You may have started to think about the future and what you want from your relationships. But if you’re still carrying around the emotional baggage of a former relationship, it can be difficult to stop living in the past.
Relationships can have a pull on us long after they’re over. It can be difficult to accept that something that was once a really big part of your life is now becoming a memory. Likewise, unresolved issues can make it difficult to accept that the relationship has ended at all.
Clients often tell our counsellors that they feel stuck going over and over what happened in their last relationship and that makes it feel impossible to move on. It’s also a lot harder now to disconnect yourself from painful reminders of the past: simply logging on to Facebook and seeing updates or photos of an ex can leave you heartbroken all over again.
There comes a time when we need to accept that what’s done is done and begin to look forward to what might be coming next. That’s easier said than done, so here’s my guide to
Jealousy can rear its head in any relationship. It’s a destructive emotion: it has the potential to suffocate a happy partnership and break down the trust that was there.
Jealousy can cause you to experience a range of feelings, from insecurity and suspicion to rejection, fear, anger or anxiety. If you think jealousy might be an issue in your relationship, here are my top tips for recognising it – and taking steps towards addressing it.
The signs of jealousy
Jealousy can manifest itself in lots of ways.
You might feel rational one minute and then completely irrational the next. You might start to believe irrational thoughts which you know deep down cannot be true. You might feel a sense of insecurity, and be very ‘watchful’ of your partner’s actions. You might feel you’re unable to trust them – or start to feel rejected and unloved. You may feel an overwhelming need to stay connected with your partner – wanting to know where they are and what they’re doing at all times.
Jealousy can have a poisonous effect on a relationship. The receiving partner is likely to resent
It’s all too easy to pick up negative communication habits when it comes to relationships. Who can say they’ve never raised their voice in an argument? Or unfairly accused their partner of something? Or even refused to engage in a discussion at all?
The thing is, if we’re not careful, these kinds of behaviours can create real difficulties. They can turn small problems into big ones, cultivate simmering, long term resentments and ultimately make it trickier to resolve things when a real crisis comes along.
It’s only by paying close attention to how well we’re communicating with our partner that we can nip stuff like this in the bud. Here’s four of the most common negative communication habits and how to avoid them.
Freezing them out
We’ve all been there. Our partner comes into the room, sees we’re in a bad mood and asks us what’s wrong. And what do we say? ‘Nothing.’
For some reason, many of us have a tendency to assume our partner should be able to know exactly what we’re thinking without us telling them. It’s as if we’re testing them –
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Tolstoy was right—happy families are all alike. At least they share certain basic characteristics. Here are a few of the foundations experts say are key to a loving, cheerful home:
- Create cuddle time.
You can’t overdose on hugs. It’s important for families to spend time snuggling in bed together, reading, or talking or playing games. This kind of positive touch helps kids feel loved and secure, plus it’s fun for parents!
- Sing together, stay together.
The Von Trapp family had it right—singing together is a terrific way to bond as a family. Make up your own words to your favorite tunes; dance around the living room with your children; and use music to motivate room cleaning.
- Make room for fun.
While it’s good to encourage your children’s schoolwork and extracurricular activities, too much emphasis on them can create tension and anxiety. Make time for activities that have no purpose other than to allow family members to enjoy spending time together. Play games, plot surprise parties, take long walks, explore a cave, plant a garden, or cook.
- Exercise together.
Take a run or a bike ride to a local park with your child. At the park, you can take time to
Single and looking for love? Dating’s hard enough without the emotional baggage you may be bringing to the table. And when you’re having trouble finding a love connection, it’s all too easy to buy into the destructive myths out there about dating and relationships. That’s why you may want to start by re-assessing your beliefs and expectations about love—especially if you’ve been burned repeatedly or have a poor track record when it comes to dating.
Learning how to keep things in perspective, watch for red flags, and deal with trust issues will put you on the path to finding a loving relationship that lasts.
Obstacles to finding lasting love
Life as a single person offers many rewards, including learning how to build a healthy relationship with yourself. However, if you’re ready to share your life with someone and want to build a lasting, worthwhile relationship, life as a single person can also be very frustrating.
Finding the right romantic partner is often a difficult journey, for several reasons. Perhaps you grew up in a household where there was no role model of a solid, healthy relationship and you doubt that such a thing even exists. Or maybe your dating history consists only of short,
In today’s society, we don’t have many role models or common ideal values when it comes to the question of how to have a long-lasting, happy relationship. Most of the things we learn are from trial and error. We’re all just trying to figure it out — the ever-present question of how to coexist with our partner in the most harmonious, loving way.
But here are a few lessons that I’ve learned the hard way. When we are more flexible with ourselves and our partners, we communicate better, and get along better. These seven practices are essential for helping your relationship last — and to be happy, healthy and strong along the way.
- Realize that it’s impossible to “win” a fight. No one will ever win, ever.
When you are involved in an argument with your partner, it often becomes less about coming to a solution and more about “winning” the argument or being “right”. The goal in conscious communication is to create more harmony in your relationship and find a solution that you both can agree upon. Rehashing the same ideas over and over again in an effort to feel “right” will not lead to happiness for anyone.
One of the biggest reasons that couples come to counselling is one or both partners feeling unloved.
Lots of people – particularly those who’ve been with their partners for a long time and have been doing things the same way for a while – come for help because they feel their partner never expresses appreciation or affection and, as a result, they don’t feel wanted or cared for.
But often, the problem is as much to do with how affection is being expressed as anything else.
We all have different ways of showing someone that we care about them. This could be called your ‘love language’.
The five ‘love languages’
The main ‘love languages’ people use are:
- Giving gifts. This might include buying flowers or chocolates – physical items intended to please your partner and show you’ve been thinking about them.
- Carrying out kind acts. This could be something like cleaning the car for your partner or picking up the shopping. Little (or big!) gestures to make them happy.
- Spending quality time together. This could be putting aside a whole evening to spend in each other’s company so you can really reconnect.
- Physical touch. This could be walking along holding hands, giving hugs, receiving a neck massage. Sensual gestures
You probably wish to develop and maintain a successful intimate relationship. Unfortunately you, like many others, might find yourself failing time and again, without knowing why. The seven tips listed in this article explain the ways in which you might be harming your relationships, show you how to stop this from happening and how to develop and maintain a successful intimacy.
- Get in touch with and understand the needs which affect your reactions and behaviors in a relationship.
Needs you are not aware of might be driving your reactions and behaviors. Are you, for example, driven by the need for love (which might drive you to be too submissive within a relationship?); the need for independence (which might drive you always to keep distance from your partner?), and so on. These needs often affect the way we react and behave in our relationships.
When you become aware of your needs and become able to free yourself from the impact they have over your reactions and behaviors, you will be able to behave with your partner in a healthy and mature way.
- Understand the fears that drive your reactions and behaviors.
It is certain that you – like almost everybody else – have
Tip No. 1: Take care of yourself. We all know that when you get on an airplane the announcement reminds us that in case of an emergency, to put our own oxygen mask on before we help the person sitting next to us. This is a good reminder for our daily lives as well. If we do not take care of ourselves, we will have trouble being there for the ones we love. So what does it mean to take care of ourselves? For some people it means getting exercise, for others a hot bath, and for some curling up with a good book. Whatever nurtures you be sure to do it a little bit each day. When we take time to take care of ourselves, we are more present and available for others.
Tip No. 2: Be mindful about the relationships in your life. Practicing mindfulness (which some may call prayer or meditation) refers to taking a few minutes on a regular basis to stop, breath, and reflect on the relationships in your life. Reflection can be centered on many different aspects of the relationship. For instance, reflecting on being grateful for the relationships in your life and reflecting on
Trust is an important factor in any relationship. Trust helps us to feel secure in our relationship – that, even if there are challenges further down the line, there’s still a strong foundation to fall back on.
Of course, it’s not always easy to express trust constructively. Things can get in the way – insecurities about the relationship, fears about things that might go wrong, weak points in terms of communication – and it can be easy to fall into a number of common ‘trust pitfalls’.
If any of the following sound familiar, it may be worth having a think about the ways in which you approach trust in your relationship – and whether any support might be necessary.
The ‘tight grip’ relationship
The ‘tight grip’ relationship is a type of relationship in which either one or both partners feel unable to trust the other, and become jealous and controlling as a result. They might raise suspicions about what the other partner is doing when they’re not around them or get upset when they spend time with other people.
The ‘tight grip’ relationship is rarely a satisfying situation for either of the pair. The person raising the suspicions often doesn’t want to feel like this
It can be easy to feel as if there’s something wrong with being single. So much of what we see on a daily basis – adverts, movies, tv shows, books, music, social media – seems to suggest that life is all about being in a happy relationship with a loving partner.
But we can’t always guarantee being in a relationship. Sometimes, circumstance dictates we’ll be single for a while – be this because our previous relationship has ended, work commitments are making things difficult or due to bereavement.
If you’re not able to cope with these periods of being alone, being single can be a lonely, difficult ordeal. You may feel like you’re missing out on life or ‘doing things wrong’ – and could end up making rash decisions when it comes to finding a new partner and getting into a relationship that is not right.
There are lots of reasons why some people develop a problematic attitude towards being single. Sometimes, it’s just down to personality type. Some people crave companionship more than others, preferring to have lots of company rather than spend time alone. And there’s nothing necessarily wrong with this – as long as it doesn’t mean you start
In spite of the vast array of modern time-saving technologies we all have less and less free time.
Many people find themselves constantly torn between the pressures of work and personal life. We need to earn a living, but we also want quality time for our partners, our family, our friends and for ourselves. It can often feel as though there just aren’t enough hours in the day or days in the week. And while we rush around trying to fit more and more activities into less and less time, it is often our relationships that suffer.
Why time is so important
Time together is to a relationship what water is to a plant. It’s how a relationship is nurtured and cared for. It’s the stuff that makes it stronger and helps it to grow. To stay connected, you need to feed your relationships with time. Time to keep in touch with what’s happening in your everyday lives. Time to share your hopes and dreams as well as your fears and failings. And time to have fun.
How to re-align your work/life balance
Accept your life stage
There will be times in your life when you have even less time than normal. For example, when you have very small
These days, people have a much better understanding of what Relationship Counselling is and what it involves than ever before.
But there are a number of myths that continue to pervade around the subject that we think it’s important to debunk. These myths are unhelpful because they can cause people to misunderstand and, ultimately, be put off coming to counselling when it could be a really useful way to approach their relationship issues.
Here are five of the most common.
1. Your counsellor will tell you what to do
Your Relationship Counsellor won’t tell you what to do. In fact, your Relationship Counsellor won’t be giving you any direct advice at all. What they’ll be doing is asking questions – helping you to understand things that you may already know but are struggling to get in touch with. Counselling is about focusing on what matters to you, and the counsellor’s role is simply to facilitate and work alongside side you in that process.
2. The counsellor will be deciding who is ‘right’
Counsellors don’t take sides. Some people worry that the counsellor and their partner will gang up on them and that they’ll feel press ganged into saying they’re wrong. Some people attend counselling hoping this
If you’re single, the idea of going to ‘Relationship Counselling’ might seem a bit inappropriate. You’re not alone. Lots of people think that Relationship Counselling is all about couples and isn’t relevant if you don’t have a partner.
Not true. At Relate wework with lots of individuals of all ages, both men and women, gay and straight who want to look at their relationship patterns in order to start making changes within themselves and also the kind of people they choose to have relationships with.
There are lots of reasons why you might think about coming along to counselling if you’re single. Here are some of the most common.
After a break up
At the end of a relationship – whether you’re the one who ended it or not – it can feel like you’re stuck in a pit of difficult emotions with no one to turn to.
You might be struggling to cope with feelings of sadness, loss, guilt or anger and they in turn can have a negative impact on your self-esteem and confidence.
Whether it’s a recent break up or you’re having trouble getting over someone you broke up with a while ago, having someone you can talk to openly and confidentially can
When the clocks go back on Saturday night, most of us will use the extra hour to get a little more sleep. And while this might be very tempting, why not make it really count and use it to invest in one of the relationships in your life?
Many of us find it hard to make the time for our loved ones. Our recent study of the nation’s relationships found that we spend a lot more time with our bosses than with our mums (38% of those in employment see their boss every day compared to only 27% for mums) and that nearly half (47%) of people with children under five (and who are in a couple relationship) never or rarely engage in outside interests with their partner, compared to 27% without children.
But taking the time to reconnect with loved ones doesn’t have to mean completely rearranging your schedule. Sometimes it’s the smallest gestures that count.
With that in mind, why not get up at the same time as usual on Sunday and try out any of the following?
- Call someone to say ‘I love you’. Why not call somebody close to you like your mum, dad, grandma or son or daughter and
Beyond a minimum threshold of poverty, having more things doesn’t make people happier. But in a society driven by consumption, it can be hard to realize this truth.
Living a less materialistic lifestyle doesn’t mean becoming a monk and abstaining from all of life’s pleasures. It means shifting your focus away from possessions so they become less important by comparison.
Materialism Fills a Void
Owning things becomes important when you have an internal void. When your internal world is deprived it is only natural to want to fill it with external things. Unfortunately, this is like filling a sieve with sand. The sand may fit in the sieve temporarily, but it will soon sift through the holes, leaving you empty again.
What do you fill that internal void with? Here are a few aspects that fill the void better than possessions:
- Passionate Work
- Service to Others
- Personal Challenges
At the core of all these things is your philosophy towards life and understanding of the world you live in. You can be rich, but you can’t be wealthy unless your life philosophy and internal world are healthy.
Ending materialism doesn’t mean forsaking all your possessions. Ridding yourself of everything you own would only prove you are still too preoccupied
Good-quality couple, family and social relationships are a key public policy issue. They are fundamental to our health and wellbeing, to our ability to engage in education and work, to our life chances and resilience. Relationships are the cornerstone of a thriving economy and society.
Talk of ‘strengthening relationships’ or ‘supporting family life’ can sound a bit abstract; a kind of warm wishing without a clear programme for achieving this goal or a clear picture of what it would look like. The manifesto provides a clear set of achievable actions policy makers can take to help strengthen and improve the quality of our relationships:
- A cabinet-level Minister for Families and Relationships with a dedicated Whitehall department should be introduced.
- All frontline practitioners delivering public services should receive training about relationship support.
- All children and young people should have access to Relationships and Sex Education, which should be a compulsory part of the national curriculum and taught by experts such as relationship support organisations and specialist teachers.
- Family and Relationship Centres should be piloted and established in the UK, as has been done in Australia.
- Central government should launch a PS5 million “Strengthening Relationships Fund” to engage local authorities to develop and extend relationship support at the