HOW HEALTHY IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP DYNAMIC?

HOW HEALTHY IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP DYNAMIC?

You have been in a relationship for a while however the way you are communicating with each other is not healthy or positive and you know it. And the reason is more than likely the relationship dynamic that has developed. Let me explain.

The dynamic is the mental attitude and behaviour you exhibit towards your partner. Take for example you have developed a mental idea that your partner is basically lazy, never gets around to organizing important matters and if it was not for you the whole financial and social world you live in would collapse.

This now is your established way of thinking about your partner and you organize everything to the point of becoming a control freak. Meanwhile your partner has become so used to you organizing everything they are oblivious to how things get done. This oblivious behaviour now confirms the view that the partner is lazy and hopeless at organizing anything.

Bingo we now have a relationship dynamic that is not healthy or positive for growth. So what can you do to change a non-healthy dynamic? Well first it requires self-reflection and a good honest chat on why the dynamic is not working. The problem is the problem and neither of you is the problem, is a good place to start.

Knowing you are a control freak is one thing you will know about yourself. Getting upset and anxious when things do not work out as you scheduled is a strong sign. This feeling can be exhausting and cause depression or anxiety. What about stepping back and seeing what happens when you don’t over plan things? Spontaneity is a wonderful thing and events happen that are never imagined.

To change the dynamic each partner is going to have to be conscious of changing the mental dynamic and response behaviour daily. That means the control freak does not jump in and find the solution immediately to fix an issue and the other partner takes a more pro-active role in getting things done.

If you both can do this mental change in the relationship dynamic you will witness a reduction of tension, the removal of anxiety, a closeness (lost over time) and a spurt of curiosity for new ways of doing things.

It is always interesting to me to hear the perception of a person who is a control freak, seeing themselves as caring and looking after people rather than controlling. And the person being controlled perceives himself or herself as useless but wanting a bigger voice on what happens in the relationship world.

There are many different types of unhealthy relationship dynamics that develop such as non listening, being defensive, laptop and mobile phone addiction, excessive criticism, etc.

However with understanding and a good tune up, relationships can become healthier and more joyful with a change in the fundamental dynamic. How exciting!

Gerry North is a gay couple counsellor and also treats anxiety, depression, sexual matters and addictions. Email; gerrynorthcounsellor@gmail.com M 0411 368 142

 

 

COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN IN RELATIONSHIPS

COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN IN RELATIONSHIPS

Communication breakdown is one of the major issues couples say is the problem in their relationship. The love underneath is felt but a distance has been created where there seems little to say to each other and a sense of boredom has crept in. There are many causes of this that can be addressed with curiosity for “what else”.

Being Present

It is impossible to have good communication if either person is not fully present in the relationship. Having secrets is a major barrier to being present.

Mobile Phones & Laptops

We love them. We need them, as they are storage for things that are important in our lives – our second brain. When going out for dinner or just out, especially with him or her, try leaving them at home. At home when they come home close the computer for a while to chat about each other’s days. We know we are addicted to them because without them we feel, well, naked. When you feel that emotion, being without your phone/computer, know that it is your addiction speaking to you. Interesting!

Immersion

There is a lot or research on the negative aspects of immersion in relationships. That is doing everything together all the time. I know it feels safe to be with him or her but in doing so there is deep down compromise going on, with each person not having any new experiences. And without new experiences there is little to talk about. We don’t really have to do everything together. A separate holiday, a night our with separate friends, yoga class, tennis, book club, a movie – are things that can be done separate to your partner and the benefits are many. There is no need to feel threatened if you have trust in your relationship. You will enjoy it after the first felt emotions.

How is Our Relationship Going Chat

Asking and inviting the answer to the question, “How is our relationship going do you think?” is an excellent thing to do regularly. There are many assumptions made by us individually about our partner’s wellbeing. Inviting the answer to this question allows many things assumed to be discussed. We all want to hear, ‘Great’ but maybe there is a time to talk about sex, finance, domestic duty sharing, time spent with each other, etc.

Love Language

It is very easy to take each other for granted. They always come home, our domestic life is cozy and life is good, safe and predictable. Over time we tend to stop thanking our partners for that cup of tea, forget to organize a restaurant booking, buy theatre tickets, flowers, a card to say ‘I love you’ (or say it), text during the day, call each other by a loving nickname and generally thank them for being there with you.

Being Grateful

I’m sure you have heard about the benefits of sharing what you are grateful for before going to sleep. There you are in fresh sheets, feeling like giggling because you are so happy and cozy next to them and this is the perfect time to reel off 3 things you are grateful for in your life. Doing this is so bonding and it is so simple.

Having a sense of shared curiosity about doing things differently will open up communication between couples. Starting with, “How is our relationship going do you think?” is a great beginning.

 

INTIMACY AND SEX ARE NOT ALWAYS THE SAME

Gay couples come to see me to explain that the spark has gone as there is little sex in their relationship and now there are shared feelings of a lack of intimacy. This is despite living together, enjoying each others company, socializing together with friends and family, sharing loved pets, planning holidays together and having dreams about a place in the country one day. Intimacy is not only defined by how much sex is going on. Companionship is also undervalued intimacy.

Sex alone however does help to form intimate feelings, with the sharing of yummy brain chemicals but unfortunately that same brain will de-sex your partner over time as it searches for new experiences. And then the longer the sex gap the bigger the barrier to get back in the boat, or bath, becomes so to speak. There are very obvious, but often unacknowledged, obstacles that prevent sex happening.

TOO TIRED

Many of us work in busy and often stressful jobs, and commonly take work home with us at the end of the day. This can mean that the working day becomes incredibly long and at times seems endless. In these circumstances, there is no surprise that our sex life may not be getting the attention it deserves.

BEING PRESENT

You cannot be intimate if you are not present for each other. That might be spending too much time on individual computers at home, not listening properly to what your partner is saying, or forgetting to have diners out with just the two of you. You have to spend time together to be intimate.

COMMUNICATION

A lack of communication reduces a sense of intimacy in the relationship and reduces the desirability for sexual encounters. Telling each other what worries each other is so important. Discussing sex issues helps to break the ice but if there never seems a right time to talk about this place an entry on the diary, whiteboard or whatever to do so.

LIBIDO

If you are lucky you will have the same libido as your partner but this rarely is the case. Stress, bad sleeping or eating habits, lack of exercise and mental wellbeing affects libido. Paying attention to these aspects of health can lift personal libido. But nature will change your libido at various times of life. Talking about your libido with your partner should help them see it is not about rejection.

BEING CREATIVE

You know it is very possible to re-stoke the fire even if the flames will not rage as they once did. Set aside time to have a romantic evening with music, wine and some erotic images (porn is not a bad thing if not a compulsive habit). Change the way you have sex by having no expectations about orgasm and taking it slowly. Have a bath together. Lie in bed naked and talk with your legs on one another or sit of the couch with legs on each other. Discuss when you both met and what you liked about each other and still do now.

THE JAR

One game that has helped many clients start the ball rolling is the placing of a jar in the house. Place things you want discussed in the jar. Just a short note and then once a week, at a designated time, sit down and discuss them. Be creative and spend time with each other as you can’t be intimate without being present physically and mentally. When you communicate better by being present for each other that sex spark will more than likely sparkle again.

 

SINGLE AND GAY CAN BE TOUGH

SINGLE SELF-TALK

So you are single gay and you have really tried to find a hunky partner but now you have concluded it is never going to happen. It is very natural to commence the blame game and take the whole thing personally, beating your self up with thoughts like, “I am not interesting or sexy enough” or “I can pick them up but they don’t come back for more, so it must be me.”

No it is not you it is a case of pure statistics. Okay let us look at the facts. If you accept 10% of the male population is gay that excludes 90% of men. Of that 10% of gay men, half are in relationships leaving 5% and half of those do not want a relationship so that leaves 2.5%. So out of that 2.5% of the population your mission (should you decide to accept it) is to find someone that you really would like to share your life with.

MR RIGHT

Now say luck is on your side and finally there he is in his sexy underwear, appearing out of nowhere, bathed in golden sunshine on your very doorstep. (This is what normally happens – truly. I wouldn’t lie to you.) Now once you have snared that someone special please work on keeping him.

COUPLE CARE

It saddens me when gay couples split up without trying to find the answers to their relationship problems. It appears easy for some; to throw away essentially good relationships over problems that with healthy adult discussion can be worked out.

YOU ARE WANTED

Anyway back to the singles. Make sure you look after yourself mentally, as unlike heterosexual males you only have a small sample of the population to find your ideal partner. If you take not finding HIM too personally you are mentally going to bash yourself up and that is unattractive. There is someone out there that wants what you want, trust me.

HAVING POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH SELF

Looking after you means having a good relationship with you first. Get to know your loves of – music, film, theatre, books, art, work, exercise, cooking, travel, and enjoy time with family and friends. Having a positive emotional relationship with your self will make you feel better connected to the world. It will also make you more attractive to the very man you are looking for.

 

So maybe have a think about if what you are presently doing is helping you find the partner you want. Can you make life changes to improve your relationship with yourself by getting healthier, mentally and physically? Good luck and happy hunting!