Archive for Independent


I often see trends emerging when working with clients. I ask myself if it’s just a coincidence or whether I am subconsciously moving my clients towards certain subjects that I’m interested in. (I certainly hope not!).

Last week I noticed that several of my clients were talking about their discomfort with feeling dependent on their partners. This got me thinking about what it means to be dependent on another person; how it makes us feel when we do and how we can learn about ourselves when these feelings come up.

One client I was speaking to said that she always ends up feeling insecure and diminished whenever she feels vulnerable with her husband. She convinced herself that her husband was unemotionally available and wouldn’t accept her neediness. Because of the narrative she created, she pushed herself hard and cut off from her feelings, believing that her husband didn’t care about her. She started to notice this had been a pattern throughout her life, and that she had never allowed others to offer her the support she truly needed.

We are dependent from the minute we come into this world. We rely on our caretakers to care of us and keep us safe. So it’s no wonder, even when we become adults, that we strive to feel safe and cared for. Yet, somewhere along the way, we are told (or tell ourselves) that being dependent isn’t a good thing; it makes us weak and we should independent. This narrative has become distorted. We cease to understand that, as humans, we are all interdependent; we all rely on one another and that (most importantly) we become stronger, not weaker by allowing our loved ones and friends to embrace us when we need it.

If we are able to learn and appreciate that when we sometimes need help it doesn’t need to translate into neediness, we can begin to normalize our thoughts and be more comfortable with asking.

Shirlee Kay

Valentine’s Day

The unthinkable has happened. The Independent, launched with such high hopes 30 years ago, will close its printed edition at the end of next month. I can remember the excitement and optimism that surrounded its launch, with circulation rising after three years to 421,000. More recently that has shrunk to less than 30,000 copies sold each day.

But like the story of some relationships, what has transpired did not happen suddenly. Rather like those niggly waves that nibble away at the back of a sandcastle leading to its final demise, so a gradual downhill path – whether for a newspaper or a relationship – can signal the destruction of even the most hoped for partnership.

Valentine’s Day is upon us – with all the hype and commercialisation that goes with that. For some couples particularly at the start of a relationship, it can be a time of excitement and the anticipation of good things to come. But for others it has something of a hollow ring to it.

Of course relationships change. Hopefully they deepen and mature but they inevitably lose some of that initial sense of excitement and passion as partners get to know each other better than they did in those early years. But how sad it is when couples stop trying to make each other feel special and all the sparkle and great hopes of five, ten or even thirty years ago fade away. Valentine’s Day can then leave people with a sense of being let down when life has not turned out as they would have hoped and planned.

At Coupleworks we do not know how to run a national newspaper but we do spend out lives working with people to try to help them improve the quality of their relationships. There aren’t any quick fixes but quite often a few fairly simple things can breathe new life into them when each person takes time to understand themselves and their partners.

Flowers, cards, chocolates and meals for two don’t have to be just a Valentine’s Day treat. Take time regularly to make your partner feel special. Talk with them about what helps them to feel loved and cared for – what makes a difference to them. It might not be what you think it is and the important thing is to listen, not to judge, and then to act on what you have heard.

Not every day will be a Valentine’s Day but both of you can work together to improve the quality of a relationship that you used to celebrate each 14 February. If not, why not make an appointment to come and see us.

Sarah Fletcher