Sex Talk Helps https://sextalkhelps.com Sex Therapy and Relationship Coaching with Dr. David Bloodgood Thu, 16 Jul 2020 18:03:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 https://i1.wp.com/sextalkhelps.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/cropped-Sex-Talk-Online-Logo-David.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Sex Talk Helps https://sextalkhelps.com 32 32 155848099 Some days it feels like we argue constantly… https://sextalkhelps.com/some-days-it-feels-like-we-argue-constantly/ Thu, 16 Jul 2020 18:03:02 +0000 http://sextalkhelps.com/?p=262 …. even over things that really aren’t that important. Getting on each others last nerve occasionally these days?  When people are together twenty-four hours a day, day after day, and week after week, how could they possibly not argue?  Anger and resentment over the circumstance of “sheltering in place” can sometimes get projected onto a […]

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…. even over things that really aren’t that important.

Getting on each others last nerve occasionally these days? 

When people are together twenty-four hours a day, day after day, and week after week, how could they possibly not argue?  Anger and resentment over the circumstance of “sheltering in place” can sometimes get projected onto a situation or behavior that might seem trivial to others. The result is often criticism and blame.  Habits and behaviors that we can tolerate occasionally become seemingly intolerable and feel relentlessly abrasive when repeated throughout the day.  When these arguments are similar to past conflicts the took place frequently before sequester, or when they begin to become constantly repetitious today,  there is probably more going on than a drawer being left open or singing the wrong lyrics to a song.

Couples often maintain to me that they argue over things that really don’t matter.  Even in these current  trying circumstances, couples really don’t argue over unimportant issues. Socks on the floor in the bedroom? What brand of cereal you ordered from Instacart?  How you loaded the dishwasher? Believe it or not, in addition to whatever mild frustration these kinds of things may cause, there is nearly always another more significant issue beneath the surface of the argument.  Generally, we fail to identify the primary reasons for those responses that might otherwise seem unwarranted. 

These types of conflicts usually stem from some extremely significant underlying feeling —usually a sense of lack or loss.  The feeling of not have Respect, Control, Equity, or Security are but a few. Who has the power to make decisions in this relationship? Is the work load equal between both partners? Do you  feel listened to? Do you feel loved, cared about, and important in this relationship? Can you trust your your partner to meet your needs? Do you feel  understood in this relationship? 

When these foundational issues are recognized perspectives can change.

What may seem inconsequential to one partner comes to be seen as having a deeper meaning to the other.  (Very important: even if you are certain what is the basis of your partners upset, never say “You know what you are really angry about right now?”  Your partner will not thank you for the insight, I promise you.)  Keep your awareness to yourself and use it to express empathy, forgiveness, and often to trigger an apology (when appropriate and sincere).

When either of you recognizes what other issues may have prompted an angry response, you can respond in a way that diffuses the conflict without feeling defensive or escalating the argument. Your new insight provides a wonderful opportunity be tolerant and understanding, and often  to meet your partners real need.   That approach will absolutely increase successful resolution and bring peace.… for awhile. 

If you don’t get it exactly right the first time—don’t worry.  There will be lots more opportunities to practice in the coming days and weeks.  I promise.

COMING SOON! The next round of enrollment for the Sex Talk online course! Sign up today to receive an exclusive pre-enrollment discount and a free gift!

Visit Dr. David at Psychology Today or CounselorPages.com or reach out for online help at Bloodgood.com.

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Its “Social Distancing”, NOT Relationship Distancing https://sextalkhelps.com/its-social-distancing-not-relationship-distancing/ Thu, 21 May 2020 14:46:23 +0000 http://sextalkhelps.com/?p=218 Make your relationships stronger, more satisfying, and more secure by eliminating the things that create distance. Make this entire experience something you remember fondly.

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One of the most frequent comments I hear these days is: “I’ll bet your practice is really busy with all these couples stuck in the house with each other.”

Because my practice focuses on relationships, I do have a front row seat to what is going on for many couples. Since the shut down, one thing has become clear. This pandemic has had a polarizing effect on the couples I am seeing.

Many have said: “This has given us a new perspective—a new sense of what is really important. The things we were so upset about just don’t seem that significant now.”

Others report: “ Everything that was causing problems before has intensified. Being around each other, day after day, is bad…..and getting worse.”

Now, one thing everyone can agree upon is that this situation has swept through our lives like a tidal wave, right? Finances, jobs, concerns and anxieties about our health and the health of those we love, schedules, plans for the future, and particularly our relationships have been powerfully impacted.

Grief and fear overwhelm many people who wonder what will happen next—will I, or my loved ones, survive? And if we do, what will the future look like?

As a couple’s therapist I want to speak to only one aspect of all of this. What can you do to make certain that your relationship today (or any relationships to come) is stronger, more satisfying, and makes you feel more content and secure than you do presently?

So where do you begin to make your relationship stronger?

First, sit down with someone with whom you have an important relationship (whether you consider that relationship to be good or bad). Talk about what each of you would like to see come out of this experience for the two of you. Don’t wait for this to be over before you examine its effect.

Now is the perfect time for you both (partner, spouse, child, parent, friend) to commit to the practice of:

Forgiveness, Patience, Tolerance, Empathy, Open communication, Acts of kindness

And a willingness to abandon:

Judgement, Criticism, Defensiveness, Disrespect, and Blame.

No, of course this isn’t easy. It will require more than a single non-specific commitment to something that ”sounds good”. This initial commitment is just the first step in many, many conversations and great effort — small successes, failed attempts, restarts, and victories.

Secondly, be specific. Name and record at least one thing each of you feels you can do with regard to each of those positive practices listed above.

For example:

“ When I get frustrated with ______________I will try to discuss it from a place of patience and kindness.”

“When you are upset about _______________ I am going to listen more and not make suggestions unless you ask for them.”

“Even though I don’t enjoy _______________ I am going to remember that its important to you and try to be less critical of negative”/

Structure and Discipline are essential for positive relationship changes

Unless you are very specific, you will not see much success. Structure and discipline are what’s most important if you want to see change.

For years I said: “I want to get into better shape. I’m going to exercise more and eat healthier”

That sounds like a great plan, doesn’t it? It’s sure to work! Except……do what exercises, when, and how often? Eat more of what, and less of what? Without those specifics, its not a plan — its just wishful thinking.

Don’t most of us know what we need to do in a general way to improve ourselves and our relationships? “I need to be more organized. I should be more patient. I need to stop procrastinating. I need to drink less. I need to listen more. I should spend more time with my partner.”

Until we have an articulated plan that can provide us with specific structured direction and the discipline to act on that direction nothing will change.

This is a difficult time. Everyone knows that its tempting to give in to lethargy, grief, despair, boredom, anxiety…..and in the process let go of self-care, care for those we love, and to abandon the very things we know can provide strength and relief to ourselves and our loved ones.

Make this the time you focus on healing the relationships you have at hand. Make a decision for peace and satisfaction by growing closer. Make your relationships stronger, more satisfying, and more secure by eliminating the things that create distance. Make this entire experience something you remember not as being terrible, trying, and miserable — but instead as the time you grew closer, found new ways to express love to each other, and was the beginning of a stronger and more fulfilling relationship between you and those you love.

COMING SOON! The next round of enrollment for the Sex Talk online course! Sign up today to receive an exclusive pre-enrollment discount and a free gift!

Visit Dr. David at Psychology Today or CounselorPages.com or reach out for online help at Bloodgood.com.

The post Its “Social Distancing”, NOT Relationship Distancing appeared first on Sex Talk Helps.

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