Resources & Events
At Vaughan Relationship Therapy we are committed to providing real solutions for couples and individuals. We understand access to resources may be tough, so whether you’re in between sessions, needing a bit of self-help or simply deciding if we’re the right fit for you, our resources are intended to give you a glimpse of our professional opinions. Browse our videos to start enrichment, fulfilment and growth by inspiring positive change for yourself and your relationships.
All relationships have their ups and downs. You are not always going to agree and communicating in a positive manner isn’t always going to be easy, but it is crucial to building and maintaining a positive, healthy relationship. Being able to express your feelings with your significant other, family or friends strengthens your relationship and allows you both to feel safe and supported. Effective communication is complex and there are many factors that must be considered. While it may not always be easy, engaging in positive communication can prevent hurt feelings, limit misunderstandings and build trust and security.
How to Combat Communication Issues with Your Partner
We have a lot of clients who tell us they struggle to positively communicate with their
partners, despite having great communication skills outside of their relationship. Often times, the root of the issue is they don’t understand their partners intentions which creates larger disagreements and misunderstandings. You can combat this by remembering who your partner really is. Keep your positive connection with them top of mind and remember who they are. To gain a better understanding of what your partner is trying to say, repeat back what he/she has said to be sure you’ve heard them correctly. This also lets your partner know that you’re listening and will minimise further disagreements.
When is the Best Time for a Discussion?
A common question from our clients is if they should discuss an issue when it arises, in the heat of the moment, or take some time and discuss when both people have cooled down? Oftentimes, one partner wants to discuss the problem in the moment and the other wants to talk about it later, or avoid the conversation altogether. Discussing the issue in the moment isn’t always a good idea because when disagreements arise, our body may interpret it as danger, which can make it difficult to process or feel overwhelmed with emotions. Heart rates can increase and blood pressure goes up, so this is not the headspace to have a discussion. When most people get to this place they need about 20 to 60 minutes to allow our body to process feelings and get back to its equilibrium. At this point, it’s important to come back to the conversation (no matter how much you may be dreading it) and let your partner know you find the situation important and you value what they have to say. This also creates safety in the relationship and decreases future disagreements.
Why Heterosexual Couples Disagree
The way men and women act and react during a disagreement often results in a cyclical
argument that is hard to get out of. Oftentimes, people may not feel good in their relationship and then they feel like they’re failing their partner. They may feel helpless and express these feelings through frustration which creates a disagreement. Women tend to feel abandoned, overwhelmed or alone and try to pull in their partners for support. However, they usually communicate their need for support in a negative way by being overly critical and saying things like “you never…” or “why can’t you just…”. This makes their partner feel as though they are not good enough which can breed resentment. Men, on the other hand, tend to withdraw trying to avoid further conflict. While their intention is to protect the relationship from further harm, this can leave their partner feeling like they don’t care about the issue at hand. This begins a negative cycle of miscommunication and arguing. Speaking with a therapist can help you break free of this negative cycle.
The Art of Arguing Effectively
Having an argument with your partner is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as the disagreement is not filled with malice or disdain. It’s important for us to express when we disagree with the one we love, but to do so effectively. A relationship is two different people who live and view the world in different ways, so you’re not always going to agree on situations. If done right however, arguing can strengthen the bond between you and your partner.
Is Arguing Bad for My Relationship?
Fighting never seems like a positive interaction to have with your significant other – but is it “bad”? It really does depend on how and where the argument takes place. We see major concerns when arguments become violent, verbally abusive or include intimidation – especially when this type of arguing happens in front of children. For the most part however, arguing can be a healthy way to express that we disagree with a situation. What we look for is a 1:5 ratio: for every negative interaction, there are five positive ones. If you feel there are more negative interactions than positive ones, you are likely to feel dissatisfied, resentful or contemptuous which can lead to toxic feelings and interactions. It’s important to come together and find a way to talk to each other and take responsibility for your actions to help repair the argument.
Arguing isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but understanding why your partner is acting or reacting the way they are is important. It’s so easy for one person to say “I responded this way, because you spoke negatively to me first”, but it’s important to understand why the negativity started in the first place. Maybe they’re feeling anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, or just needing some support and didn’t know how to communicate those feelings properly. If you understand this, it’s easier to react in a supportive manner, rather than becoming reactive or defensive. Of course it’s easy to react negatively when feeling attacked, so it’s important to slow down internal reactions to be in tune with your partner and be helpful to the situation.
Maintaining Your Relationship
Much like the cars we drive, relationships need to be maintained. Whether it’s checking in with your significant other, keeping things romantic, or taking the time to really listen to the needs and desires of your loved one, continuous maintenance can help increase the longevity of your relationship. Having these healthy relationships in your life can decrease stress, create a better sense of purpose and provide an overall increase in your happiness.
How to Live With Your Partner 24/7 and Still Love Them at the End of the Day
Understanding your partner a bit better can help you live together harmoniously. With
working from home more often still being the norm, there can be an increased amount of pressure and stress. Spending more time at home may also mean spending more time in close quarters with your partner. This can cause arguments or festering issues to arise. Having open communication, remaining patient and being mindful of how we are arguing will help maintain a safe environment for you and your partner to openly discuss issues and coexist. Whether you are the partner who pursues resolution right away during a disagreement, or if you are the withdrawing partner who needs some space, it’s important to be aware of where negative feelings may be stemming from, not just for yourself, but also for your partner. Taking this step back helps us to process how or why someone is speaking to us the way they are, and also helps us to have a better response to what they are saying. Breaking away from instinctual behaviour and understanding your partner’s pain can help to mediate and calm the situation. Providing this support can also help make space for the romantic connection between you and your partner to ignite.
Maintaining a Safe and Supportive Relationship
It’s our duty to make sure our partner feels supported and safe and to create an environment where they can feel they can depend and rely on their significant other. When we foster this kind of environment, it lets our partner know they are important and valued. When our partner is feeling upset, it is our job to investigate and to understand where this feeling is coming from. Whether they are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or helpless we can begin to create safety in the relationship by providing the support they need. When this happens, bodies and minds start to calm down and disagreements in the relationship decrease.
Getting Through Hardships together and Affairs
It goes without saying that when things are going smoothly in our lives, they are likely going smoothly with our relationships. Stress at work, home or in our individual lives can spill over to our relationships with our partner or friends. Working with the people you love to move past hardships builds trust and resilience and strengthens your bond.
Stages of Change
As life circumstances changes, often times your relationship with your significant other
will too. With chance, your relationship may require some adjusting. It’s safe to say you are not the same person today as you were 10 years ago. You may need to rebalance your relationship with the support of a third party.
Navigating Infidelity: Part I
Navigating infidelity is very difficult and complex. Oftentimes, the partner who is feeling betrayed has competing feelings of whether they should stay in the relationship or leave. They may wonder how they will ever trust their partner again, or move past their negative feelings. They may be listening to outside noise and society who often tells us to leave when infidelity happens. At the same time, they think of the history they have with their partner, the children they have together, their finances and life they built over the years. This can make the person feel stuck and unsure of what the “right” move is. While they’re in this place of ambivalence there are a lot of emotions and it is important for the one who betrayed their partner to understand and provide support. They need to be extremely patient with the emotional waves.
Navigating Infidelity: Part II
Once a partner has been unfaithful, the one who feels betrayed will likely have many questions. They may want to know details about the affair, or want access to the phone or email. At the same time, the person who engaged in the affair will wonder how much they should disclose, or if they should try and protect their partner from the details. Typically, it’s okay to be open about how the affair started, but details around sexual intimacy shouln’t be shared. Hearing these details can cause further trauma and pain and are not productive in healing the relationship. Additionally, as long as no privacy laws with employers are being broken, allowing access to phone and email can help a partner feel reassured the affair is over.
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