Archive for boundaries

A New Year – a New Relationship

Many of us start the New Year with various resolutions ranging from the need to eat healthier, stop drinking, commit to more exercise etc. Let’s spare a thought to starting 2017 by thinking about making resolutions in our relationships that will help make them more loving and fulfilling.

Here is my A-Z of how to enhance your relationship in 2017 and bring about change.

A is for Accessibility
Take note how available and accessible you are for each other. Can you access your partner’s presence, support and attention when you need it?

B is for Boundaries
Ensure there are clear boundaries between how you divide your time between work, children, family commitments and your partner.

C is for Caring
Take time to think about how you show care to your partner. Is it how they wish to be cared for?

D is for Dance
Relationships are like dances. We often get stuck playing the same music and dancing the same steps. Understanding and validating the feelings of our partners, meeting their attachment needs, changes the music. As the music
changes, so does our dance.

E is for Emotions
Emotionally Focused Therapy helps couples tune into their own important feelings and needs and then helps to put those needs and feelings across to a partner helping to create more closeness and security.

F is for Fun
Relationships can often loose their sense of fun that you used to have at the beginning of a relationship. Discuss together how to bring back the fun you once enjoyed.

G is for Glamour
Lounging around in a tracksuit and pj’s is Ok at times but don’t forget to step up the glamour sometimes and put on the lippy and heels!

H is for Happiness
Having a smile on our faces, and sharing laughter together brings happiness to a couple relationship

I is for Intimacy
By making time to talk, discuss and play together, intimacy helps build feelings of safety and security and knowing that your partner is there for you.

J is for Joy
Often partners get bogged down with complaining about each other and forget about the feelings of joy they once had. Discuss what would bring joy back into the relationship

K is for Kindle
Think about different ideas and things you can do that would rekindle a relationship that may be stuck

L is for LOVE
When we communicate with our partners we should:
LISTEN with an
OPEN mind
VALIDATE and acknowledge each other
EXPRESS our thoughts and feelings, slowly and simply

M is for MOMENTS
Be more mindful of the little inconsequential moments that happen every day which are taken for granted. We can feel a lot closer when we feel our partners have noticed.

N is for NOURISHMENT
Think of ways to nourish your relationship – it may be as simple as going down the road for a coffee or arranging a surprise.

O is for OPENNESS
Don’t hold onto resentments and negativity. Find a way of being more open about how you feel in a gentle sensitive manner

P is for PASSION
Couples find happiness through intimacy, passion and commitment. Keeping passion alive in a long-term relationship is not always easy but giving each other more time and energy and thinking outside the box is often a way forward

Q is for QUICK FIX
There is no pill for a quick fix of your relationship. Relationships need time and effort to make them the best they can possibly be and only you can figure out what that is.

R is for REFLECT
To be able to self reflect on our own behaviours and emotions rather than criticise and blame another is crucial to building a stronger more connected relationship.

S is for SHARING
Spending more time sharing thoughts, feelings and ideas makes partners feel listened to and validated

T is for TIME OUT
There are times in all relationships when feelings can get out of control. Taking time out away from each other in a calm measured way, gives us time to calm down and reflect and control our own behaviour.

U is for UNDERWEAR
Taking time to go shopping together for new underwear can help couples connect more intimately and sexually

V is for VALIDATION
Instead of responding with a knee jerk defensive reaction, it’s important that we make an effort to validate what our partner says as its important to them. This helps to make them feel respected and listened to, even if your view is different to theirs.

W is for WITHDRAW
It’s easy for couples to get into negative patterns of behaviour where 1 partner is the pursuer and the other closes down and withdraws. By identifying these patterns of behaviour partners can start to understand each other’s feelings better and make changes in their behaviour.

X is for X-RATED
Where is sex on your priority list? Are you making enough time for a good sexual connection, or is it way down the list of your priorities? “Emotional connection creates great sex and great sex creates deeper emotional connection”

Y is for YOGA
Yoga teaches true mindfulness – living in the present moment. Yoga can be a great stress reliever and certain positions improve flexibility and increase blood flow. For a closer sexual connection with your partner practise yoga positions together. Breathing, and moving together can be great foreplay.

Z is for …….Zzzzzzz
Turn off the computer, ipads and phones. Go to bed together, in a restful, calm manner and see what a difference a good nights sleep brings to your relationship.

 
Dawn Kaffel

Online Relationships Vs The Couple

Losing closeness
The act of connecting on social media of all kinds is really quite narcissistic. It’s about ‘ME’ – my popularity, my selfies, my adeptness at games, my rating on twitter.
In a close couple we have to learn to give, to listen and sometimes allow quietness into the relationship.
Intimacy can only come through a feeling of real connectedness and feeling special.
Digital life has its place, but not when it feels as if it has replaced the significant other in the couple relationship.
Sometimes it can feel like a battle for attention when a partner wants more time and complains that a screen appears to be more enticing than spending time focused on each other.
Keep those links on the outside and don’t allow them to become a dangerous distraction.

Why can’t we allow ourselves to sometimes feel lonely?
The impulse is to avoid this at all costs and an easy solution is to rely on social media where there are countless potential friends with whom to engage.
We can link with others through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. to find friends and like-minded mates or colleagues. We can get an instant fix for our isolation and be part of a limitless community. We can collect ‘friends’ but then too easily lose a sense of real closeness so that now we no longer need to feel isolated.
Why then is being connected to this apparently enabling group of others such a source of frustration in couples therapy?
It can be hard, sometimes, to distinguish between meaningful relationships in the real world and casual connections that make a useful shield to reinforce our anxiety about our actual place in society.

Change your habits
There will always be jobs to do online, and sociable linking – some of which is a response to chores and duty, some of which is fun and playful. But there need to be boundaries.

• Agree to have a date night, preferably weekly in which there is an allowed time (not more than 45 minutes) to catch up on work/family/domestic issues. After that the conversation has to revolve around the two of you.
• At least three nights a week, try to go to bed at the same time. Intimacy is not just about sex, but engaging fully with each other. Don’t use the excuse of a late night TV show or a compulsive game to avoid this closeness.
• Screens should be turned off at least one hour before lights out. We need time to have a digi-detox regularly.

We have all witnessed the sad picture of two people at a restaurant table, each glued to their small screen, temporarily oblivious to their companion.
Don’t let your social media connections fill up the spaces that should be kept for your partner.

Christina Fraser

Tips for New Parents

While the birth of the Royal baby has brought much attention in the media to the Royal couple, they are of course new parents going through many of the joys and struggles that all new parents experience.  Having a baby is wonderful but getting through the early months can be a testing time for any couple.

  • Sleep deprivation makes you tired, irritable and less tolerant. Be kind to each other. Be realistic about what can be achieved in those first few months.
  • Keep talking to your partner.  Be open about your experiences both the pleasures and the pain.  Don’t be afraid to be honest about any conflicting feelings.
  • Support each other to give your partner some time off.  Try to do something that will revitalise you – whether that is catching up on some sleep, taking some exercise or meeting a friend for coffee or a drink and don’t judge what each other does with their time out.
  • Have clear boundaries with family and friends.  Ask for help when you need it but don’t be afraid to say no when prolonged visiting becomes too much.  Remember you are the parents now, take advice but make your own decisions.
  • Stay connected to your partner.  Create time for yourselves as a couple, time to talk and time to reconnect through sex when that can be resumed.   In the meantime hugs and cuddles are important.
  • Remember no one gets it right all of the time.