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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What creates and maintains intimacy in relationships?

What are the things you do, and that your partner does, that nurture intimacy between you?

Many of us may think that intimacy is about having mind-blowing sex at every opportunity. or having romantic interludes away together, or surprising each other with extravagant gifts or romantic gestures.

Of course, these things are wonderful, and when they happen in the context of a relationship where both partners already feel connected and good about how things are going, they may well intensify your sense of pleasure and excitement about being together.

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Does social media help or hinder your intimate relationship?

There's no doubt it - Facebook, Twitter and other social media have greatly enhanced our ability to connect to friends far away, organize catch-ups, and keep others informed about important things in our lives.

But there is a down side. According to researchers (as summarized in, for some of us social media may be eroding the quality of our friendships, and perhaps our more intimate relationships as well.

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More than words...'right-brain to right-brain' communication in intimate relationships

Remember when you were a little boy or girl - how important it was when you were upset that Mum or Dad comforted you. They may have responded to you with a hug or a kiss, reassured you that you would be OK, and maybe helped you to make sense of how you were feeling.

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'Conditions of love: the philosophy of intimacy'. A book review.






 A review of John Armstrong 's book 'Conditions of love: the philosophy of intimacy.(2003) Penguin Books. Reprinted from the Australian Association of Relationship Counsellors' newsletter February 2012. Written by Helena Phillips.


What is it to love another person? Armstrong begins his text with this question. The romantic vision of love

includes “longing, rapture; and the sense that one is in touch with the source of all rapture”. In the opening

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How is emotion and passion expressed in your relationship?

It's a risky business - expressing the full range of emotions and passions that are a part of being fully alive and human. In our intimate relationship - it can also feel risky when our partner does the same. On the one hand, we may be tempted to repress or deny our own or our partner's extreme feelings in order to retain a sense of control. At the other extreme, we may feel justified, entitled even, to express our strong emotions or act on passions in a way that is uncontrolled and without awareness of the negative impact it may have on our partner.

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How much passion and energy do you put into your relationship?

It's a well-known but easily overlooked fact - if we want something to blossom and grow, we need to give it our energy - time, resources, positive attention, thoughtful actions that will promote development and success. If I want to master a sport or a musical instrument, for example, I have to practice - a lot! - to get a good result. If I want to succeed in my career I need to put in long hours, develop specific skills related not only to what I am doing now but what I wish to be doing in future (e.g.

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