14 Myths About Couple Relationships

14-Myths-of-Couple-Relationships

The early stages of love come with the assumption that everything will always be good. As time passes, cynicism can develop which makes us jaded and causes tension within couple relationships. Here are 14 myths you might believe that could be harming your relationship.

  1. If we love each other, we should be happy at all times.

Once you get past the early puppy-love stages of a relationship, love is not rosy and perfect. In fact, it actually makes life more complicated because it pushes the focus onto another person and is not self-serving. This just goes to show that love does not equate with immediate gratification, and comes with both difficult and happy moments.

  1. We should be completely honest with each other at all times, regardless of the impact on our partners.

A healthy relationship is built on open communication and honesty, but over-sharing or divulging information in a way that harms your loved one is another issue all together. This is not a licence to lie to your partner, or keep fundamental information from them, but is a reminder to be mindful of your partner’s well being and consider this before talking to them just to get something off your chest.

  1. We should be together at all times and be unselfish with our time.

It doesn’t matter how much you love someone, spending 100% of your time together will do more harm to your relationship than good. A healthy couple relationship needs time set-aside solely for it, but both members of the partnership are still individuals and they need room and independence to celebrate this.

  1. We should agree on all issues to support each other.

If you see your partner behaving in a way that harms you, your loved ones or other people, and they are unwilling to change, you do not have to support them in this. You are allowed to speak to your partner when you have a disagreement and are not expected to share the same opinion on everything.

  1. If we have a problem, we must decide who is to blame.

Pushing the blame on to one another will result in a constant cycle of guilt and resentment. Instead of ‘figuring out’ who is at fault, choose to work together to find a resolution.

  1. We should know what the other is thinking, so we do not need to communicate.

Whether you’ve been together for a month or 50 years, you will never be able to read each other’s minds. If you need something, don’t assume your partner just knows, communicate this with them.

  1. Good relationships just happen and do not need to be worked at.

Every relationship goes through ups and downs. A healthy relationship requires a commitment from both sides to work at it for the benefit of each other.

  1. If we create joint activities we will be close forever.

Being together and participating in joint activities can be useful for a couple if they genuinely enjoy the activity and are taking other steps to build their relationships, but people change and so do their interests. Joint activities are less about being together, and more about making an intentional effort to connect with your partner. Be willing to alter how you spend time together as you both grow and change.

  1. We do not need friends or family as long as we have each other.

Don’t alienate your friends, family or colleagues in a bid to dedicate yourself to your loved one. Sure, you and your partner need each other, but this does not diminish the fact you both have other people in your lives that you value and trust. Continue to spend time with these people and it can help your own couple relationship to grow.

  1. Good relationships are quid pro quo

A healthy relationship is not an exchange of goods, services or time.  In fact, the best ones are often the most sacrificial and are built on a mutual respect for one another and are motivated by love.

  1. Avoiding conflict will ruin your relationship.

It doesn’t matter how much you love each other, you will not always agree with your partner, and that is okay. A healthy relationship is less about avoiding conflict, and rather about working through it together.

  1. Affairs are the root of divorce.

An affair doesn’t have to be the end of a relationship. With support, commitment and time, a relationship can be repaired and divorce may not occur. Divorce can occur due to a range of other issues not involving an extra person as well, which is why it remains important for a couple to consistently work on their relationship.

  1. Men are not built for monogamous relationships.

This is simply not true. Men and women are able to have a healthy, thriving relationship with one other person. A gender or sex stereotype does not give anyone permission to break the trust of such a relationship by becoming involved with another person at the same time.

  1. Men and women are from different planets.

Men and women think differently and can be motivated by different things, but we are not so unlike each other. Using this phrase alienates your loved one and causes tension. Choose to see your partner as your equal, and speak to them this way.

Do you believe any of these myths about your own couple relationship? Would you like the support of a professional to assist you in creating a healthy relationship with a significant other? Contact Watersedge on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. If you are ready to book an appointment, click BOOK ONLINE NOW and you will be taken to our online appointment calendar by following the prompts.

5 Questions to Ask a Loved One At Risk

5 Questions to Ask a Loved One At Risk

It can be scary to ask a loved one if they are at risk of suicide. There is a stigma within society that insists asking someone about suicide attempts, thoughts or plans will perpetuate the act of suicide—but this is simply not true. In fact, asking someone if they are struggling, and giving them the opportunity to share their pain with you, can actually alleviate the risk of the behaviour occurring.

If a friend or loved one has been acting uncharacteristically, either withdrawing from people or acting irrationally and stepping out in risk-taking behaviour, then you may need to ask them if they have thought about suicide. Other indicators they are thinking about it are unexplained injuries, death or self-harm related content being posted on their social media, increased substance abuse, previous suicidal thoughts or attempts and a sense of hopelessness.

Here are five questions that will help you assess the risk of a loved one carrying out the act of suicide.

1. Have you had any suicidal thoughts?

The presence of suicidal thoughts doesn’t mean a person will act on them—but it is still essential you know they are there. Suicidal thoughts will often perpetuate and can become more vivid as a person feels a greater sense of hopelessness.

Asking them this question doesn’t imply they want to suicide. Actually, finding out when the thoughts began and how prevalent they may be allows you to understand the weight of what your friend is experiencing.

2. Do you have a suicide plan?

Asking a loved one if they have a plan in place to carry out the act of suicide is essential. If they do have a plan to suicide, either a carefully constructed and well thought out plan, or a fleeting idea of what it would look like, you know they are high risk and immediate action needs to be taken to care for their wellbeing.

A person who has a set time and place for the act of suicide, and who has begun putting their affairs in order (writing letters, cancelling registrations etc.) is at extremely high risk of carrying out the act of suicide.

3. Do you have access to any weapons or means of suicide?

A person who has already acquired a weapon or means of suicide is at serious risk. Other people who know weapons or tools are available in their work place or at a friends or relatives place are also in danger.

If your loved one has access to a weapon, ask them how regularly this occurs, if they have considered how they would access it and the likelihood of this.

4. Have you felt like this before?

Understanding if your loved one has struggled with suicidal thoughts in the past will help you to support them and keep them alive.  Ask if they have attempted suicide in the past, or thought about it. See if they have previously harmed themselves, and if they’ve created a suicide plan in the past.

If this has occurred in the past, the risk for your loved one increases, but this does not mean they won’t be open to help.

5. Why have you chosen to stay alive?

Up to this point, your loved one has made the decision to stay alive. Irrespective of their struggles, they have chosen to remain. When people have suicidal thoughts, they resist them for any number of reasons: their love for family and friends, obligations, fear, the hope that things will change.

Take this reason and run with it. If a person is afraid of dying, they don’t want to die—they are likely exhausted and don’t know how to fight anymore. If family or friends is their motivation, remind them of the profound love they experience and the future events and moments they want to witness. If obligations are keeping someone alive, ask them what these mean and how they affect the people near them.

If a loved one answers yes to one or more of these questions, they need further help. Please call 000 or 911 in an emergency. If they are experiencing thoughts of suicide, or you are concerned for their wellbeing, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.  For crisis hotlines in other countries, visit Hope Movement’s International database here.

Your G.P. and/or a Professional Counsellor can give you the additional support you need. Visit Hope Movement to find support near you. For a FREE 10 minute consultation as to how we can help you, ring Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 or you can book an appointment press Book Now to book in our online diary.

Six Facts About Separation

Six-Facts-About-Separation

In an article for Geelong Surf Coast Living magazine, Colleen was interviewed about the impact separation has on the family, and, in particular, children.  You can read Lynda Taylor’s article ‘Separation Anxiety’ now by picking up a copy of the autumn edition at a local coffee shop.

Here are six valuable facts about separation anxiety in families that we can learn from the article:

  1. Children cope better when they see a counsellor

Irrespective of a child’s age, they will feel the pull between both parents and can struggle to work through their emotions. Allowing your child to see a counsellor will help them with this. As the article says, “working with a counsellor provides a safe neutral environment where [a child can] vent”. A counsellor will teach your child strategies to deal with anger, anxiety and conflict.

  1. Parents must be united

Any issues that caused a relationship to break down must be put on the back burner by parents in order to care for their children. Relationships Australia says parents should provide a “composed, united and reassuring” front. This means it’s important for parents to keep the same boundaries in place for their child, and should always speak about one another with respect.

  1. Children react according to their parent’s emotions

Are you angry, confused and indignant about your ex? If you express this to your child, they will take on similar emotions. Colleen points out that if parents are upset, children are often bewildered, confused and despondent. They will also blame themselves for the situation.

  1. Be honest

How you speak to your child about the separation will depend on their age. Always be honest, but explain the situation in a way they will understand. An older child or the first-born will often take the burden of the separation, and what you share will change according to this.

  1. There are different ways to talk about separation

When Colleen is counselling a client whose parents have separated, she will use different methods depending on the child’s age, understanding and interests. An ‘anger thermometer’ is useful for younger children to explain how they feel. Play therapy is a narrative based approach that is also useful for children of various ages, and helps them to explain the family system.

  1. Take care of yourself

While your children are a priority throughout a separation, you also need to take care of yourself. Take ‘me time’ and give yourself the space and time to reflect and heal. Make sure you spend time with like-minded and supportive friends, and don’t be afraid to have fun. As Beth*, the client in the article says, “I found when I was better, my son was better.” When you take care of yourself, you help your children to heal as well.

*Name changed for privacy purposes

Are you going through a separation? Do you want to protect your children through this transition? Here’s what you need to do: Contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

 

5 Tips for Healthy Relationships Online

5-Tips-for-Healthy-Relationships-Online

Social media and the Internet are great tools— we get our work done quicker when we use it, and are able to stay connected and have relationships with the people around us. That being said, the perks of online relationships can come with significant cons. We can lose our privacy, take honesty for granted, become passive-aggressive, and even lose out on ‘real’ relationships if we use the Internet the wrong way.

Here are five ways you can facilitate healthy relationships online.

  1. Don’t overshare

A social media post is not the place to share your deepest, darkest fears. It is also not the place to seek self-gratification or talk about the miniscule details of your day. A good friend will be there for you to navigate the heavy parts of life, and to chat about the mundane, like what you had for dinner. Don’t share it with the world—it harms your privacy and can damage your real relationships.

  1. Think before you post

Before you press send on that message, hit ‘like’ or publish a blog, think about the consequences of your post. How will people read them? Can they be taken out of context? Will you go on to regret this?

While you may have good intentions, things we do or don’t say online can have repercussions that we can’t always control. Think about the possible outcomes before you post, not just for your own wellbeing and that of your loved ones, but also how the general public and the media may perceive your words. Will it hurt other people, even unintentionally? If you’re not sure, save it as a draft and ask for a second opinion.

  1. Prioritise face-to-face relationships

It’s not always possible to catch up with friends —this is one of the reasons social media is so useful. However, technology should never be a substitute for real contact. Make time to have a coffee with a loved one, and ask a person how the day is going, even if you just liked their latest Facebook post.

If you can’t physically see a friend, opt for private messages, emails, phone calls or video calls. There’s a real person on the other side of the screen who loves and cares for you—don’t do yourself the disservice of forgetting this.

  1. Consider your motivation

Just as we can have unhealthy relationships in real life, we can also cultivate this online when we speak, post or even ‘like’ something for the wrong reasons. Are you looking for acceptance, gratification, or are you trying to ‘impress’ someone? Perhaps you’ve had a bad day and want to vent, or maybe you want someone to say sorry, so you call them out on social media.

When we facilitate our relationships online from an unhealthy place, we do more damage to ourselves than other people. Stop. Think. Don’t press send. Instead, go and have a real conversation with said person, or seek counselling.

  1. Be selective

Just because the whole world is online, doesn’t mean you have to interact with everyone on it. Remember, a friend request is optional. You don’t have to respond to every message, like every picture or Tweet every day. Don’t let your online relationships steal away your precious time and wellbeing.

Get in the habit of assessing the pros and cons of your online relationships. If there are more cons than pros, perhaps it’s time to take a sabbatical from Facebook or shut down social media for a while. Remember, you are in control, and you have every right to be selective in who you interact with, and what, when and where you do this.

Do you struggle to maintain healthy relationships online? Would you like to strengthen your relationships with loved-ones? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

The Impact of Separation on Children – A Case Study

The-Impact-of-Separation-on-Children

Heather* knew her son’s life would change drastically when she and her husband went through a separation. In this case study shared** with Colleen and published in the autumn edition of Living Magazine, Heather talks about the impact separation had on her child, and the strategies we can use to protect children through this difficult time.

I will never forget the look on our son’s face when we told him we were separating—the disappointment, hurt, bottom lip quivering and the tears. Both Dad and I sat down with our son and explained that we were going to go our separate ways. Our son was left feeling shocked, angry, anxious, hurt and scared.

This came out in many ways—through words, emotions, behavioural issues and separation anxiety. Our priority as parents was to make the best of a bad situation. We worked through the issues as best we could and came across many hurdles on both sides through a conflict in beliefs, personality, strategies and parenting styles, and this affected our judgement in working through some of the issues. Through the conflicts, it came down to the bottom line of ‘It is a child’s right to see a parent, not a parent’s right to see a child.’ This assisted us in focusing on the child’s needs and what was best for our son.

Things that helped were reading stories and brochures around separation, providing an explanation of why we as parents had separated, putting no blame on our son and making sure he understood that it was not his fault.

Through counselling we were made aware that we had to be careful of what we said. Words can easily be interpreted wrongly in a young child’s mind. For example “I moved into another bedroom to be closer to you could be read as “It’s all my fault”. It is also important to never put the other parent down or speak harshly of them to the child.

Play therapy, using toys and colouring-in, provided opportunities within the safe environment of the counsellor’s room, for our son to give expression to how he was feeling. Teaching him strategies such as the use of a visual thermometer to identify the level of anger he was feeling at any given time and ways to help the anger to dissipate gave him a sense of feeling more in control and allowed him to settle.

Children need lots of attention, affection and must know that their world is still safe. Lessons learnt from my experience—don’t move out of the family home—this just adds to the change and routine breakdown. It would be beneficial for the main care giver to remain in the family home. Children need to feel safe in their environment and even more so after a separation. There’s already a lot going on without them having to re-adjust to a new home. It also puts more blame on the parent moving out.

Try and make the rules/boundaries the same at both households, ensure they have their own things —toys, clothes, etc. at both houses. Allow extended families to visit them at both houses—this assists in their new normal. We found it beneficial to have a calendar to show what days will be spent where so there were no surprises and our son knew what was happening when. This will depend on the age of the child. We found that any small changes in routine caused a lot of confusion and anxiety and therefore tried to keep what we could the same. For example, Dad always did the pick-up and at the same time.

Sometimes children cannot express what they are feeling by using words, and this comes out in behavioural issues. In times like this we turned to books written by Tracey Moroney When I’m feeling angry, When I’m feeling scared and others in the collection. These were very beneficial as they were written in a way that children can relate to and understand. We also found the Kasey Chambers, Pappa Bill and the Little Hillbillies CD very beneficial, as it has songs and lyrics that were applicable but partly sung by children.

It’s important for any parent to take care of themselves. As a single parent, you are dealing with the challenge of your life being turned upside down and the feelings around failure and separation—but you now have the feelings of another person to address as number one to your own inner turmoil. It is important you get plenty of sleep, have some alone time when you can, social interaction when you need it and try and find a balance between closing yourself off to the world and being a part of it. You need time to yourself to reflect and feel your own emotions and grief caused by the separation, but it’s just as important to be around positive and like-minded people. I found that when I was better, my son was better.

We have been faced with many challenges and emotions throughout this journey and have learnt many lessons, some positive and some negative. We have decided to focus on the positive as we cannot change the past. Number one tip for any parent going through a separation—ensure that the child feels loved, safe and secure and this will make it easier for them to accept all other changes.

*Name changed for confidentiality reasons.
**This case study has been published with permission of the client.

Are you going through a separation? Do you want to protect your children through this transition? Here’s what you need to do: Contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

How Heal A Broken Heart

How-Heal-A-Broken-Heart

A broken heart cannot simply be ‘fixed’. There is no quick remedy, and the healing process can take any amount of time. In fact, the emotional trauma that comes with a relationship break down is akin to a broken body part. Just as we allow our arm to be set and cast in order for it to heal over time, we need to do the same with a broken heart.

So how do we heal a broken heart? There are short term solutions scattered all over the internet, and many good (and bad) remedies will also come from well meaning friends. The healing process will look different for everyone, but here are 7 methods that will help you through the process that can be adapted to fit your own needs.

  1. Let yourself feel

We have a tendency to run away from our emotions when we are in pain, and we try to dull them with substances, sex, activities or food. The first step towards healing is letting yourself feel; the good, the bad, the regret, the anger and the fear. Feel it all, cry, and acknowledge that these emotions are living inside of you. Don’t deny their existence, it will just make the process more difficult.

  1. Express your emotions

Don’t allow your feelings to fester inside of you, get them out by journaling, making music, creating art or finding a secluded place to yell and get your emotions out. There is no right or wrong way to do this, so choose a method that feels the most natural to you.

  1. Talk

A broken heart is perhaps the most private sort of pain, but it’s important you share this with someone. Catch up with a friend you trust, and talk over coffee. Be selective in who you share this time with—you don’t need advice, you just need support. Spend time with a good listener, someone who is happy to sit with you in silence. Invite them into your pain because this will help you heal.

  1. Limit your self-pity

It’s okay to have moments of self-pity, hiding away and indulging in ice cream—this is often your response to the shock of the event. But if you’re still in this place a couple of weeks post-breakup, you need to change things. Sure, life sucks right now. You are allowed to be miserable, but don’t let this ruin the good things ahead. Take small steps and re-enter the outside world. Go for a run, see a friend, take a walk by the beach. Start doing things that are good for your heart again.

  1. Exercise

Are you angry? Go to the gym and get out your frustration. Are you sad? Run until you have no more tears left. Are you hollow? Walk in the sunshine until you can feel its warmth on your skin. Just move and remind your body that it is alive, ready to feel and heal.

  1. Embrace the arts

You are not alone in your pain. Millions of people before you have written books, songs and movies about the experience, and in some way, their words and melodies will help you recover. Read a book about a fascinating person who has overcome great odds. Watch a movie that makes you happy and sad all at once. Listen to music that reminds you it is good to be alive. Art has a way of connecting with us on a deeper level than logic, and by embracing it you soothe your heart.

  1. See a counsellor

If you’re really struggling after a break up or have been in a long-term relationship, seeing a counsellor can help you through this difficult season. It’s not petty or silly to talk to a professional about these things—in fact; it’s essential to your health. Find a professional who will unpack the experience and help you to process what the future looks like. In time, things will get easier and you will be ready to love again.

Do you have a broken heart? Are you afraid you’ll never find love again? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

How Movie Therapy Can Save Your Relationship

Movie Therapy

Can watching a romantic movie with your partner potentially save your marriage? That was the question that motivated Professor Ron Rogge, a Clinical Psychologist at the University of Rochester, to pursue research about the effectiveness of ‘movie therapy’. The results were published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Ron had observed that in America, 50% of marriages end in divorce, and he wanted to find an effective and relatively cost free solution to this troubling and rapidly escalating statistic. He went about his task by recruiting 174 engaged or newly married couples who he found attending bridal showers in the Los Angeles area. The couples were randomly assigned to one of three categories:

  1. No treatment
  2. Movie intervention
  3. Marriage preparation classes in a workshop situation focusing on a couple’s relationship skills

The couples were followed for three years.

Now before you go home and tell your partner that all you need to do to fix your relationship is watch a romantic movie together, there were some requirements that participants in this category were expected to follow. Having picked 5 movies from the suggestions provided, each couple were expected to watch the movie with a particular focus on the following questions:

  • What main problems did this couple face?
  • Are any of these problems similar to the problems you have faced?
  • How did the couple handle arguments or difference of opinion?
  • How did the couple in the movie handle their hurt feelings?

It turned out that the Movie Therapy was equally effective as the Marriage Preparation classes, and over the period of three years, the divorce rate for these 2 groups of couples was halved.

As I said, it is not the movie in itself that was effective for many of these couples, but the conversations that ensued from it. These movies sparked conversations between couples because they could identity with the characters portrayed, observe and reflect upon how their strategies were beneficial or otherwise to the relationship. By using these key questions, couples were able to have an intentional dialogue around issues that frequently trip us up in our relationships.

If you would like to use Movie Therapy to enhance or repair your relationship, here are a few suggestions:

  • Couple’s Retreat
  • Four Christmases
  • Terms of Endearment
  • When a Man Loves a Woman
  • Funny Girls
  • Two for the Road
  • Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • Your, Mine and Ours

If none of these inspire you, there are plenty more movies about relationships out there. For instance ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ shows a fighting couple and is also a great action movie. We would love to hear your suggestions to add to our list—just comment below.

By the way, you will notice that I didn’t mention how the ‘no treatment’ fared. Predictably when we do nothing to nurture and support our relationships, it will only survive at best and at its worst, it will end in divorce.

Are you have relationship issues? Do you want to strengthen your marriage? Here’s what you need to do: Contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

How to Speak the Same Love Language as Your Partner

How-to-Speak-the-Same-Love-Language-as-Your-Partner_BANNER

Have you ever done the dishes for your significant other, only to have them shrug it off and complain that you never see each other? Or perhaps your spouse constantly craves physical affection, when you’d much rather sit down and just talk? In these circumstances, it can often feel like you speak a different language to your partner. Couple relationships can hang by a thread, because both people feel misunderstood and under-valued by one another.

Would you like to get on the same page? Understand what language your partner speaks when it comes to love? Then this infographic by Tommie Media on the 5 Love Languages can help you out. Based on the premise that every human gives and receives love in five different ways, the primary way you show affection may be drastically different you’re your partner.

Follow the graph below to find out how you best receive and recognise love. It could be Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Quality Time or Gifts. Ask your partner to do it to, and you will find out how to best express love to each other. For instance, you may be a gifts person, but they may crave physical touch. So, instead of buying them gifts to show affection, you are now able to show them physical affection and strengthen your relationship of a deeper level. Knowing each other’s Love Language will revolutionise your relationship and help you to reconnect. So go ahead, and see what your Love Language is!

How-to-Speak-the-Same-Love-Language-as-Your-Partner_INFOGRAPHIC

Would you like to get on the same page and understand what language your partner speaks when it comes to love? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

Check Out This Great New Website for the LBGTI Community

LBGTI

It can be difficult to find specific and compassionate advice for the LBGTI (Lesbian, Bi, Gay, Trans, Intersex) community, especially around drugs, alcohol and sex. If you’re a part of it, the difficulty of finding a comprehensive and understanding resource is very real. And if you have a friend or a family member who needs support, finding them a great website, let alone a counsellor who can help them out, can be as difficult as moving a mountain. The good news is that this last week VAC just launched the terrific website Touchbase, which is completely dedicated to informing and supporting LBGTI people of all ages. We’re really excited about Touchbase at Watersedge, and wanted to share some details about it with you.

ALCOHOL AND DRUGS

With details about drugs ranging from alcohol to Viagra and GHB, Touchbase gives you comprehensive coverage of what substances contain, how they affect you in the moment, and the long-term consequences of their use. Giving some insight to safe use of substances, and how to avoid mixing them, it also details how use of each substance affects people living with HIV.

MENTAL HEALTH

People who are LBGTI are at a higher risk of suicide (Beyond Blue), so the need for specific and honest details around mental health for this community is fundamentally needed. On Touchbase, you are given details ranging from the affects of drugs on the brain, coping strategies to take care of yourself if you’re feeling ‘shaky’ and how to find help and support.

SEXUAL HEALTH

While we often shy away from it, the sexual health of anyone is integral to a person’s overall health and wellbeing. Touchbase is straight up in addressing these issues, tackling HIV, STD’s, the facts around safe sex, risk prevention and how sex and drugs mix.

PRACTICAL ADVICE

Aside from informing you with details about substances, mental health and sex, Touchbase also provides you with a ‘Toolkit’ so you can implement them in your everyday life. We’re talking self-assessments to measure your substance use, tools to help you party safely, details about treatment, and how to reduce use of alcohol and drugs. This is a great section when you need to take another step and actively practice self care in your own life, or want to help a friend out.

STORIES

While this area of Touchbase is still in development, the opportunity to share your own story with the LBGTI community is available so other people can be inspired by your honesty and journey. Once this area is developed, you will also be able to find stories on there from like-minded teens and adults. Not only is this a healing tool for both the storytellers and readers, it is also integral in the overall wellbeing of the LBGTI community, minimising isolation and raising awareness.

Are you a member of the LBGTI community, in a same sex relationship, or want to support a friend seeking help? Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how she can best help you, or press book now to book on the online diary.

5 Steps to Great Communication With Your Partner

5 Steps to Great Communication With Your Partner

We often hear that communication can make or break a relationship, but if we’re really honest, communication isn’t always that easy. In fact, it can be down right difficult when you consider that we often communicate ineffectively, or work with our partner in unhealthy ways to get what we want.

If you’re stuck and ‘sitting down and talking about it’ is doing more damage than good, then these 5 steps will show you how to approach your partner so that you both come out of a situation feeling validated and understood.

  1. Actively listen to them

This is not just a principle listed in relationship how-to guides that are designed to make your partner feel guilty for their lack of listening skills. A key aspect of any communication is the ability to listen to each other; not just sitting and drifting in and out of consciousness as they ramble, and not simply humouring your partner as they list off their complaints and expectations.

Active listening means you need to engage with your partner’s conversation, maintaining eye contact and showing physical signs that you are actually interested in what they are saying. You won’t always agree with your spouse, and sometimes you won’t understand them- but the principle stays the same. By engaging in active listening you are showing your partner that they are valued, and this is a cornerstone for any healthy relationship.

  1. Use ‘I’ statements

Let’s be clear, you are responsible for your own feelings and emotional responses. That means that no matter how your partner speaks or behaves, they are not the causation of your own anger or frustration. Your feelings are always warranted and valid, but blaming your partner for them is not.

When you communicate your frustrations with your partner, try rephrasing the statement, “You made me feel angry when you did this,” with, “When you did this, I felt angry.” This frames the conversation so both of you are on equal footing, and neither of you feel like the villain.

  1.  Ask open- ended questions

If your partner is not opening up, or you struggle to make conversation, ask open- ended questions that allow them to elaborate. For instance, instead of saying, “You seemed angry when you got home from work,” you can rephrase this to, “Tell me about work today,” and “How did you feel when you got home from work?”

Open-ended questions take away your assumptions, and give your partner the opportunity to share in a safe and non-judgmental environment.  Using them is far more effective than coming out with blatant statements or questions that cause a conversation to escalate, or speaking out so strongly that your partner shuts down in response.

  1. Passive aggressive tendencies have to go

We’ve all be in the position where we simply expect our loved one to behave in a certain way, or become frustrated when they don’t give us the validation we want. Passive aggressive tendencies come out when we imply feelings, try to pressure our partner into doing something without asking, seek to make them feel guilty, or act in a certain way without explanation.

Irrespective of how justified you feel in your emotions and expectations, your passive aggressive tendencies have to go. Bin them, and make your questions and expectations clear to your partner verbally. If you need them to do something, don’t just sit there and stew- ask! A healthy relationship does not run on guilt and frustration, it functions based on mutual understanding and an appreciation for the feelings of the other person. 

  1. Keep your communication ‘safe’

Both you and your partner need to know that any communication you have is safe, and will not be misconstrued, shared, or taken advantage of.  As you go to communicate with your partner, you need to work through any assumptions of guilt and throw away a ‘victim’ mentality. You need to be willing to share your own thoughts and feelings openly and honestly, and allow your partner to do the same

As you exit a conversation, both of you need to protect what you have just discussed. Avoid gossip, and never talk about your partner negatively to others. Remember- conflict stays off social media! Don’t air your dirty laundry for the world to see. If you are still frustrated, sit down and talk about it again. And if your relationship still has unresolved issues, see a couple’s counsellor so your conversation is mediated. Protect your relationship diligently, and fight for it by making sure your partner knows conversations and experiences are safe with you.

Do you struggle to communicate effectively in your couple relationship? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.