of safety, you can logically lay out how their behaviour makes you feel and tell them specifically what they can do to support and love you better. Think of it as saying “we’re here. Would you like to go there with me?  This is how we can get there together and it would be most helpful if YOU did X, Y, Z for us to get there.”

 

Uh oh, I am an Avoidant… now what?

There is a whole lotta work to do around changing and tempering your attachment style. KNOWING IS HALF THE BATTLE!  We can absolutely overlay other attachment styles, over our default. We can zig, when your attachment style is telling us to ZAG.  We can choose partners who offer a secure attachment style. If we are in a relationship, and we can see how our own avoidance is creating damage, we can have a brave conversation with our partners, let them know how we operate and what we need (scary word for the avoidant) from them to help us try to do better at giving and receiving love.

 

Later this week, I will be reviewing the Anxious attachment style, so stay tuned!

 

Attachment styles is a well researched area of human engagement and connection;  covering it ALL in a blog, will never be possible.  Helping individuals and couples understand, accept and move forward with their attachment styles is part of the deeper work I do with my private clients. 

 

There are many MANY books on this however one I have come to rely on is 'ATTACHED, by Dr Amir Levine & Rachel Heller'.  #recommendedreading

xx 💘

 

 

#attachmentstyles #avoidantattachmentstyle #dating #relationships #betterrelationships #choosingbetterpartners #love

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How do I keep the LOVE alive?

Photo by  Jez Timms  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Love: (noun) - a strong feeling of affection.

Huh, that doesn’t sound as nearly as tricky as I expected.  Considering all the great, art, poetry and songs that lament how complicated, painful and disastrous finding and being in LOVE can be.

The reality is, finding… falling in… feeling… and attracting LOVE isn’t the hard bit. 

Maintaining, nourishing and growing a strong feeling of affection that lasts years?  A LIFE TIME?

Now THAT’S, the nitty gritty hard bit! 

 

So, how do we learn to do that?   Is it a class in school, we skipped?  A course we opted out of at University?  Does it fall to our parents to teach us how to love and be loved, to communicate, resolve conflict, anger and resentment, to rebuild trust?  Who was supposed to teach us all the skills and techniques to extend that strong feeling of affection, no matter what?

Like, you know, when life does what life does? 

The dream job, turns nightmare?  You haven't slept in 2 months because, new baby!? The investments, bottom out?  The market dips and the you’re now underwater on your house?  Your sweet child gets a diagnosis you didn’t plan on?  YOU get a diagnosis you can’t even say out loud yet?  The money is gone? Your mother passes away?  Your father-in-law has to move in with you for 24 hour care? His kid has suddenly morphed into devil spawn tween?  Your kid is football star in the making, with 3 practices a week to show for it? Your boss is making your life hell?  The commute is gobbling up 3 hours of their day?  And Sex? Ahhhhahahaha, What’s that?!?!

When and where was THAT seminar, the one for ‘keeping that strong feelings of affection’, alive and kicking, when the shit’s really going down? 

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Breathe.  You’re not the only one.  WE ALL MISSED IT!   

Because, ‘relationships’, isn’t something, as a society, we structure into a formal teaching. 

 

Which is kind of odd, no? 

I mean, we wouldn’t throw someone into nuclear physicist work without any training, schooling or expertise and say, here you go, power the country and reduce our carbon footprint please!

We wouldn’t pick some wonderful kind super well intentioned person with no skills, no real track record of long term success and say ‘hey you, stop world hunger! Here is the head seat of this charity, now get this done and no mistakes, okay buddy??

I wish I could write here, we wouldn’t vote someone in to run a country without… but UM, yikes! 

In all seriousness, I picked some VERY important jobs, didn’t I? However, let’s be real here. 

LOVE is a HUGE part of our ability to be happy with our lives.  RELATIONSHIPS, deep meaningful LONG TERM connections with other human beings, has been proven to not only increase our satisfaction in life and mental health, but our actual life expectancy!!

So why aren’t we investing in more personal development, learning and teaching around love and relationships? 

Well hello old frenemies, FEAR & SHAME. 

Somehow, we have come to believe, that asking for help in this area, means we have already failed.

Which, again, is pretty odd. 

If I wanted to get a degree in business, it wouldn’t be required or assumed, it’s because I’ve failed in business.  If I wanted to get a certification in Yoga, the opposite would be assumed, people would natural think, I must be really good at yoga already if I want to become an instructor!! 

Whenever there is not a structure in place to teach and to learn, fear and shame have all the space they need to take root and grow.  Fear & Shame lead to hatred and distrust of what we don’t know.  We definitely DO NOT need any more of that in our world today! 

 

So, is this point of the blog where I say, HIRE ME, I’LL TEACH YOU!!

No. Nope. Not even close.

I just want to let you know, it’s okay… that you don’t know. 

That you don’t know, how to communicate better with your partner.  It’s okay if you’re not sure if you LOVE them anymore.  It’s okay that you may even have a roadside littered with past failed relationships.

LOVE, the strong feeling of affection, takes work to sustain, not magic. 

I write, offering the kindness and compassion in the sacred knowledge that NO ONE IS BORN WITH ‘IT’.  

And with the HOPE that YOU CAN GET BETTER at relationships. 

Just like you did with yoga, or rowing, or your career, or at making smarter investments with your money, or at being a parent, improving your tennis game, or negotiating your salary for a new job, or baking pinterest worthy (and not so pinterest worthy) cakes...

Communication, conflict resolution, overcoming the negative head chatter, rebuilding trust, facilitating goodwill and true partnership, are ALL skills that can be learned and improved upon.  Even the SKILL that is LOVE, the feeling of strong affection, is a muscle that requires an exercise regime.  

Today, simply embrace this kindness, compassion and hope. 

Kindness, compassion and hope, is how you kill fear and shame, with fire!

xx

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9 Things Couples' Therapists Want You To Know About Marriage & Kids

First it was a team of TWO... and then BOOM! A team of three, four, five...

Starting a family, and the incomprehensible joy children can bring to our lives is an epic pivot point in a couples life.  I mean, once you get past the absolute terror of those first days (or months) of each of you doing your very best to keep them alive... AND once you learn first hand just how little sleep a human needs to function, of course!  

The moment comes for us all, the welcomed exhale as they begin to endlessly entertain us with their antics and the awe inspiring 'firsts' as they experience the world.  It's magic!

HOWEVER, many MANY couples struggle to maintain the well being and health of the original'Team of TWO'. Both individually and as a couple.  Time becomes sand, that not just slips but spills furtively from our hands, and all too often, a couple becomes two separate islands with an ocean between them. 

Date night? Sex? Quiet conversation over a candle lit dinner?  AHAHAHAHA What's that?  

One of the greatest gifts we can offer for a child's development and future emotional maturity is a love filled home.  Love that flows freely, not just to them, but between the parents too. 

The very hip folks over @ Romper.com, get it!  Romper 'chronicles that crazy adventure — its highs and its lows — in a way that’s smart, honest, helpful, and above all, fun. Raising another human is no joke, but it’s often hilarious.'   

They did us all a great service by providing this fantastic article to help YOU out with everything I just spoke about!  HURRAH! 

romper.com

romper.com

It was an honour to contribute as an relationship expert on this article, and hope you find my tips, along with some other experts, super helpful as you navigate partnership and parenting!

READ THE ARTICLEHERE https://www.romper.com/p/9-things-couples-therapists-want-you-to-know-about-marriage-kids-45082

 

What's not working for you?  Where is the STRUGGLE so very real as you try to be the best parent and partner?  xx

 

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