Category: Healthy Relationships
3 Action Steps to Boost Your Happiness in Relationships
Our culture bombards us with messages about how to find happiness in relationships. Media show smiling parents, laughing children, and romantic partners basking in the glow of love.
Here are 3 science-based concepts about happiness and relationships. They can help you move toward more meaningful connections in your life.
- Get to know your attachment style
- Explore how to nurture affection
- Develop self-compassion
1) Get to know your attachment style.
We know that parent-child relationships have a huge impact on how we learn to relate. Research on attachment styles explains a lot about why people approach relationships the way they do.
A basic definition of attachment is a deep emotional connection with another person for protection and comfort. An attachment bond can span space and time.
Infants naturally seek someone to attach to for safety and soothing. So do adults.
Based on that first relationship, we learn we can either 1) feel secure, 2) avoid closeness, 3) reject … Come Read the Rest
11 Important Signs Of Trust In a Relationship
You could say a close relationship depends on trust.
To feel close, you need to open your inner world — your thoughts and feelings — to another person. You have to trust your partner to care about how you feel and to respond.
As you find your partner cares about you and treats you kindly, you can risk being vulnerable. If you can’t trust your partner to respond to your needs and your relationship well, it’s hard to make love last.
Trust deepens each time a partner makes the other feel seen and accepted. Each time two people turn toward each other emotionally, trust recharges. One person says, in some way, “I need you,” and the other responds, “I’m here.”
Trust can fade too. The more couples emotionally tune out and turn away, the more they risk draining the power of trust from their love, until its strength runs out.
“My guess is that if you do nothing to make things get better in your marriage but do not do anything wrong, the … Come Read the Rest
How Eye Contact Can Make You Feel Loved — Or Not
Eye contact in relationships has a huge impact on making you feel loved — or not.
When love is new, eye contact can be spine-tingling and exhilarating. “When we gaze into each other’s eyes, we are looking at somebody who isn’t predictable. We’re reminded we don’t really know them fully, and that’s exciting,” explains psychologist Stan Tatkin.
Once you know your partner better, you start to predict how your partner looks. You start to assume how he or she is feeling. So you don’t gaze into each other’s eyes as much. Now there’s a danger you’ll stop seeing and feeling seen.
It’s time to look in on the nervous system – specifically, on procedural memory. That’s the brain’s way of ingraining responses along nerve pathways to put certain actions on autopilot. Your brain creates procedural memories, so you can perform complex tasks like walking, with attention to spare.
Daily Life Demands Lots of Doing Without Looking
You probably learned to type, ride a bike, or tie a shoe. At first it takes time … Come Read the Rest
This is How the Happiest Couples Put Their Relationship first
Modern life puts a great deal of pressure our relationships.
Does this sound like you? You struggle to balance work, family and “me” time. You scramble to keep up with loved ones, friends and colleagues. Maybe you’re juggling childcare, elder care, house care, health concerns or car problems. You wonder when you’ll ever find time for your to-do list.
What about your partner’s wants and needs? How do you let all those emotions in? Do you feel stretched to the breaking point?
Some couples seem to take life’s demands in stride. They seem to draw strength from each other. How do they do it?
A relationship that provides a source strength and support often has a foundation of “us first.”
So what does it mean to put the relationship first?
What Putting Your Partner First in a Relationship Means
Making your spouse or partner a priority means your partner’s emotional needs are as important as your own.
How to Save Your Parent-Child Connection from Technology
Touch, eye contact, and physical play feel good. They are the building blocks of parent-child connection. What’s more, they nurture our brains, hearts, and disease-fighting systems. They help us build secure relationships.
Many parents see the value of helping children learn to use technology. They want to stay in touch, and help them master important tools. But we need to pay special attention if tech time takes away time spent face-to-face.
We need to mind what we do, because giving our in-person attention to parent-child connection is vital to our mental and physical health.
Secure Attachment Has a Physical Foundation
Did you feel seen and understood as a child? Then you probably feel safe, and expect connection from relationships now. Was your family distracted by work, illness, or relationship problems? Then you may not feel as safe or as confident about being present with others.
We learn how to connect with others from the experience of being with our caregivers. Our main caregiver connection, or parent-child connection is our model for forming self-understanding … Come Read the Rest
How to Boost Confidence in Kids as an Emotionally Engaged Dad
You may have heard that emotionally responsive parents are important to a child’s wellbeing. What does being a good dad look like to you?
Our culture idolizes a tough man who doesn’t crack under pressure. Anger seems to be the most acceptable emotion to show. What did you see growing up?
Some of us had fathers who told us what to do, and who didn’t tolerate complaints. Some of us never heard male relatives talk about fear, feeling vulnerable, or admitting a mistake. Maybe affection was a bit indirect, and harder to feel.
However, many men today want a much different way to live and relate to loved ones. Often, both parents work to support the family, raise children, and tend to their needs. This often puts men in parenting roles, where they may feel unprepared for the fast-changing emotions of children.
Men are perfectly able to make strong, healthy emotional connections.
Thankfully, many men dare to ditch the tough guy stereotype. One of my favorite memories is of my former boss Eric, at … Come Read the Rest
How Touch Works In a Loving Relationship
How do physical touch and consensual sex help build a healthy relationship?
When you are emotionally uncomfortable with someone and they touch you, what happens? You shrink from them. You may even back away.
It’s only human.
For touch to be welcome, you need to feel safe, physically and emotionally.
In an intimate relationship, physical touch can instill comfort and calm. It is a powerful way to communicate feelings of acceptance, trust, love and belonging.
The touch of someone you don’t like or don’t trust can really make your skin crawl.
What if the person you’re shrinking from is your husband or wife?
The Role of Sex and Touch in A Loving Relationship
Emotional intimacy and sexual intimacy ebbs and flows for all couples.
Sometimes couples enjoy sex for its own sake. They want to feel pleasure without the emotional attachment.
But without emotional safety, truly satisfying sex doesn’t happen or doesn’t last. Neither does the relationship. It’s not that either partner isn’t sexy enough.
It’s the way we’re wired.
We have a human … Come Read the Rest
How to Grow Closer After an Argument: 3 Healing Steps
Injuries happen in all relationships. You can hurt each other even when you didn’t want to. Whether a broken relationship heals or follows a downward spiral depends on how you respond.
Some couples can work through hurts fairly quickly. They talk about what upset them so they both understand what happened. Then they can move on and feel close again.
Other couples feel an unwanted distance growing. They try to talk, but end up fighting instead. Pain and anger grow. That makes it harder to figure out what is broken and heal it quickly. These couples may need some new ideas to get back to feeling close.
Feeling cut off from the love you need can make you desperate. How to fix a broken relationship?
Most Couples Fight Over Losing Their Connection
Dr. Sue Johnson spent her life studying how to fix broken relationships. She found this: When our need for safe, secure attachment gets denied for too long, we literally freak out. Most couples fight out of panic.
Each person needs to know: … Come Read the Rest
How to Understand a Pursuer – Distancer Relationship
Scene from a Pursuer Distancer Relationship:
Partner 1: I wish you would pick up your stuff in the living room.
Partner 2: What? Well, I’ve walked the dog, paid the bills, and worked all day. I can’t get to it.
Partner 1: But it’s your stuff! I don’t want to pick up after you like I’m your mom!
Partner 2: Fine. Go away. Take the dog out. I’ll do it now.
Partner 1: Hey, don’t get mad at me.
Partner 2: Just go!
Silence follows for most of the day.
What happened in this exchange?
Partner 1 needed to feel cared about. This partner pursued it by complaining to Partner 2.
Partner 2 felt overwhelmed, judged as inadequate, and pushed the other partner away. Partner 2 withdrew.
Both feel alone, hurt, and rejected.
In an intimate relationship, you might think the pursue/withdraw (pursuer distancer) pattern would be the exception, not the rule. Committed partners are supposed to care about each other deeply, right?
Who would get angry or turn away at the exact moment … Come Read the Rest