"Growing each other up" - relationship conflict as an opportunity for personal development

Conflict in relationships is never easy. Many of us would like to have a relationship free of conflict, at least most of the time.

However, conflict is not only impossible to avoid, but can be healthy in a relationship. Done skillfully and with awareness of what buttons are being pushed for yourself and your partner, conflict can take couples into new territory that promotes personal growth as well as enhancing intimacy together.

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When setting boundaries may be the most caring thing to do for you and your partner

One of the most painful things to witness - as a counsellor working with distressed couples - is where one person, having tried every way they can to let their partner know that their needs are not being met, becomes stuck in communicating this in an angry and critical way. Their partner then defends themselves against this perceived attack, and the distressed person is then left feeling even more desparate and unheard, and that their needs are not important to their loved one.

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Grieving in intimate relationships

Grief is an inevitable part of living - it's pretty much impossible to avoid losing someone close to us at some point.

Some forms of grieving are less obvious, and we may not even realized we are experiencing an emotional response to a loss.

Examples of this might be:-

One partner has had a serious illness

You have a child with a disability

A partner may have responded to stressful life events in a way that might feel like they are no longer the person we first fell in love with, s/he has changed in subtle and/or profound ways.

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How do we sustain sexual desire in our long-term relationship?

In long-term relationships, we often expect our beloved to be both best friend and erotic partner. But as Esther Perel argues, good and committed sex draws on two conflicting needs: our need for security and our need for surprise. So how do you sustain desire? With wit and eloquence, Perel lets us in on the mystery of erotic intelligence.

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