Several years ago, we attended a wonderful workshop by Dr. Pat Sheehan all about emotional intimacy.
At the event, she shared with us an assessment she created to help couples identify what is standing in the way of bringing our fully vulnerable, available, and openhearted selves to one another.
With her permission, we’ve since been using this assessment tool with clients regularly, and it’s terrific.
We find that nearly everyone has one or more of these 5 fears, and it can be really illuminating to identify. They show up, not only in our romantic partnership, but in other relationships too.
In this month’s blog, we go over the 5 most common fears and then some quick tips for transforming what stands between you.
The 5 Fears of Closeness and Intimacy
(* These 5 fears were identified by Dr. … Read More.
Whether it’s where to live, whether or not to have a(nother) kid, where to go to eat, or whether or not to bring a pet into the house, it can be a painful experience when your beloved shoots down your idea, says “no” to what you really want, or simply doesn’t share your excitement about something.
It can also feel confusing and bring up big questions about your relationship:
Does this mean we aren’t compatible?
Will we have to break-up in order to both get our needs met?
Do I have to choose between what feels right in my heart and my partner?
If you can relate to the pain and confusion of wanting something different from your beloved, we’re hopeful these 3 key tips will give you guidance and bring some relief. … Read More.
Can you relate to some of the things couples regularly come into our office telling us:
- I feel like I’ve fallen out of love. I love and care about my partner, but I’m not in love.
- Our passion has faded, and I wish we could get that spark back.
- I just don’t feel sexy anymore.
- I don’t feel attracted to my beloved anymore.
When you first met, passion may have come readily and taken little effort (and if the sparks didn’t fly from the get-go, this month’s blog will be very helpful for you too!). It was probably an inspiring, enlivening, and really fun time of your life.
Months or years later, perhaps you see your sweetheart differently — more like a best friend, a housemate, or a co-parent. … Read More.
Have you ever been in close proximity to your beloved but felt miles apart? You may sleep in the same bed, share meals, and watch TV in the same room, but when it comes to feeling emotionally connected, there is a wall between you.
It can be so painful to stand next to the very person who used to feel like your best friend and wonder where they went and if you’ll find each other again.
In all of our work with couples and in our own relationship, we’ve found 3 things to be more essential than any other when it comes to melting the barriers between you, opening your hearts, and finding one another again.
(1) BE WITH EACH OTHER IN YOUR UPSET
We realize it’s not the most appealing thing to listen to your beloved complain about something you’ve done or to hear them express their frustration and disappointment, especially when it involves you. … Read More.
Have you ever had this experience — the feedback or request you want most of all for your beloved to hear from you is actually the hardest for them to listen to and receive?
And then it’s painful, frustrating, discouraging, or infuriating when they don’t listen. You feel unheard, misunderstood, invalidated, ignored, or rejected. You get quieter, shut down from your beloved, and disconnect; or you get louder, more demanding, controlling, and expressive.
You wonder what it will take for them to finally listen. You know you make sense, and you hunger for them to hear you. If they would just listen, things would be so much easier.
Here’s part of the challenge: the more important something is to you, the more emotionally-charged it tends to be, and the more emotionally-charged it is, the more you probably trigger (unconsciously and unintentionally) fear and threat responses in your mate. … Read More.
The goal in a thriving relationship isn’t to never experience conflict again or to be your best self every second of the day. Given you are human beings with unique perspectives, wants, and needs, this would be unrealistic! :)
Instead, it’s about how to repair after a challenging moment has occurred – whether you took your stress out on your beloved, got defensive, raised your voice, were being critical, gave the silent treatment, made a mistake, or simply weren’t being your best selves, individually or together.
Knowing how to repair after these moments can make the difference between bringing you closer together or building further resentment and disconnect. It can also prevent future conflict so that the need for repair becomes less and less!
Here are 7 tips for things we recommend including in every repair! … Read More.
We just returned home from an amazing family trip over our son’s fall break (he’s a sophomore now at Arizona State University!). We’re so fortunate to enjoy a deeply connected and joyous relationship with him, and what we’ve learned about relationships has made an enormous difference in making this possible. We are profoundly grateful.
We know that parenting can be one of the top conflict areas in a lot of relationships: conflict over who’s more strict or lenient, the things you allow them to do (or think they shouldn’t be able to do), how much time you spend with them (or don’t spend with them), how you talk to them, and so on.
Every week in our office, we see loving and caring parents with the most wonderful intentions who feel confused and exhausted when they don’t see the results they are wanting, and it adds significant stress to their lives and relationship. … Read More.
Most humans are hardwired to scan for what isn’t right, what needs to be fixed, and what could be better. In fact, it’s part of our survival wiring to look for perceived “threats” to our physical and emotional well-being.
There are places in life where this could be handy (like if you work in quality control or are scanning something for safety hazards). However, in your relationship, it’s definitely something to train yourself out of.
And, fortunately, thanks to neuroplasticity and the power of choice and self-awareness, it’s something you can absolutely shift!
Otherwise, what ends up happening in relationships (when you scan for what’s wrong) is that you are more likely to get the opposite of what you’re really looking for. In fact, you end up training your beloved to not do the very thing you want. … Read More.