Archive for relationships

A Spender or a Saver?

Learn to negotiate your money, the biggest pitfall in couple life

Forget the chores, the sex and even the in-laws, it is the unsolvable disagreements about money that research now shows to be the biggest source of serious difference leading to separation in couples. Interestingly, a recent YouGov survey puts problems with family finances at 26% of all difficulties. This comes ahead of understanding each other, physical relationships and household chores. So it’s well worth sorting this one out early in the relationship if it appears to overtake sex and the washing up.

Of course it’s not just about coinage – this just highlights deeper tensions, but exploring what is really at the heart of these rows can be vital in helping to save relationships.

Couples who come for counselling will often bring lists of perceived slights or grievances, but money is often not flagged up as an immediate problem. Yet it is pivotal as part of how we see ourselves and others. Money defines us, it can denote our place in society and will reflect to a large degree how others see us. Like it or not, It can influence how we dress, where we live and our perceived status in the world we inhabit.

Therapists dealing with couples will usually ask for a family tree to make better sense of each clients origins, influences and the relationship history that can shape future hopes and expectations.
Dig a little deeper and the way families deal with their assets can have a long lasting effect on their dependents.

We hear of parents or grandparents who made or lost a fortune. People who watched a hard working father lose his job, or get into debt. Clients who were raised by an alcoholic parent who spent recklessly on drink or drugs. Siblings who seemed favoured by ‘unfair’ levels of gifts or education. Bullying that appeared to be influenced by seemingly different lifestyles to classmates.
These are powerful messages absorbed in childhood and will have strong influences on how each of us decides to deal with our assets.
Money can be seen as security – a buffer against feared future calamities or it can signify a life enhancing conduit to fun and good things.

Spend or save? This can be where couples find it impossible to find a solution. Therapy can offer a safe place unpick the reasons behind these deeply ingrained beliefs. Arguments about money are not usually about money, they are about protecting hopes and dreams and can escalate horribly when people feel dismissed or not understood. We may define ‘value’ in many different ways and its vital to grasp what the other hears in this word. Couples need to dig beneath the obvious and try to understand the emotional content of what can seem a purely practical issue.
In the rosy glow of a new relationship, we often assume that we shall just mysteriously understand and be understood. Transparency around finances is an important foundation to any long term relationship.

It’s impossible to change the deeper messages that we all inherited from the way our families dealt with their own problems, but we can listen to each other with tolerance. The acceptance of what shaped the views of a partner who appears to see things fundamentally differently, can give insights that will lead to better understanding.
Sometimes, it’s not just about the money, but it is about what the money signifies. So discuss calmly with an open mind to find a better way.

Christina Fraser

Is giving up on marriage easier than working on it?

Over the past week I was lucky to attend two very different events that I found very interesting and which shared a common thread – the importance of resilience and survival.

The first was a strictly orthodox Jewish wedding where Rabbis from every sect and from all over the world were in attendance. One of the UK’s most eminent Rabbis was asked to address the bride and bridegroom under the wedding canopy. What was surprising was how he used this opportunity not to preach about Judaism and orthodoxy but focused on the very young couple in front of him and the importance of working on a marriage, of putting each other first, of showing each other how you love, care and show respect for each other every day for the rest of their lives. Without working on a marriage, he said, a long happy relationship is not guaranteed.

The second event was at Jewish Book week where Lady Rosa Lipworth and Dorit Oliver-Wolff were in discussion with the author Anne Sebba. Here were two women who as very young children endured intense pain and loss of their families during the Holocaust to survive against all odds through their incredible bravery and fortitude. They never gave up hope and today they inspire others with the resilience that kept them alive.

Today we are living in very uncertain times and I have wondered for some time how these feelings of unease and disquiet impacts on our couple relationships.
.

Is it a mere coincidence that for some time now many more couples are coming to counselling wanting to give up on their marriages without really trying to understand or work on their relationships?

When couples struggle to live together in any meaningful way they often present with very negative feelings towards each other. They get caught up in patterns of behaviour that leave them feeling very emotionally disconnected and pretty lost and alone in a marriage. Resentments run very high and often become the shopping list for incompatibility.

For some couples the growing apart has taken years, for other it’s very sudden. By the time couples come to seek help from a Coupleworks counsellor, they are often so disconnected that it does feel easier to bail out rather than make the decision to really work on their relationship.

We are living in a quick fix world and some clients give up very easily, believing life will be different with someone else. Some clients meet at a very young age and years later are unable to manage the loss of the life they could have had before marriage. Others feel marriage makes them feel old and after 40 or 50 years of marriage yearn for something different before its too late. Loss of intimacy and sex is often another excuse to exit.
Whatever the reasons – we seem to find it much easier to work on our jobs and achieve success in our careers than we do in working on our marriages to stay strong and resilient together through the difficult times. Sometimes couples never had the experience of seeing their parents really work through difficulties.

So before you give up and walk out of a relationship because you have fallen out of love and feel so detached and disconnected from your partner, take some time to talk to a Coupleworks counsellor who will help make sense of the emotional distress that entangles many couples. Emotional Focused Therapy helps us to understand how to be more open and attuned and responsive to our partners and re-establish an emotional connection to grow together as a team. This takes hard work, strength and resilience.

Letting Go by Dorit Oliver-Wolff

The urge to live life in the fast lane
Has become an obsession with me
If only I knew how to let go
Let go of the past
Let go of the pain
Let go of others
Let go of me
Just drifting in weightlessness
In no man’s land
Without gravity
To pull me in either direction
Just drifting
With nature and myself
In unity with the omnipotent force
Where time stops
And the endless loop
Of eternal continuity
Takes away the fear of entering one’s time
Of the inevitable end

 
Dawn Kaffel

Tips for surviving Christmas

The mince pies have been in the shops for months, the war of Christmas adverts has begun and soon we will be in full swing. But Christmas comes with mixed emotions for many, the pressure of presents, food and family. For couples with young children there is the excitement and anticipation of nativity plays, Father Christmas and the like. Whilst at the other end of the scale there may be questions about who spends Christmas with you or who you spend Christmas with. And then there is the fact that many millions of people will be very lonely this Christmas. One of the things we notice at Coupleworks is the increase in enquiries that we get after the Christmas break. The reality is that these 10 days put pressure on relationships.

So here are some ideas of how to survive the run up to Christmas.

1. Talk to each other about expectations of how the holiday period will go especially when you come from family backgrounds that celebrate it very differently.
2. LISTEN to what your partner says and take it seriously.
3. Identify key pressure points and make a plan of how to prepare for them.
4. Make sure that you are doing some nice things for yourself and that it’s not all about what you will be doing for others.
5. Be realistic about what you expect and hope for from having more time together.
6. Don’t feel that you are personally responsible for making it ‘the best Christmas ever’ – others have their roles to play as well – and remember it is ok for it to be ‘good enough’.
7. Be aware that reducing your inhibitions through alcohol can be a mixed blessing.

So – plan your campaign carefully and you could find that it builds relationships rather than damaging them.

Sarah Fletcher

How to Cope when your Ex Moves on to a New Relationship

The American sitcom, Modern Family, makes separation and divorce look easy. The characters seamlessly move from one relationship to another, and the actors all appear to accept the ever-moving changes without seemingly registering any of them. Perhaps the clue here is the ‘the actors’. In real life, it’s not that simple!

I was speaking to a client about his ex-wife being in a new relationship. He told me how difficult it has been to see her so happy. What bothered him was her apparent ease at moving on and his fear was that she would have a new family and wipe out all the years they’d spent together. Feelings of anger at the way she finished their relationship quickly surfaced and he was left wounded and bruised by the whole experience.

When couple’s split up, there are endless issues to contend with. These range from the practical to the deeper emotions that surface – sooner or later. Many people find, that after the dust has settled and they finally feel more confident and secure within themselves that when their partners move on to new relationships, difficult feelings start to emerge all over again – sometimes far stronger than after the initial break-up.

When our partner moves into a new relationship, this is when we begin to feel that we’ve been left behind, and the narrative begins: “I will always be alone, and I hate him/her/ them”. When we focus on these thoughts, we forget to feel what’s really going on for us. Learning to stay with hurt and loss is how we heal and how we can then build our inner resources to let go and move forward.

At Coupleworks, we work with clients to try and normalise thoughts of loss and the difficult feelings that come with the end of a relationship. We work with clients to teach them that it is permissible to accept feelings that come up without judgment. It’s a process that takes time but, in my experience, clients do find their way out of the dark and start to make sense of the loss of the relationship and start to accept that their partner has moved on and so will they.

Tips on how to let go of relationships:

1. Allow yourself to feel whatever feelings that come up. These feelings can range from profound sadness to intense anger towards your partner.
2. Talk to people you trust: friends, parents or a therapist.
3. Go to couple’s therapy for a few sessions to put closure to the relationship and clarify any unresolved issues that might still be going on between the two of you.
4. Be kind to yourself and remind yourself that you won’t always feel the way you do now. There is a future.
5. Remember that your relationship was meaningful at one time, just because it’s over doesn’t mean it was a waste of time.
6. There is no time limit to how long it takes to get over a relationship.

Shirlee Kay

Competition and Compassion

The discussion of testing even very young school children has been topical recently. We are also nearing the summer GCSE and A’Level exam period – and concepts of success and failure abound. It seems we live in a competitive world. We set up value systems where we rigidly grade, compare and measure our own and others’ worth. What do we understand by ‘successful’? How much money do I have? How thin am I? What promotion have I achieved at work? How many friends do I have on Facebook?

 
Counsellors in Coupleworks often see clients overwhelmed by the pressure to succeed. The bar is set high and the focus is on achieving fixed goals. People can get caught in a loop of the ‘must-do’ and ‘having-to-do’, to the extent that lives are exhausting and can lack balance. Problems can occur when things do not quite work out to plan and people can become judgementally self-focused and develop a harsh inner voice. They become their own worst critics with their sense of self-worth and self-esteem becoming increasingly fragile. Unhappy couples, too, often come into counselling when they get stuck in a negative, critical loop of relating.

 
The media sells visions of glossy perfection and we all hold an idea of a ‘good’ relationship. Couples can fear their relationship may be broken when it is not meeting these standards. When expectations are challenged, when a partner has a different style or opinion, it can feel frighteningly disappointing and a hostile, attacking pattern of interaction can emerge. Even the sexual relationship becomes ‘performance’ orientated and be judged ‘not-good-enough’.

 
Often a couple can become competitive about who feels the most abandoned, not cared for, not listened to, the most taken for granted. They keep count of the slights and the hurts until the loved partner becomes the one most resented. Compassion is driven underground.

 
In therapy, considering what a ‘good-enough’ relationship might be, can relax things to such an extent that concern and generosity can flourish. Creating a supportive, caring relationship means building empathy. It means the appreciation of each other as flawed, quirky, unique, and lovably different. The couple can then revel in feelings of being accepted, valued and safe.

 
The psychologist Paul Gilbert, founder of Compassion Focused Therapy, says that ‘Getting unstuck is re-examining your values, recognising that your relationships are the most important things to help you feel happy’, and proposes that the secret of success is the ability to understand that mistakes and failure are not a catastrophe. As Nelson Mandela said, ‘I never lose. I either succeed or I learn.’ In order to manage our feelings of anxiety and vulnerability we need to explore and comprehend the dread. What really is the worst? Can we think laterally, more flexibly, and change and adapt? Gilbert compares it to judo where, in order to do well, we have to learn how to fall and roll with the punches. We, and our relationships, are often more special, valuable and resilient than we thought.

 
Kathy Rees

A question of communication.

When I was watching the ‘A word’ on TV the other night I was struck by one particular interchange. As it happened it had nothing to do with autism but it did have a great deal to do with communication (or rather, non-communication). The mother of the young boy appeared to be asking for her brother-in-law’s opinion on whether they should get a second opinion about her son’s condition. But she wasn’t actually asking, as he was quick to point out – rather she was telling him what she had already decided but wanted his affirmation of her decision.

All of which set me thinking. How often do all of us seem to be asking something when in fact we are just using the form of a question to tell a person what we have decided in any case. Most of the time that doesn’t cause much of a problem between couples but at other times it can result in irritation – or worse.

Here at Coupleworks we know very well how important good communication is for any partnership. And really good communication requires each person to be open about what they are saying and to give the space to their partner to agree or disagree with them.

‘Where shall we go this Christmas? Your family or mine?’ Can be a genuinely open ended question, or it may be said in such a way that only one answer is, in effect, being allowed. If that sort of non-question continues time and again then the net result will be to make a person feel that they are being treated as though their opinion does not matter, and that they are being continuously belittled.

So what is the answer?

1. Learn to ask genuine questions.
2. If you have a preference then be open and honest about it. Check with yourself whether you are really asking for an opinion or whether you are hoping that your partner will agree with you.
3. Listen to your partner and encourage them to be honest too.
4. Don’t be afraid of disagreement or difference – such things lie at the centre of any healthy relationship.
5. When you catch yourself asking a non-question (or when it’s pointed out that that’s what you are doing) don’t be afraid to acknowledge it- and to laugh at yourself.

Clear, honest and accurate communication is essential to healthy relationships.

Sarah Fletcher

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

New Year’s Resolutions for Couples

Recently I was talking to a primary school teacher about the New Year’s resolutions their pupils were making. Along with the more predictable ones about being more helpful at home and keeping their bedroom tidy, one of them said ‘My resolution for 2016 is to ride my bicycle without stabilisers’. Of course the teacher encouraged her to do just that, and I am sure that will be an achievement before too long.

But what, I wonder, is the equivalent in terms of our relationships? And here the exact opposite is just the case. At the start of every New Year we at Coupleworks get a stream of new clients all saying that the Christmas period has been particularly stressful or that they have resolved to really try to do something about the parts of their relationship which aren’t working.

Talking a bit further with them it all too often emerges that they have been trying to run their relationship ‘without stabilisers’ – without the very things that nurture and support all relationships. Leave them out and sadly and inevitably, love grows cold and can even die.

So these are my 5 top tips for nurturing your relationship as we enter 2016. There is nothing particularly new or innovative about them – it’s just that these are some of the things, which help people to flourish together.

1. Make time to be together – 2015 may have seen your family changing shape. Or one of you may have got a new job with increasing demands, or it may be that your present job requires more to be done with fewer resources. Whatever the case resolve to have more time to be together – put some dates in the diary to do something fun, go out for a meal or take a walk in the park.

 
2. Make some plans and make sure that you are sharing some common goals. Don’t assume that your partner wants the same things as you both did five years ago. Talk about your aims in life and what you are looking forward to – find out where they are different and where they overlap and you can share them together.

 
3. Talk about what makes you feel closer to each other. This can be different for different people. For some they feel closer when having sex, for others it is sharing an activity together or talking through emotional experiences. Respect and accommodate those differences.

 
4. Think about the things you value and respect about your partner and focus on these rather than the things that irritate and annoy you.

 
5. Remember to show your appreciation of your partner to them from time to time. It is all too easy to get dragged down into the humdrum of life and take each other for granted. We all flourish in an environment in which we experience love and affection rather than indifference or negativity.

Let 2016 be a year in which your relationship grows and flourishes.

 

Sarah Fletcher

Technology and Humans.

For many years I have been struck by the similarities between technical frustrations and difficulties which can arise in a couple.

If we look at the comparison of a computer’s hard drive and a human’s unconscious, we can see an example:  If you put the wrong software into an incompatible computer it will act out by throwing up windows full of incomprehensible jargon and probably shut itself down.

This is similar to pressing the wrong button in your partner and igniting an inexplicable reaction, far outweighing the nature of the trigger.  The human may well shut down and become an alien to the offender, just as a computer does.

With a couple, various scenarios may occur.  Anger, hurt, detachment, withdrawal from intimacy and a rift, hopefully temporary between the bemused offender and the withdrawn or furious reactor.

What follows with a computer shut down is further frustration, anquish and stress when ringing a call centre operative for help. This person, who within a brief of 10 questions and answers, tries to help. Temperatures rise, solutions don’t help and in the end a supervisor is found who helps to calm things down and get the computer working again.

With human breakdown in communication there is a similarity.  A number of accusations and denials, familiar to the couple, are hurled to and fro till in the end one or the other suggests that a couple counsellor needs to be found.  The result often being that things are calmed down and a different way of managing these communication breakdowns is found.

Technology and human interaction are, of course, not the same thing at all but technological hard and software both need human insertion in order to work,  thus it is not surprising that reactions in both cases are similar.  Coupleworks can help with human misunderstandings when couples have tried everyway known to them without success.  In the same way a supervisor has to be sent for as a solution to the computer break down.

Rapidly developing technology requires change  A sketchy knowledge of a multitude of different professions is now a necessary feature of couple and family life.  Travel agent, flight booker, medical knowledge and decisions about personal health, banking, user names and passwords crowding a human brain along with daily life.

Coupleworks listens to couples and treats their dilemmas with respect. Together they try to unravel the difficulties encountered in their individual stories.

Clare Ireland

Is This the End of the Relationship?

I was reading about Jon Stewart’s decision to quit the Daily Show, the American satirical news program that he has hosted for 16 years. It struck me that he could’ve been talking about the end of a relationship. He said: “It’s not like I thought the show wasn’t working any more, or that I didn’t know how to do it. It was more, Yup, it’s working, but I’m not getting the same satisfaction. These things are cyclical. You have moments of dissatisfaction, and then you come out of it and it’s OK. But the cycles become longer and maybe more entrenched, and that’s when you realise, OK, I’m on the back side of it now.” Read More →

Easter – a rebirth and resurrection of the couple relationship

Regardless of what your religious beliefs are, Easter can be seen as analogy for our relationships. Easter is the most important festival in the Christian calendar. Easter Sunday is the day that Jesus was said to come back to life after being crucified. At Easter, Christians remember the ‘Holy Week’. It also marks the end of Lent, the traditional time of fasting in the Christian calendar.

 
At Coupleworks, we see Easter as symbolising the ‘rebirth of the couple relationship’:
Reflecting on the ‘rebirth’ of our relationships is one way of rediscovering what it was that we were drawn to in our partner and the strong connections we felt when we first met. Taking the time to reach out and spend time with the people we love over the Easter holiday allows us to reestablish contact and remind one another that our relationship is meaningful and valuable.

 
The Resurrection of the Couple Relationship:
Whether our relationship have been fractured and bruised through reactive behavior or neglected, Easter provides the opportunity to let go of hard feelings, past hurt and other difficulties most relationships accumulate. Talking things through and learning to forgive one another and ourselves allows us to see the ‘new’ relationship emerge. This requires us to learn to take responsibility for our behavior and begin to understand the impact we have on one another.

Couple therapy is one way to explore and work through issues that get in the way of finding the love and care from one another that we need as human beings. Easter is about resurrection and redemption that can be seen as heralding a new era between people. Love and generosity is a Christian
teaching but whatever religion we are it most definitely serves our relationships well (and an enormous chocolate egg doesn’t hurt either).

Shirlee Kay

Couple counselling – the dilemma of that dress

So what did you see in the viral phenomenon of that dress? For you was it blue and black or white and gold? Well I still don’t begin to understand why it was different for some people from others. I’ll leave the neuroscientists to puzzle that one out. And what is even more mysterious to me was that at one stage I saw it as blue and black – and then, just a few minutes later, as white and gold.

And now I see the Salvation Army are building on the theme to highlight the important issue of domestic violence. Dressing a female model in a white and gold version of the dress they ask the question why most people’s eyes focus on her glamour and not on the fact that her face and her legs are covered with black and blue bruises.

Couple counselling is a forum for each member of a couple to bring their different perceptions of their relationship. Very often at the start of counselling each one is trying to convince the other that their version of the issues is the ‘true’ one, and they are determined that they are right. As a therapist my role is not to be judge and jury as to which one is ‘right’, but to help the couple accept that they see things differently. One partner may be seeing blue and black whilst the other is seeing white and gold.

When each partner can begin to accept that the other has a different view and experience, and they can allow themselves to be inquisitive and curious, then something shifts in their interaction. That’s the point at which things become less polarised and the couple can begin to find a way through their difficulties. Learning to believe that your own perception isn’t the only one on offer can be transformative.

Blue and black or white and gold? – we all need to find a space in our relationships to recognise both realities.

Sarah Fletcher

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 2015 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 2015 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