healthy relationships

Committing to nonviolent relationships- a new paradigm.

We live in a world where violent relationships are the norm rather than the exception. Very few days go by where we don’t hear about some extreme manifestation of a violent relationship somewhere in the world – an act of terrorism, our treatment of those displaced by the violence of others, a woman killed or seriously injured by her current or ex partner, children who have been physically or sexually abused by those who were entrusted with their care and protection.

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Unsticking polarising positions (and conversations) that block intimacy

Most of the time, when emotions aren't running too high, and where we feel good about where our relationship is at, we do a fairly good job of hearing our partner's different points of view. We may even do well at accepting where they are at, even if we don't understand it very well. However, when we don't feel as secure in our relationship, too often this very important skill fails us. Our need to BE understood and have our partner respond to us in a way that makes us feel secure may overtake our capacity to be the understanding and responsive one.

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How do I know when to let go or to fight for my relationship?

Many of us understand the importance of fighting for our relationship, especially where there are kids involved. We may do this in a number of ways - by being persistant in trying to encourage our partner to talk about things that are worrying them, by letting them know what we need in order to stay in the relationship, for example. We may also fight for our relationship in less direct ways - by choosing to avoid getting into conflict about issues that may not be possible to resolve, or by choosing to accept differences and flaws, for example.

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Reciprocity in intimate relationships

Sometimes it can feel a bit like 'tit for tat' - I gave you this, you should give me that! Most of us don't like to think about our intimate relationships in this way. We flourish in an environment where we can be generous about how we think about each other's needs, and where there is plenty of space for giving and receiving acts of love, nurturing and care in all of their many forms. But most of us do have a bottom line - the place where we say "Enough!".

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Holding your ground with your partner can be an intimacy-builder!

What do you think of, when you are asked what creates intimacy between you and your partner? Many of us think of physical intimacy (including sex), and emotional intimacy (connecting time to talk, spending quality time together doing things we enjoy etc). Research shows, though, that not only is conflict inevitable in relationships, but it can actually promote closeness and strengthen relationships when it is managed skilfully, and where issues can either be resolved or at least left open for ongoing discussion.

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Why is 'emotional intelligence' so important for good connecting?

'Emotional intelligence', or EQ, has been found to be more important than IQ in helping us to do well in life. People with high EQ have better relationships, feel happier, and even do better in their careers and academically. So what is EQ? It is a set of skills that mean we are aware of our emotions, we know why we are feeling that way, we are able to manage how we express those emotions, and if necessary, we are able to work out what may need to be done in response to the feelings we are having about a situation.

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Is your relationship adversarial or collaborative?

Many people have been well educated in the art of debating - the skill of arguing persuasively to convince others that one point of view is the right one, and that the opposing argument is wrong or flawed.

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What do cultural differences mean for your relationship?

It's not unusual these days to choose a partner from a different culture to our own - in fact, it may be part of what draws us to that person. Differences in beliefs, values, ways of thinking about being a partner, a parent, how to live life can be challenging and inspiring, and encourage us to imagine different possibilities and create new synergies. However, cultural differences can bring some unique challenges as well. Often these challenges are not as evident at the beginning of a relationship.

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Why working on the nonverbal parts of how you communicate may be vital to relationship happiness

Most of us have a fairly good understanding of how important the nonverbal parts of how we communicate are, when we want to know that our partner loves and cares for us. However, we don't often work on this directly, when trying to improve our relationship. We're much more likely to focus on the words we use, or asking our partner to choose their words more carefully, when thinking of better ways to resolve our differences and reach a resolution.

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Cultivating Emotionally Intelligent Relationships

Emotional intelligence (or EQ) is perhaps not the first thing we think of, when reflecting on what we need in our intimate relationship. But emotional intelligence has been found to be the most powerful predictor of success and happiness in life. In fact, people who score highly on EQ advance further in their careers, as well as enjoying more connected and meaningful relationships. So what are the skills that make up EQ?

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