Working out together can Spice up your relationship
There is seriously something indescribably cool about sweating and being intensely physically active together! 💦 There must be something about some pheromones and then tuning into each other's mirror neurons that strengthen the wavelength.
Regardless of the reason, it seems obvious to take care of your physical and sexual health at the same time.
Research shows that couples who have fun together, often stay together longer. They make it through difficult times because they manage to create lightness even when life shakes them. What is the strongest glue in your home?
About what happens as the loss of connection in a couple escalates:
"When emotional starvation becomes the norm, and negative patterns of outraged criticism and obstinate defensiveness take over, our perspective changes. Our lover slowly begins to feel like an enemy; our most familiar friend turns into a stranger. Trust dies and grief begins in earnest."
Through the years, I’ve seen many frustrated wives like Sarah in my office—women who, often at no small cost and courage, manage to drag their difficult, even psychologically abusive, husbands to therapy, only to have the therapist throw them under the bus for the sake of even handedness and neutrality. “Our previous therapist never once confronted David,” Sarah complained to me in one session. “Over the course of a year, he built up enormous credit with my husband. The only problem was that he never spent one penny of it!”
The conventional wisdom of couples therapy aside, I don’t believe that partners share 50-50 responsibility for all their issues with each other. Some couples issues are 70-30, some 90-10.
One partner can have an untreated bipolar disorder or be an alcoholic rager, while the spouse’s major “contribution” is simply being there. An RLT therapist has no problem saying something like, “OK, Mr. Jones, you’re a nut. And Mrs. Jones, you’re an even bigger nut. Here’s why. . . .”
Not always, but often, a couple presents as one “latent” and one “blatant.” There’s one who’s in an enabling position, albeit perhaps angrily so, and another who’s more clearly and egregiously anti-relational. If you’re sitting with a couple and thinking to yourself, “Yeah, I couldn’t be married to that person either!” you’re thinking about the blatant partner. The truth is that, many times, one partner (the fed-up latent) drags into therapy the other partner (the often clueless blatant) because the blatant is relationally insufferable—either withdrawn and giving too little, or abrasive and taking liberties. There’s a “dragger” and a “draggee.” Most therapists, unwilling to take on the draggee, like David, leave the dragger, like Sarah, to swing in the wind. While Sarah isn’t an angel by any means, the bottom line is that David’s lack of relational skill has pushed her to the brink of divorce. She’s brought him to one last therapist in the desperate hope that I’ll take on the job of teaching him how to be more relational. And I will.
As a therapeutic coach who doesn’t believe in neutrality in all cases and who does believe in the effectiveness of teaching people how to navigate a territory that many, especially men, find confusing and often terrifying, I think it’s important for me to fulfill Sarah’s expectation.…..
One of the biggest risks you can take is to talk about something that really means a lot to you and about which there are many emotions. Perhaps something that draws a history far back. The best thing you can experience is when your partner stops, really listens, shows care, kindness, love, understanding and support. The worst thing you can experience is that your partner does not take the time to be present, rejects, neglects, rationalizes, ridicules, shows contempt or simply rejects the dialogue. James Cordova, who researches intimacy at Clark University, believes that the deepest form of intimacy in a relationship occurs when one shares something that is experienced as truly vulnerable, and is lovingly responded to. When the partner responds with acceptance and warmth, it has enormous significance and the relationship begins to change. This makes it more likely that both dare to take more risks in relation to making themselves emotionally vulnerable and sharing with each other in the future. They dare to, because together they build on new experiences with the fact that it is safe to share "the difficult." For many couples, it creates a snowball effect. They gain more and more positive experiences and build more and more emotional intimacy, which makes it more and more safe to share. Security makes intimacy grow. And shared emotional intimacy builds on feelings of security. Many couples can remember the snowball effect from falling in love. To stay emotionally connected, we need to take care of our "emotional intimacy" and work on security. We do this by sharing meaningful thoughts, feelings and experiences – both positive and negative. It doesn't happen by itself if we don't feel safe - but the safety arises when we share and it is received positively. It is therefore important to be aware of daring to take risks with each other - and get the positive snowball rolling again.
Several studies have been done that show a link between stress and the quality of the relationship.
The studies clearly show that stress leads to challenges in the relationship, and that challenges in the relationship can be a huge stress factor.
When we humans are stressed, we become quick in relation to reacting to frustrations towards our partner. We also stop giving them the benefit of the doubt…
Some studies show that stress makes us use more of the escalating communication strategies. We criticize more, defend ourselves more, counterattack, become emotionally overwhelmed more quickly and/or withdraw more mentally or physically. A wall is built, and when the negative is turned up, it affects the positive and the feeling of closeness. It becomes less positive and longer between "we are close" and having emotional intimacy.
It seems that all types of stress trigger the same reactions in relationships.
One topic in particular seems to have an extra impact!
Economy. When couples are under financial pressure - and have the feeling that there IS not enough money - the couple becomes more negative towards each other - which damages the relationship. The researcher Rand Conger at the University of California has, via several studies, mapped this pattern over the past 20 years.
When we need to be supportive, caring and kind to each other, stress causes us to lash out and create distance instead.
If one or both of you is affected by stress, pay particular attention to your conflict patterns and focus on them, so that your disagreements do not turn into conflicts filled with discomfort and distance. Focus on working AGAINST the stress and not against each other. Remember: The relationship is NOT broken - it just needs fuel.
Research shows that 80 percent of all arguments arise because of misunderstandings.
"This means that four out of five conflicts are a waste of time and should not exist," says a couples therapist
In her experience, the topic of the argument is often completely irrelevant. Maybe an argument about not cleaning up the kitchen is actually about growing up in a family where the parents never kept their promises. Maybe an argument about finances is really about growing up in a family where money was tight.
"So forget everything about what you think the argument is about, and instead shift your attention to the reactions it triggers in the body," is her advice.
The problem with arguments is that they activate our fight/flight system.
The script for the vast majority of conflicts is that one party does not feel listened to, or feels misunderstood and therefore attacks or criticizes the partner.
The partner may respond either by counterattacking or by pulling away, depending on their pattern when stressed.
A 'good' argument triggers stress. To make that point visible, the therapist sometimes equips her clients with a heart rate monitor.
When they can see their heart rate going over 100 beats a minute, when they argue, I ask them to put into words what they feel in their bodies.' Typical answers are that the clients feel that they are 'boiling up', that they are 'getting stressed' and that they 'need a break'. The break is exactly what the therapist recommends that you ask for when you are about to lose your temper - and the connection with your partner: "Because only when the stress level drops and the nervous system is calm again can you listen."
If you want to change the pattern in your conflicts, the password is understanding. So the next time your partner criticizes you or scolds you, meet him or her with understanding. You can For example, say:
I can hear that this is important to you. Will you explain to me why? I want to hear what you have to say, can you speak a little slower? I want to understand what you are saying, can we sit down together?
Because when one of you changes strategy, something new happens. "You can't argue with someone who doesn't bother, and suddenly you have a good conversation, where you increase your knowledge of each other's world instead of arguing,"
Know your argument strategy
We react differently in conflicts. Find your type and learn how to change your strategy in arguments:
Are you meeting your partner with Critique ? The antidote is to be kind and objective when describing a problem to your partner.
Do you go DEFENSIVE when your partner confronts you? The antidote is to take responsibility for your part of what your partner is trying to say.
Do you meet your partner with CONTEMPT. The antidote is to practice appreciating your partner and your community.
Do you WITHDRAW from your partner after an argument? The antidote is to practice calming yourself and staying in the situation with your partner
We're making housework fun for everyone! Are you ready? By providing insight on who does what and who does most, Choreful contributes to:
The Norwegian app Choreful has been made as an attempt to show the difference in what men and women do. It takes into account all kinds of tasks in the family, from checking school schedule to changing tires to wiping tables.
In my family, we noticed the differences so that we could become more equal. It's pretty cool, because it's often the invisible things that take time, such as remembering that Mike has to play the saxophone, have an instrument, that grandma has to be written to and are asked and that there is a parent meeting in the kindergarten and a Christmas party in 3rd grade and the music school's Christmas concert, where the family must be invited and perhaps a table must be reserved, and these are completely extra things, which in one's head take up an awful lot of time and much more than it requires vacuuming or cooking.
5 Telltale Signs You're Unconsciously Pushing Love Away (and Draining Your Self-Esteem) - Discover Them Before You Do It Again:
In the relationship:
1) You please the other and lose yourself in the relationship
2) You have a "Find at least 5 faults radar" Just as singles can have this automatic fault finding radar, it is extremely common in relationships including couples. It stems from the ambivalent attachment pattern, where one easily sees faults and shortcomings. As an unconscious way to protect oneself from losing love. Even if it just makes you push love away! The logic is that when you push love away, you can't lose it - and so it doesn't hurt (so much) if the relationship ends.
Ask yourself: How important is it to the relationship that this mistake or shortcoming be "fixed"? - and is it a protection strategy right here?
3) You turn a blind eye to dealbreakers Reversed of the "5 fault radar", you can be good at seeing the positive in the other person. You have a big heart and that's great. But maybe you don't see the things that now or later will make the relationship difficult or impossible.
Eg. if the other is quick to open a bottle of good wine when you are enjoying yourself together. Then you can think: "oh he is really good at enjoying life". Later, it may turn out that he has an excessive consumption of alcohol. Or if the other is often seen with the ex, with whom she has children, and you think: "How nice it is that she makes a point of being friends with her ex-husband - she is a good mother". And it turns out that she wasn't done with her ex-husband at all.
Ask yourself: What are my dealbreakers? (dealbreakers are the things that cause the relationship to become an eternal struggle and/or end if they are there or missing. E.g. children/no children, alcohol, smoking, drugs etc. abuse, honesty/ lies, finances, jealousy, flirting, sex and desire, how to treat others, etc. Get an opinion from someone else who has a realistic judgment in relation to others (secure attachment pattern).
4) You are with someone who does not choose you - or you find it difficult to choose the other wholeheartedly This one is in the same as if you date above or below level.
If you are with someone who does not really choose you, love will not be able to develop between you. Voila, a brilliant way to deal with the fear of losing, being rejected or being overwhelmed by intimacy (that is, all 3 insecure attachment patterns).
Yes, yes - I have spoken to quite a few women who have been able to tell me how much they had felt loved by their married lover. Until it ended because his wife found out and demanded he quit. Or they could no longer stand being the 3rd wheel.
I have met even more men and women who were with someone who could not or perhaps would not commit to them. Who stayed in the relationship anyway. Satisfied with being "friends with benefits" (there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, if BOTH are happy and fully satisfied with it. Then it's just wonderful).
Those I have spoken to have been upset and frustrated. By staying and hoping for more, they drained their self-esteem. Therefore, it became harder to believe that love was also for them.
Ask yourself: What does it give me to be with him/her when he/she doesn't want or can't say YES wholeheartedly to me? Keep asking more deeply until you get an answer that makes a positive sense.
It could also be that you are the one who cannot choose the other wholeheartedly. Maybe you're with the other because it's nice and affirming that the other WANTS YOU. Maybe you haven't made up your mind about what you want. Or maybe you're with the other because it feels better to have a partner than to be single. Or you simply think that if you settle for someone who wants you - then it is a safeguard against being abandoned (it is often completely unconscious)!
I have met many, men and women, who have let themselves be chosen. The price can be a relationship where you probably feel loved, but which is not equal. And you therefore drain your self-esteem. This happens regardless of whether you are "above" or "below" equality.
Ask yourself: What does it give me to be with him/her when I don't want to or can't say YES wholeheartedly to him/her? Keep asking more deeply until you get an answer that makes a positive sense.
5) You are either left in a relationship or you leave the relationship yourself as a pattern Whether your pattern is to leave or be left, it's just a slavish pattern. At least if you want a long-lasting relationship, where love can be allowed to build up and develop! Abandon and abandoned are expressions that love could not fill (enough) in the relationship. When you have experienced it again and again, you can lose faith in love or your abilities in love life.
Ask yourself: How long will I live with this pattern? How will my life be better if I got help to change this?
Do you become emotionally overwhelmed and get the feeling of shut down when your partner wants "a talk"?
Then you need to know two things:
1) You are not alone, a raving lunatic or a "cold piece of shit" - your brain just detects that there is danger on the way, presses the button on the "threat center" - and voila, you are ready to fight against a very , very dangerous tiger which in this case are represented in the form of your partner, whom you must either fight or flee from, depending on what your brain thinks you have the resources for at the given moment.
2) You can do something active to prevent it from happening. It is not a quick-fix solution. It takes time - but it's all worth it! You can do this:
→ Tell your partner what is at stake. Write notes to make sure you get all the messages, and ask your partner to listen - NOT fix. Tell him/her that you want change, but that it takes time - and that you have to learn to handle the bodily reactions differently, and that it takes time. But that you want to work on it and need help from your partner in the process.
→ Next, you can start to feel and register the body's signals in the situations, so that you get to know them. What your body DOES on the way from 0% - 100% Are your shoulders tense? The breathing? The pulse? Sweaty palms? Focus on doing what couples therapy calls self-soothing. So calm yourself down. You can do this in the conversations by: → Breathe deeply and slowly → Keep the body still → Focus your attention on your partner's messages instead of your own thoughts → Ask him/her to speak slowly, kindly and in short sentences → Mirror what he/she says → Ask for breaks where you focus on self-soothing
In this way, you train the body that the conversations are NOT dangerous, even if they seem that way at first. You learn to stay in the situations - AND that you have the skills to calm yourself in cooperation with your partner.