Dating

Love and Respect in Relationships…Differences between Men and Women.

Posted on June 6, 2012. Filed under: Communication, Dating, Lifestyle, Relationship | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Back in 2006 I attended a workshop entitled Love and Respect in Relationships.  Although both are important for men and women, women feel cared for when loved and men feel cared for when they are respected.  These are some interesting tips that were a nice reminder for me in my own relationship and I thought my blog followers might also find them useful and interesting.  I am especially interested in hearing your thoughts or perspective on what you read about how men and women feel respected or lived.  Do you find it accurate for you as a women or as a man?
As your partner/wife I feel loved when…
Closeness:  I feel closeness with you (face to face and heart to heart) when you:
  • hold my hand
  • hug me
  • are affectionate without sexual intentions
Openness: I feel an openness with you (you are not secretly mad) when you:
  • share your feelings
  • tell me about your day and challenges
  • talk without harshness, guardedness or grunting
Understanding:  I feel you understand me (empathize with me) when you:
  • listen to me (know when to give advice and when not to solve my problems)
  • repeat back what I sometimes say so I know your listening to me
  • express appreciation for my contribution and roles by saying, “I couldn’t do your job.”
Peacemaking:  I feel at peace with you (issues are resolved) when you:
  • admit you are wrong and appologize by saying “I am sorry” which is a turn on to a woman
  • keep the relationship up to date, resolve the unresolved, and don’t say “forget it.”
  • add humor and lightness to the conflict, pray or connect after a hurtful time
Loyalty: I feel loyalty from you (complete commitment) when you:
  • don’t look at other women
  • speak only positive things about me before family and friends, not airing of dirty laundry
  • to be faithful and committed to me, not threatening to leave or abandon
Esteem:  I feel esteemed by you (treasured above others) when you:
  • verbalize support and honor me in front of others
  • praise me for who I am and what I do
  • value my opinion, me as a person, and my heart even if it is different from yours.
As your partner/husband I feel respected when…
Conquest:  I feel you are appreciating my pursuits in my field (my desire to work and achieve) when you:
  • tell me “thanks” for going to work everyday
  • cheer my successes whether in business or in sport
  • ask me to talk about my dreams in business and sport and encourage me to live out my dreams
Hierarchy:  I feel you’re appreciating my position as overseer (my desire to protect and provide and even die for you) when you:
  • say to me “I really do look up to you for feeling responsible for me.”
  • tell me that you are deeply touched by the thoughts that “I’d die for you.”
  • praising my commitment to provide and my contributions
Authority:  I feel you’re appreciating my power on your behalf (my desire to be strong, to lead and make decisions) when you:
  • tell me I’m strong
  • praise my good decisions
  • honor my authority in front of others and differ with me in private
Insight:  I feel you’re appreciating my perspective and proposals (my desire to analyze and counsel) when you:
  • thank me for my advice and knowledge
  • let me fix things and applaud my solution orientation
  • tell me up-front your need “an ear” to listen and not a solution
Relationship:  I feel you’re valuing my partnership and pastimes (my desire for a shoulder-to-shoulder friendship) when you:
  • tell me you like me and are friendly
  • do recreational activities with me or watch me do them
  • encourage alone time for me; this energizes me to re-connect with you later
Sexuality: I feel you are appreciating my passions and pleasures (my deisre for sexual intimacy) when you:
  • initiate periodically
  • respond more often positively
  • let me acknowledge my sexual temptations without shaming me or me feeling shamed

For more information on how to cultivate your own relationship and enhance the love and respect you feel in your own relationship, you can contact me at True Potential Counseling to schedule an appointment.

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5 Tips To Changing Impulsive Behaviors

Posted on March 17, 2012. Filed under: Dating, Health, Lifestyle, Men, Relationship, Women | Tags: , , , , |

There are a variety of problematic and impulsive behaviors that exist: 1) explosive anger or rage, 2) binging and purging, 3) excessive drinking, smoking or using drugs, 4) gambling, 5) workaholism, 6) self-harming or violent gestures, 7) reckless sexual escapades, and 8) infidelity…just to name a few.  These behaviors may have become so automatic or habitual, you have little insight or awareness about the thoughts, feelings, body sensations, triggers and vulnerabilities that are involved in your impulsive or problematic behavior.

In my years of clinical practice, a common theme mentioned by my clients is feeling disconnected from themselves both leading up to the impulsive behavior and especially when they are at the peak of emotional intensity; the insight and regret only kicks in after the damage has already been done.  The tools in this post will not only help you gain better insight about your problematic behavior, but also help you replace old behaviors with skills and effective behaviors that leave you feeling empowered and satisfied.

1.  Identify Your Behavior and Triggers- Start by identifying the behavior or urge that you would like to address.  Next brainstorm triggers that lead you to the behavior.  Triggers may include: people, places, situations, smells, events and times just to name a few.  Take some time to journal and list your major triggers that prompt you to eventually act impulsively.

2.  Reduce Your Vulnerabilities- Although there are various types of vulnerabilities that lay the groundwork for problematic behaviors, the basic vulnerability factors are being (H)ungry, (A)ngry, (L)onely, or (T)ired.  A helpful anachronism is HALT (a.k.a. STOP).  You can be used it to remind you to address these issues by taking proactive steps towards decreasing or eliminating these vulnerability factors.

3.  List The Consequences Of The Problem Behavior- Next list both the positive consequences that reinforce the behavior and the negative consequences of the problematic behavior.

4.  Skills Used and Required- Journal the skills you have already used and the additional skills that would be important for you to develop to help you utilize alternative strategies to the problematic behavior.  Some skills include: mindfulness, emotion regulation skills, distress tolerance skills, thought regulation, interpersonal effectiveness skills, relaxation techniques, self-esteem development, assertiveness skills, etc.

5.  Behavior Analysis In Chronological Order-  This is the last and most important step.  It is recommended you give yourself 20-30 minutes to do this exercise so you can really become conscientiously aware of all the details involved in your behavioral cycle.

To begin choose a specific and recent example in which the problematic behavior occurred.  On a piece of paper write the problematic behavior at the top of the page and then draw a line vertically down the middle of the page.

On the left side of the page you will write write down in chronological order every (T)hought, (F)eeling, (E)vent, (BS) Body Sensations and (B)ehaviors leading up to the problematic behavior, during the problematic behavior and post-behavior.  You want this play-by-play to be as detailed as possible so you truly get a full snapshot of all the internal and external aspects that are involved in your impulsive behavior.

After you have completed the actual chain of events on the left hand side of the page, you will then write on the right hand side alternative thoughts, skills, tools, coping mechanisms, and effective behaviors you could incorporate the next time some of these similar thoughts, feelings, body sensations, behaviors and events occur.

For example, if you tend to have problems with anger your behavior analysis may look something like this…

(E) I woke up late                         Practice Time Management Skills

(B) I was rushing                           Take time to relax and meditate 5 min.

(BS) My heart was racing               Breathing exercise

(BS) Shortness of breath

(T) “I am so irresponsible”              “I am learning & will plan better.”

(E) mad, irritable, anxious                Image a happy or calm place in my mind

(B) don’t eat breakfast and leave      Prepare a healthy snack the night before

(BS) tension in my shoulders

(E) stuck in traffic

(BS) tight fists                              Progressive muscle relaxation

(T) “People are so rude”              State the facts to become objective

(E) rage, anger                              Opposite emotion exercise

(B) Yell explosively as someone   Journal about what is upsetting me

(continue…)

If you found these suggestions helpful please comment below and share with fellow bloggers how these steps improved your outcome.  Or if you know of someone who would also benefit from reading this post please share this blog with them.  For more information on how to learn skills, you can join our upcoming Skills Training Group, by contacting True Potential Counseling.

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5 Tips to Getting Out of the Relationship Rutt

Posted on January 28, 2012. Filed under: Communication, Dating, Relationship | Tags: , , |

Do you feel like you and your partner have gotten into the same old pattern? Do your daily interactions lack variety and flavor? It is often said that couples who play together stay together. And sharing common interests with your partner is a great way to keep you engaged and entertained in your relationship. These 5 tips can help you add some spice and fun back into your relationship.

1. Get physically active. Whether it is going on a bike ride or going on a day trip to a nearby town or city, getting physically active is a great way to change the routine and dynamics in your relationship. Plus getting some exercise reduces your level of stress, improves your mood and alters serotonin levels.

2. Getting Playful and Creative. Maintaining your youthful spirit and childlike nature can keep things light in your relationship. Some suggestions include: having friends over for a game night, being silly and humorous with one another, or getting playful and creative in the bedroom. These activities allow you to have fun with each other and grow closer together, rather than becoming bored and feeling disconnected from the one you love.

3. Being a Life-long Learner. Take a class together and learn something new. Whether it is taking a dance class, signing up for a cooking lesson or going to an interesting seminar or workshop being mentally engaged with your partner can add vitality to the relationship. Plus it can add some variety to your general topics of conversation.

4. Be Spontaneous and Try Something New. Use your imagination and brainstorm together various activities you would each like to try. Then create a list of places you would like to go (i.e. restaurants, cities, etc.). Then randomly select an event or place each week and have some fun.

5. Have a Date Night Once A Week. Often times when there are children involved, a couples time becomes limited and become impatient with their partner. In order to curb this potential challenge and create some boundaries, it is recommended to establish a weekly date night for the couple to reconnect and add some romance to the relationship. Hiring a babysitter or asking friends and family to give you a night off will allow you to nurture your partner and rekindle the spark on a weekly basis.

For more information on how to improve your relationship visit my website at http://www.truepotentialcounseling.com/go/contact/

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Let’s Move In Together!?

Posted on March 15, 2011. Filed under: Communication, Dating, Marriage, Men, Women | Tags: , , , |

Moving in with your significant other can either be a rude awakening or a harmonious experience.  Often times when the couple moves in together the relationship is put to the test and both people are able to see how each other operates on a daily basis.  Potential similarities or differences may become apparent in the following areas: cleanliness and household tasks, daily schedules, lifestyle preferences, substance use, diet, exercise, energy level, temperament, communication (or lack thereof) about issues that impact both partners, desired frequency of sex, expenses, cultural or value differences to name a few.  During the dating phase both people may either be mesmerized by the allure of each other company or just in love with the idea of love that they forget to question their compatibility as a couple.  Before a couple decides to venture into the rental or real estate market together, it is advisable t to sit down over a cup of coffee together and cover these general topic questions.

  • What do you consider clean or dirty?  How often do you clean?  Rate your own level of cleanliness and the level of cleanliness of your partner now.  Compare your answers.  Then each write a list of potential household tasks.  Brainstorm how you will delegate responsibilities.
  • How many hours do you work? What does your sleep look like? Are you a morning person or a night person?  What time do you wake up during the week?  What time do you go to bed?  What time do you wake up and go to bed on the weekends?
  • How do you typically like to spend your time during the week?  During the weekends?
  • Do prefer to live in a city, the country or suburbs?  Are you willing to relocate if necessary?
  • What type of food do you typically eat? Do you eat at home? How often?  Do you eat out? How often? Do you drink alcohol or do drugs? How often? How much? Do you like to entertain/go out or do you prefer to stay in and be a homebody?
  • Rate the energy level of yourself and your partner.  Compare each others scores and discuss.
  • Rate each others temperament from easygoing to reactive.  Compare each others scores and discuss.  Give examples if necessary.
  • How much money do you currently spend a month?  Are you a saver or spender?  Discuss your current debts, assets, monthly budget, monthly expenses and monthly income.  Write a list of expenses and discuss how you as a couple will organize your finances. Discuss how often you would like to have a date night and vacations.  Decide if money will be communal or separate; if expenses will be split evenly or in proportion to each person’s income.
  • Have each partner rate their ideal frequency of sex or cuddle time.  Discuss personal sexual fantasies, emotional intimacy needs, etc.
  • Each partner will eflect on their family value blueprint by identifying 5 adjectives or phrases to describe the qualities that were valued in their family of origin. Secondly, each partner will discuss their perspective on the role of the opposite gender. For example:  A wife is responsible for or provides X to the family…(list 3) A husband is responsible for or provides X to the family…(list 3)).

By taking the time to do this with your partner, it will provide  each of you with a clearer understanding of your partner and allowing you to enter into this decision with eyes wide open.  Sometimes these topics may be more complex or require the assistance of a Marriage Counselor to help you get unstuck and get resolution in the relationship.  For more information visit my website at http://www.TruePotentialCounseling.com.

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Envisioning your Ideal Relationship and Life

Posted on March 6, 2011. Filed under: Break-ups, Dating, Marriage, Men, Relationship, Women | Tags: , , , , |

A vision is a picture from your soul and heart that guides you down the path in life and in love that you most desire. The more clear and concise we are the more attuned we are with what we want, feel and see ourselves doing in our relationships, careers and life circumstances, the more likely your dreams will manifest into reality.

If you are single, you may want to write a letter to your future mate and be as descriptive as possible as to the type of man or woman you want as your partner. If you are in partnership, write a letter about the qualities and characteristics you most admire in your mate and the qualities that you offer to the relationship. Then describe how you as a couple would move through those areas of challenge in a new way (please use the present tense as though it is already a reality today). Also shed light on the areas in which you would like to show up differently in the relationship and then describe how you envision yourself to be in the future.

Be creative and leave out any judgments towards self and your partner. Trust your vision. When the pathways seems dark, learn to be comfortable with these glimpses of light that guide you towards the vision for your relationship and your life. Sometimes these dark areas can be challenging to maneuver and the support and guidance from a professional may be necessary. If you need additional help please visit http://www.TruePotentialCounseling.com today.

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Patience with your Partner

Posted on February 24, 2011. Filed under: Dating, Marriage, Men, Relationship, Women | Tags: , , , |

Often times patience can run thin if you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed. The tension of everyday tasks, personal expectations and demands can be compounded when there is additional pressure or tension in your relationship with your significant other. In a relationship there are growing pains where each partner is adapting and growing accustomed to each others style, personal tempo and lifestyles. Sometimes if there is a difference in preferences and pace, as there always will be, a couple is faced with an important decision. Will I go to the extreme in my approach and prod my partner to adapt to me or will both partners move towards the middle and find a middle ground? Another important question to ask is, when is adapting ones own approach and perspective too much to compromise and when is it necessary to evolve as a person and as a couple? Often times the answer can be found in discovering ones internal inclinations and learning to accept yourself and your partner. For more information on how to explore this area of your relationship please visit http://www.TruePotentialCounseling.com

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Transforming Relationships

Posted on February 8, 2011. Filed under: Dating, Marriage, Men, Relationship, Women | Tags: , , , |

Many couples get stuck in the same communication patterns in their relationship and are either not aware or caught up in their own frustrations and pain that they are not open to hearing, understanding, or experiencing their partner in a new way. Often times we protect the vulnerable places in our heart and only show our frustrated, detached or defensive layer of ourselves. By going this route it may feel safer; however, in doing so we get further apart from our true essence, experience greater distance from our authentic feelings and needs and feel disconnected from that deeper connection with our partner that we desire. By facing this fear and having the courage to delve into these deeper places within our soul we discover ourselves and can be open to receiving the love, support and understanding from another human being.

For more information on how to begin this process you can visit http://www.TruePotentialCounseling.com

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Reconnecting with your Partner

Posted on January 25, 2011. Filed under: Dating, Love, Marriage, Men, Relationship, Women |

Sometime we get caught in the trap of self-defense, self-blame or judgement of our partner. Some helpful tips when either partner is caught in the trap of self protection or the blame game are:

1. Commit In Writing: A suggestion is for both partners to commit in writing to ending criticism and blame and recommitting each time that agreement is broken. In writing this contract is is recommended to avoid modifiers such as: better, more, greater, etc.
2. Blame Jar: create a blame jar and everytime either partner blames the other they are required to pay a fine and put money in the blame jar.
3. Humor and Encouragement: incorporate a sense of humor and remember to applaud and appreciate your partner through words of affirmation and encouragement
4. Growth: keep in mind that each partner may grow at a different rate in their awareness and that the couple does not required to evolve at the same rate. Remember that the relationship is big enough for you to be who you are and grow as an individual and still be connected to your parnter.
5. Flexibility: it is important for both people in the relationship to be flexible to different points of view and an openness to creative and personal growth.
6. Get Real Conversations: engaging in genuine, honest and healing conversations where you own and acknowledge your own contribution to the problem rather than avoiding them. You can do so by shifting from a blaming or self-blaming stance to an “I wonder how I can shift to create the shift I want in my relationship…”

For more information on how to create this shift in your relationship with your partner, please visit: http://www.TruePotentialCounseling.com

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Conscious Loving

Posted on January 11, 2011. Filed under: Dating, Marriage, Men, Relationship, Women | Tags: , , , , |

What blocks us from feeling and experiencing the full amount of our success in love, in our finances and in our career? According to Gay Hendricks, author and relationship specialist, we have an upper limit problem based on old programming. The upper limit problem is rooted in 4 main fears.

1) Fear that if we open up to our full success and potential, we will outshine others.
2) Fear that if we open up to our full success and potential, we are being disloyal to our roots.
3) Fear that if we open up to our full success and potential, we will be a burden to the world.
4) Fear that if we open up to our full success and potential, our fundamental flaws will be exposed to the world.

Often times we can hide from our own awareness of our own fears, discomfort and insecurities; however, when we are in a relationship these issues gets pulled up to the surface. Instead of shining our light on these aspects of ourselves, we can fall into the trap of blaming our partner, defending ourselves or a variety of other defense mechanisms. However, if we lean into the discomfort and explore these aspects of ourselves with curiosity, wonder and introspection we can deepen our awarenss of ourselves and become open to change.

For more information on how you and your partner can create change in your relationship, please visit http://www.TruePotentialCounseling.com. Photos provided by http://www.kellyandersonphotography.com/

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Let Go My Ego

Posted on January 6, 2011. Filed under: Dating, Health, Love, Relationship | Tags: , , , , , , |

It is clear that on most occasions our ego and pride can get the best of us.  In many occasions we can see this power struggle emerge either when a partner attempts to control or dominate the other person or there is a varying opinion or perspective on a particular issue or theme in the couple.  It can be especially difficult in those instances to let go of current or past hurts, dispose of any bitterness in our hearts and demonstrate humility and grace in order to move forward in the relationship.  Some helpful suggestions from Dr. Wayne Dyer are:

1) Let go of being offended– Being offended creates the same destructive energy that offended you in the first place and leads to conflict, resentment, restlessness and a guarded heart.

2) Let go of the need to win– Share your observations, feelings and needs with grace. love and respect while also seeking to understand your partner.  Regulate your own emotions when triggered and take a time out if you or your partner need to calm down. 

3) Let go of your need to be right-  I have seen people end some of the most beautiful relationships by sticking to their need to be right.  When you let go of your need to being right you reconnect to love your greatest source of power and inner strength.  A helpful question to ask yourself is, Do I want to be right or happy?

4)  Let go of your need to be superior– focus on your personal growth instead of exhausting your energy on changing or teaching your partner the “right” way to be, act or feel.  Use this situations as an opportunity to reflect and expand your ability to love and accept yourself and your partner.   However, if it is an abusive relationship the circumstances are much more complex; therefore, I suggest seeking additional support in therapy, friends, or support group.

5)  Let go of your need to have more- detach yourself from the need of having more and be grateful and satisfied with the blessings you currently have in your life and your relationship.    Otherwise, you will be constantly dissatisfied, never feel that you have enough and will be relentlessly striving for more to no avail.  By appreciating the abundance in your present situation you will be planting seeks of gratitude for a more fruitful future.

6)  Let go of your reputation- Other people’s opinion of you is none of your business.  Instead listen to your heart and live your life according to your inner voice.  Take responsibility for what does lie inside of you your character, your words, your actions and leave your reputation for others to debate.

7)  Let go of fear- Often times when in conflict with our partner, we either consciously or unconsciously, shield ourselves from hurt and protect our hearts.  This fear keeps us from simply being with and trusting our partner.  When we begin to see reality through our heart and not our heads, we open ourselves up to new power, new opportunities for growth, to greater harmony, love and joy in our lives.

For additional couple counseling needs visit www.TruePotentialCounseling.com

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