Blog Items

Review - "Renovate Your Relationship: A Manual for Men"

"Renovate Your Relationship" is an easy-to-read, accessible guide for men about how to navigate their way through what can be the very confusing territory of intimate relationships. It uses a 'toolkit' format to give clear intructions about the things to think about, how to do them, what to avoid, and where you may need to get extra help from a counsellor or other professional person.

Produced by Relationships Australia and Mensline, this is a great resource which could well be a 'must read' for any man wanting to make his most important relationship the best it can be.

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Looking after kids' wellbeing beyond divorce and re-partnering

Most of us are aware of the importance of looking after our kids' wellbeing as we navigate our way through the difficult terrain of separation, divorce, and starting a new relationship with someone who may also bring children with them from a previous relationship.

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Book Review: Love Sense - Dr Sue Johnson


The power of monogamy: ten surprising claims about the power of love.

This review first appeared at ‘The Globe and Mail’, author Zoe Bielski.

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Why doesn't she just leave - why do we stay in abusive relationships?

Many of us have asked the question - why do I stay in a relationship that feels abusive? Or we may wonder about it from an outside perspective on behalf of someone we care about - why does she stay with him? Why does he keep going back to her, when she treates him so badly?

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Lying in intimate relationships - what's the harm?

Most of us would say we want our partner to be totally honest with us - that's what builds trust, right?

Finding out that my partner has spent time with someone else behind my back, and perhaps even 'crossed the line' with them into emotional or physical intimacy may be a deal-breaker.

It's important though, without excusing the real hurt that can be caused when someone has been dishonest, or at least withheld the truth about what they are doing, to understand what function lying serves not just the person doing it, but your relationship.

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Loving someone who has survived childhood trauma

It's not easy to be a survivor of childhood trauma. It's also not easy to be in relationship with someone who has experienced severe interpersonal trauma such as sexual or physical abuse from a person or people who, as a child, they relied on for safety and nurturance.

Questions partners often ask are:-

* Why can't s/he just get over it? 

* How do I handle my own feelings of rejection when my partner doesn't want sex, or turns away from my attempts to physically touch her or him?

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Good communication and emotional safety in intimate relationships

Many couples come to counselling wanting assistance to communicate better. They are looking for strategies that they can apply so that each is able to feel that their partner has heard, understood and respected their view.

While strategies are important, and can be learned and mastered with practice, the underlying principles are more important to bear in mind. These rest on the idea that creating safety - emotionally and psycholocigally as well as physically - is key to successful communication.

So how is this achieved?

Creating safety relies on the following:-

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Why managing cultural differences may be a challenge in intimate relationships

While it can be said that each family creates its own culture - and therefore cultural differences are ubiquitous in any long-term relationship - there are special challenges when marrying someone from a culture different to our own.

Some of the commonly reported challenges are:-

* where English is one person's second language misunderstandings are more likely to occur, especially in the realm of intimate communication where we try to capture more subtle shades of meaning.

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What stops us putting our relationship first?

Many of us can fall into the trap of assuming that our most important relationship will look after itself. The fact of the matter is - creating and maintaining a healthy intimate relationship takes ongoing work, effort and energy.

The signs that our relationship may be suffering from neglect are many and varied, but may include:-

* feeling like we never spend any time together except to plan and talk about the practicalities of running a household.

* we seem to fight about nothing in particular

* communication is poor

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"It's not fair!" How do issues of fairness play out in your relationship?

"It's not fair!" Most of us have been known to say this at some stage to those closest to us - as a child when we feel parents are favouring a sibling over us, at work when we feel we are not being given the same opportunities as a colleague, and in our intimate relationship where we may feel we are asked to give more than we are receiving in exchange.

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