communication

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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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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Using 'Reflective Listening' To Improve Relationship Communication

Communication is a multi faceted skill set.  We often get so caught up in improving our ‘Verbal’ communication skills, we don’t dedicate the necessary time to all the other bits that make communication successful. 
 
Perhaps the most overlooked and wayward of the communication skills these days, across our society as a whole, is LISTENING.

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Why yes.  Remember LISTENING?  It’s that oh so crucial other half of Verbal communication, that if we don’t get it right… we miss out on the conversation and on connection, completely.
 
 
Today, I wanted to focus on one particular listening skill we can all easily work towards being better at, every day called REFLECTIVE LISTENING.


 
>> You know when your partner jumps in, midway through your well thought out rant and finishes your sentences for you?
 
>> When you find yourself tuning out your partner, as you retreat into your own mind to carefully mount your defense, AKA your response, to what they are saying?
 
>> Or how about when you KNOW you’re speaking plain English and yet still, what they heard and what you said, simply doesn’t match up??


 

Seeing RED yet?

I don’t blame you.  We’ve all been there.
 
This is what listening to respond looks like.  WE NEED to learn how to listen to UNDERSTAND! 
 
This is also why you keep having the same conversations over and over, and are getting nowhere but straight to the land of frustration and anger. 
 
Next stop on that train?
 
Derailment!   Cause why bother, right?   Why even go through the trouble oftalking about this anymore?  Nothing ever changes!  They aren’t really listening to you, anyways!


Using a technique called REFLECTIVE LISTENING can quickly help you become a better listener.  Reflective listening, begins with the simple act of repeating back what someone say to us, but in your own words.  This shows you didn’t just hear what the other person said, but understood it as well.

rying this skill set on.  At first, can feel a bit odd and insincere.  You may even think, this might prove more annoying than anything else.  However, when used correctly (and practice will get you there)  REFLECTIVE LISTENING is a killer way to drive conversations forward.
 
Here is a prime example of such an exchange;
 
SPEAKER 1
I get so angry when you spend so much money without telling me. We’re trying to save for a house!!!
 
SPEAKER 2
We’re working hard to save for a a house, so its really frustrating when it seems like I don’t care
.
 

 
Now, TONE is really important here.  We want to use a tone that comes across as a statement, with a bit of uncertainty.  The end goal is to express ‘I think this is what you are telling me, but correct me if I’m wrong’. Your reflections don’t have to be perfect.  If the other person has to correct you, that’s actually a really good thing!  Helllllo!  Now, you are actually having a conversation based on trying to really understand one another better.  Not, oh I don’t know. Trying to prove a point, win an argument, or force someone to hear you!
 
That, my darlings, is progress from the familiar train wreck we are accustomed to, in just a few sentences exchanged.


 
Try to reflect the other persons emotions, even if it wasn’t part of the sentence they spoke. 
 
SPEAKER 1
Why do you always take this route?  There is always traffic and we are going to be late again to pick up the kids?
 
SPEAKER 2
You’re worried we will be late to pick up the kids, and I’ve chosen the route I know best, that usually has traffic.  Do you know a better route we can take?

 
Speaker 1 never mentioned being worried however it was probably implied through their tone or the look on their face.  When we acknowledge emotions, it hows we are not just listening and mimicking back their words but using our eyes to read our partners communication as well.  The understanding, just got next leveled! 



 

Sometimes our partners have a whole lot to say in one statement, filled with both essential and non essential details and story lines.  And pulling out a notebook or recording device to keep up, well that might not send the right message J
 
When we reflect back, we want to pick out the main points only.
 
SPEAKER 1
First, I woke up late, because you turned off both alarms. Then I went to get in the bathroom to get ready and nearly killed myself because the floor was soaking wet from when you took a shower, my mom called and you know how that gets me worked up, the dog peed on the floor, the kids were running around with two different shoes on, I forgot to brush my teeth, and to top it all off I get into the car and there is no gas in it BECAUSE you the last person to drive it, left me on empty!! 
 
 
SPEAKER 2

I hear you saying, you had a shitty morning and that I contributed to that by not taking the time to consider how my actions may affect you. 
 

The reality is, most of us have a handful of well grooved auto responses on hand that are continuing the unsuccessful dynamics in our relationship communications. 
 
Do you know what I say when my husband complains about the route I chose to drive?
 
“Oh, sorry… did you want to drive?!?!?!“ in my best flippant nasty tone.
 
Yup. Almost every time.  Not very reflective, huh?
 
Most humans are creatures of habit.  We wear a groove and settle there.  Sometimes habitual structure can be a good thing.  We always say ‘I love you’ when someone leaves the house or a quick kiss goodnight before rolling over, like clockwork. 

However, when the groove becomes a rut, and is causing communication to break down in our relationship, the very next thing to go is connection. 
 
Without connection, love cannot survive. 
 
 

I love to hear how you get on with introducing REFLECTIVE LISTENING into your communications in the comments here!

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Are Modern Dating Trends Infiltrating Relationships, too?

Do we leave behind some of the more insidious dating trends, once we get into that sometimes elusive long term relationship?

Over the recent years, in my own dating and relationship coaching practice, I have witnessed and helped my clients overcome every new dating trend, the good, the bad and the really horrific!  

The way human beings navigate finding love, and the many pitfalls, no longer surprise me however I was unpleasantly surprised  to see these dating trends outliving their seemingly obvious expiration dates, by showing their face with the couples, I work with too! 

Knowing what I do, of human nature and how the brain easily attaches to both good and bad behaviour, I shouldn’t have been surprised.  The following is a deep dive into which dating trends are taking up more permanent residence and how they can adversely affect our romantic partnerships.

 

1.GHOSTING

image; Pixaby

image; Pixaby

Ghosting first came onto the scene as the way the worst kind of people cut off all contact shortly into the dating process, providing no reason or notice to the other person at all.  Steadily, ghosting became so common, it became acceptable. Even the nicest of people consider it absolutely acceptable normal dating behaviour.

Our technology, the same one that serves us so well, like apps that allow us to order food, taxi’s, dating, buy shoes, schedule doctors’ appointments all without ever speaking to another human being… is this same technology boom that allows GHOSTING to be such an easy and acceptable mode of operation in today’s dating scene. 

As a society, we have so much available to us whose sole purpose is to allow us to avoid uncomfortable situations and avoid having REAL conversations with REAL people in the REAL world.  This now very normalized dating trend, has opened more people to avoiding conflict and it is indeed carrying over into our relationships.  Don’t want to hear how you let your partner down again, by working late?  Send a text.  Don’t want to have that tough conversation about how unhappy you’ve been, face to face tonight? Send novel long wassap message!  Want to tune out from the conversation that is indeed happening, right now live?  Grab your phone and start facebooking! 

Going ghost on confrontation and conflict, is very much happening in partnerships too.

 

2. BREAD CRUMBING

image: Pixaby

image: Pixaby

Bread Crumbing, defined by Urban Dictionary as “the act of sending out flirtatious, but non-committal text messages (ie "breadcrumbs") in order to lure a sexual partner without expending much effort,” equates to leading someone on.

Short bursts of minimal effort in order to keep partners interested and on the line, is a new trend for those in relationships as well. How this typically plays out, is two people who are in a committed relationship, but one partner is really just waiting ‘for someone better to come along’.  By taking a hostage, their current partner, they ensure they remain cared for and will show up ‘just enough’ to keep the relationship going. But they aren’t really in it, to win it! 

However even in committed relationships, where one person is not waiting for something better to come along, a form of bread crumbing can still take place. 

We know our relationship needs work, our partner has been banging on about all the things we need to do, in order to keep the relationship alive and happy.  And we do some of the things. Well, really, we do just enough of the things to get them to shut up.  We do just enough of the things, to claim a proper defense.  To state “Look!! I did this thing!!, You can’t say I’m not trying!!”.   This form of behavior isn’t necessarily malicious.  Chances are the dynamic has become so threatening, the motivation so negative, that this person is just trying to avoid pain and discomfort.  If they were motivated by their partner positively, they would do a lot more of the things, to gain the rewards

 

3. SPEAKING OUR TRUTH

imagel Unsplash & Jessicaelizabethcoaching.com

imagel Unsplash & Jessicaelizabethcoaching.com

This trend setter is everywhere we look these days.  Authenticity guru’s are abound with the honor and speak your truth.  Honest, direct kind communication in a relationship is a beautiful thing.  HOWEVER, Honesty without compassion is brutality. Keep it kind, kids!

I have a great filter I offer to clients, that helps to mediate in their own heads, what really needs to be said and when. 

  • Does it need to be said?

  • Does it need to be said, BY ME?

  • Does it need to be said, RIGHT NOW?

  • How many times does it need saying?

If we can pause, long enough to drop our thought through this filter, we can be more sure that what comes out the other side of said filter, is the truth, that needs speaking.

Furthermore, true partnerships cannot have communication, discourse and collaboration without listening too.  LISTENING is the other half of communication. If we are spending all of our time, thinking and mapping out responses, how we will deliver ‘our truth’, and real talking ‘our truth’ at every opportunity, we kill communication, dead.

 

 

4. NEGGING

image: pixaby

image: pixaby

Negging is ugly. REAL ugly.  Negging, as defined by Urban Dictionary is the manipulative behaviour of men (#notallmen) by offering up low-grade insults meant to undermine the self-confidence of a woman so she might be more vulnerable to your advances.

If we are in a relationship with someone who is using negging, the more relative term here is emotional abuse. It is absolutely not okay for our partners to be actively undermining out self-confidence and self-worth, to take the advantage.  In relationships, I witness both men and women equally negging each other, shredding each other’s confidence and esteem to bits in order to feel better about themselves, be ‘right’ or simply to assuage a long held resentment they have about their partner.

Any relationship expert, counselor or coach will assure you that partnership is about two people bringing out the best in one another, NOT tearing each other down. In my own relationship coaching practice, the bulk of the work done with couples and empowered individuals in relationships is unifying them back to a place of fighting the good fight for their life and dreams, shoulder to shoulder, together! 

 

Can you identify any of these trends in your own relationship?  What is one action you can take today, to start moving away from these trends?   Let us know in the comments!

 

It’s time to learn the 'not so trendy' behaviors and techniques that will last a life time of love.

 

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