COUNSELLING BLOG

Posts tagged couples

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Crucial Ingredients for a Great Relationship

1. Shared sense of humour; lots of laughter and fun

2. Little gestures of thoughtfulness

3. Personal space (there needs to be separateness in your togetherness)

4. Having the ability to spend hours together (simply doing routine or humdrum things)

5.  Having “fairness and respect” rules in place for when you argue or fight

6. Having an attraction that goes beyond the physical; liking each other, and your personality

7. Believing that your partner has what it takes to live the life they want to live – believing in them always, especially when they’re down

8. Having a relationship that’s built on trust, openness, honesty and faithfulness.  

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Relationship Check Up

Signs of a Healthy Relationship

A healthy relationship means that both members of the couple are…

1. Communicating with each other: Talking about problems without screaming and shouting; listening to each other, and respecting their viewpoint; being willing to adapt and to sometimes change their mind.

2. Showing respect for one another: Valuing the other person’s culture, beliefs, viewpoints, opinions and boundaries. Also, treating each other in a kind and caring way.

3. Demonstrating and conveying trust: Each person is trustworthy and trusts the other person – because they have been shown that they are worthy of that trust.

4. Honest with each other: Both are open and honest – but are private as well; and they don’t demand the other person tells them everything.

5. Equals: They make joint decisions and treat each other well. No person calls the shots or determines all the rules.

6. Able to enjoy their own personal space: As well as spending time together, they spend time on their own. They’re respect the fact they’re different, and they need their own life, too.

7. Decisions about sex are discussed, and are consensual: They discuss sex together, including birth control. There’s no one individual sets the rules and standards here.

Signs of an unhealthy relationship

An unhealthy relationship develops where one, or both, of the partners is…

1. Failing to communicate: Problems are ignored, or not talked about at all. One or both don’t really listen, and they rarely compromise.

2. Acting in ways that are disrespectful: One or both are inconsiderate toward the other person; and they don’t behave in ways that send the message that they care.

3. Refusing to trust the other person: One or both is suspicion of their partner’s loyalty. Hence, they make false accusations, or won’t believe the truth.

4. Acting in a way that is dishonest: One or both is deceptive, or they lie and hide the truth.

5. Acting in a controlling way: One person thinks that they should set the one who rules, controls the other person, and say how things should be.

6. Beginning to feel squashed and smothered / cutting themselves off from friends and family: One partner is possessive, or feels threatened and upset, when the other’s with their family or spends time with their friends.

7. Attempting to pressurise the other into sexual activity / refusing to talk openly about birth control: One partner wants the other to participate in sex, or to engage in different practices against that’s person’s will. Or, one of the partners stops using birth control, or expects the other person to “take care of all that.”

 Signs of an abusive relationship

An abusive relationship develops when one of the parties…

1. Starts to communicate in ways that are abusive: When arguments occur, one of the partners screams and cusses, or they verbally threaten or attack the other person.

2. Shows disrespect through acting in abusive ways: This is where one of the partners abuse, harms or threatens the physical safety of the other individual.

3. Wrongly accuses their partner of flirting or cheating: One of the partners is convinced – with no real grounds – that their partner is cheating or having an affair. Thus, they lash out verbally, or hurt, the accused partner.

4. Refuses to accept responsibility for the abuse: When they fly into a rage or act in ways that are abusive, they miminise their actions and refuse to accept blame. They may even blame their partner for “causing the abuse.”

5. Starts to control the other partner: One partner has no say as the other sets the rules – and arguing against that simply leads to more abuse.

6. Does what they can to isolate their partner: One partner has control of who the other person sees, the way they spend their time – and, even, clothes they buy and wear. Thus, they start to lose their confidence and personality.

7. Forces sexual activity: The frequency, type and circumstances for sex are determined by one partner – and the other must comply. If they don’t acquiesce it leads to violence or abuse. Also, sometimes violence is included in the sex.

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Abusive Relationships – Safety Tips

These safety tips can make the difference between being severely injured or killed and escaping with your life.

Prepare for emergencies

-      Know your abuser’s red flags. Be on alert for signs and clues that your abuser is getting upset and may explode in anger or violence. Come up with several believable reasons you can use to leave the house (both during the day and at night) if you sense trouble brewing.

-      Identify safe areas of the house. Know where to go if your abuser attacks or an argument starts. Avoid small, enclosed spaces without exits (such as closets or bathrooms) or rooms with weapons (such as the kitchen). If possible, head for a room with a phone and an outside door or window.

-      Come up with a code word. Establish a word, phrase, or signal you can use to let your children, friends, neighbors, or co-workers know that you’re in danger and the police should be called.

Make an escape plan

-      Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Keep the car fueled up and facing the driveway exit, with the driver’s door unlocked. Hide a spare car key where you can get it quickly. Have emergency cash, clothing, and important phone numbers and documents stashed in a safe place (at a friend’s house, for example).

-      Practice escaping quickly and safely. Rehearse your escape plan so you know exactly what to do if under attack from your abuser. If you have children, have them practice the escape plan also.

-      Make and memorize a list of emergency contacts. Ask several trusted individuals if you can contact them if you need a ride, a place to stay, or help contacting the police. Memorize the numbers of your emergency contacts, local shelter, and domestic violence hotline.

Source: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_help_treatment_prevention.htm

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Getting out on an Abusive Relationship

If you are in an abusive relationship bear the following truths in mind:

· You did not cause the abuse. It is not your fault.

.  No-one deserves to be treated in that way.

· You deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

·  You deserve to feel safe and to have a happy life.

· You are not alone. There are people who can, and will, help you.

As you consider leaving the relationship, remind yourself of the following:

· The chances are it will happen again. Abusers have serious issues which are hard to change. That will only occur if the abusive person accepts responsibility for their actions and stops blaming you, anything else, or anyone else.

· You’re not helping the person to fix their problems by remaining in an abusive relationship. You are simply reinforcing their behaviour and sending the message that “it’s OK”.

· Even when the person begs for your forgiveness and promises to never do it again, those promises are usually empty in the end as the person is stuck in a destructive pattern.

· Although it feels scary to walk away, and you may be worried about repercussions, don’t allow your fear to keep you stuck. Remaining will usually have worse consequences.

Signs that an abuser is not changing (despite what they’ve said – or promised in the past):

· The abuser minimises the abuse or says you are blowing things out of proportion.

· The abuser keeps blaming you for their words or actions. (“It’s all your fault. If you didn’t …”)

· The abuser says it’s not them – you’re the one who is actually abusive.

· He (or she) tries to push you into going for couples’ counselling.

· They say they deserve another chance.

· He or she says they can’t change without your help – so you need to stay in the relationship.

· He or she tries to pressurise others (family or close friends) to see you as “the bad guy”  and to sympathise with them.

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Limerence or Love

Limerence has been described as being compulsive longing for another person. Its defining traits and characteristics are:

- Idealising the person you’re obsessed with/ infatuated with (either in an all good or an all bad way)

- Being troubled by uncontrollable and intrusive thoughts about them

- Suffering from overwhelming feelings of shyness, nervousness and confusion whenever you are near them

- Desperately fearing being rejected by them

- Feeling euphoric at the smallest sign that they may be interested in you

- Fantasizing continually about being in a relationship with them

- Desperately hoping and looking for sign of reciprocation (This can lead to wrong conclusions and “reading into things”)

- Feeling that everything around you somehow reminds you of that person  

- Replaying every little detail of any conversation or encounter with them

- Analysing everything they say or do in great detail to try and figure out hidden meanings

- Maintaining romantic intensity even when they totally ignore you, or treat you badly

-  Arranging your schedule to try and bump into, or catch a glance of, the person

It has been suggested that limerant relationships tend to be too intense, and one person is generally over-committed to the relationship compared to the other person. In healthy relationships, both of the partners grow in their love and affection for each other through shared interests and a mutual enjoyment of each other’s company. Neither should be emotionally dependent upon (or addicted to) the other.  

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Is it Love or Lust?

Being in love doesn’t always exclude lust – and lust can also lead to lasting love. But as a general rule, the two are not the same so it’s good to know to what the differences are. In summary:

Lust

·  You’re completely obsessed with their body and looks.

·  Your main goal is sex, not a conversation.

·  You’d rather keep feelings out of the relationship.

·  You’re keen to leave once the sex is over; spending time with the person doesn’t really interest you.

·  You are lovers, but not true companions and friends.

Love

·  You want to enjoy doing thing lots of things together – you’re not only focused on sex.

·  You find it fascinating finding out about your partner. You’re interested in their opinions and viewpoints, and you could easily talk for hours and hours.

· Your partner’s feelings matters to you. You want to make them happy, and to see them smile.

·  Your partner inspires you to be a better person.

·  You want to get to know their family and friends, and be part of their wider world.

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The Key Ingredients of a Healthy and Happy Relationship

1. Giving and receiving unconditional love

2. Having a solid friendship

3. A commitment to understand each other, and each other’s perspective on things

4. Having a relationship that is built on trust

5. Having, and demonstrating, genuine respect for one another

6. Sharing common values

7. Maintaining open communication, and making time to talk and share what’s on your heart

8. Not assuming you can read each other’s mind

9. Being able to disagree and argue in a respectful way

10. Relationship decisions are discussed and made jointly

11.   Sharing laughter and fun

12.   Doing things you enjoy together

13.   Supporting each other’s individual interests (whether we share those interest or not)

14.   Being willing to give and take, to be flexible and to compromise at times

15.   Having time apart as well as together; having separate friends that you see on your own.

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How to Get Over Your Ex

1. Take them down from that pedestal – even if they were great, they still had lots of flaws and were less than perfect.

2. Recognise that it is over – and actively decide to leave the past behind and move on with your life.

3. Don’t contact them at all. It is hard to move on, and to start again, if you keep them in your life.

4. Avoid the places you know they tend to be; and only see mutual friends when they are not around.

5. Go out with your friends, don’t stay at home on your own. If you’re out having fun you will think of them less often.

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Why Couples Separate

Research by Cosmopolitan (based on their interviews with women alone), showed the top 10 reasons couple broke up were:

1. Falling out of love. (39.7% of respondents said they had experienced a breakup for this reason)

2. He cheated. (36.6 percent)

3. He lied about something, and I couldn’t trust him again. (29.3 percent)

4. We were always fighting and realized we shouldn’t be together. (29.1 percent)

5 and 6 (tied). He stopped doing sweet, romantic things for me. And, I missed being single and dating around. (both 21.1 percent)

7. He wasn’t very ambitious when it came to his career. (20.6 percent)

8. One of us moved. (20.2 percent)

9. He didn’t get along with my friends and family. (18.9 percent)

10. The sex was bad. (15.7 percent)

Source: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/celebrity/news/reasons-couples-break-up

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The 5 Love Languages

Everyone has a primary “love language” - their way of giving and receiving love. This will vary from person to person, but will usually be one of the following:

1.    Words of Affirmation - If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

2.    Quality Time - Nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

3.    Receiving Gifts - Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized.

4.    Acts of Service - Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

5.    Physical Touch - A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

Source: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/learn-the-languages/the-five-love-languages/ (abridged)

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Communicating and Relationships

The following tips can help you to communicate more effectively with your partner.

1. In opposite sex relationships, recognize that men and women have different communication styles: This is partly due to different wiring in their brains. Hence, women are wired to remember details and bring up everything when discussing an issue. However, men find this completely overwhelming and prefer to stick to the topic being discussed. They’re usually drained by moaning sessions – which other female friends will often enjoy.

2: Don’t bury everything – be real about your feelings: Most relationships are better if you’re honest and real. That is, you don’t become resentful if you say what’s on your mind. Also, you keep things in proportion as they’re dealt with early on. This builds a sense of trust because you feel you can be you – and not just pretend that everything’s always OK.

3. Communicate in a way that’s not accusatory or blaming: This requires

(i) Listening well to the other person (reflect back the content of what they’ve just shared, and the emotions attached to it).

(ii) Speaking in terms of facts. For example, “I feel bad when you arrange something with your friends (fact) without telling me (fact).

(iii) Remembering to include something you appreciate about your partner. As a general rule, any negative comment should be sandwiched between two positive ones.

(iv) Reframe complaints as requests. For example, you could say something like “If I pick up the cinema tickets will you sort out the meal?”

(v) Shift from attack to wonder. Rather than jumping to conclusions and attacking your partner (eg, “You always/ you never …”), say something like (“I wonder if there’s a better way to deal with this … What do you think would help?”)

4. Remember that both partners need to feel as if they’re getting something for the relationship to work: In summary:

(i) Ask for what you want. It’s a fact that most people don’t directly ask for what they want as they don’t expect to get it. But that leaves the other person assuming and guessing.

(ii) Give your partner what you want from them (model it). For example, if you want them to be interested in your day, ask about their day.

(iii) Learn to negotiate. All good relationships involve both give and take.

(iv) Learn to be flexible and adaptable – It’s not only and always about you. (But nor is it always and only about them).

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