Ways to destroy your relationship.

By David Joel Miller.

Couple not talking

Unhappy relationship.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Easy ways to destroy any relationship.

Every day, everywhere you go, you’re likely to meet someone who is starting a new relationship. Trouble is a lot of those relationships are destined to fail. Making a relationship succeed is hard work. Creating a troubled relationship, one that is doomed to fail, is more natural than maintaining your relationship. Here are some things you may be doing that are destined to sabotage your relationships.

Expecting perfection sabotages relationships.

If you expect people in your life, particularly your romantic partner to never let you down you’re asking for perfection. Since no one is perfect, that expectation guarantees that your partner will disappoint you. People in healthy relationships accept each other’s imperfections and don’t expect more out of their partner than they expect out of themselves.

Never trusting anyone will sabotage your relationship.

It’s hard to have a close relationship with someone you don’t trust. Continually checking up on your partner is a way to sabotage that relationship. Lack of trust in relationships usually stems from unresolved issues we have before we ever enter those relationships. Trust is something that develops over time in a relationship.

Being disrespectful harms relationships.

Treating your partner disrespectfully drives them away. Contempt, harsh words and criticism are the poisons which destroyed relationships.

Insist they change to be like you.

Healthy relationships create room for people to grow. Constant criticism and the insistence that your partner needs to change conveys the message that the way they are is not okay. No one wants to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t think they are satisfactory.

Focusing on anything but your relationship starves that relationship.

Many couples have so many outside interests that they never have time to spend together. Relationships require maintenance and to do that maintenance you need to put in the time.

Minimize your time together, and your relationship is out of time.

What couples first get together they want to be together every minute of every day. Troubled relationships are characterized by a lack of shared experiences. If you go out of your way to avoid your partner your relationship is doomed.

Avoid communicating, and your relationship becomes distant.

Stonewalling, avoiding talking about problems, creates distance between the two of you. Two kinds of communication destroy relationships, not communicating about things that require discussion and excessively communicating all the negative thoughts and feelings you have about your partner.

Keeping as many secrets as possible leaves your relationship in the dark.

Relationships are like being on a team. Well-functioning teams communicate. When you are keeping secrets from each other trust, and the good feelings erode. We are not talking about the kind of secrets that come with Christmas and birthdays. Those are secrets that you plan to reveal at the proper time. The harmful secrets, the things you keep from your partner which you know they would not approve of, if they found out will damage the relationship.

Hide your spending, lie about finances and the relationship will go broke.

Your partner’s future depends on both the emotional and financial health of your relationship. Hiding your spending or misleading your partner about the state of your finances put you on opposing sides in life struggle. Eventually, your partner will find out about your spending or the state of your finances. If your withholding information jeopardizes their financial security, your behavior has put the relationship in jeopardy. Dishonesty is not only the things you tell people which are false but also includes the things you had a duty to tell them but didn’t.

Don’t plan for a future together and your relationship won’t have a future.

Couples with healthy relationships have planned a future together. Those plans may change over time when couples revise them jointly. But if you are planning for a future after your relationship, you are already planning for the end of your relationship.

Thinking your love is so solid you will not have problems.

The things you don’t talk about at the beginning of a relationship go on to become the major problems later. Believing that you don’t have to discuss things because you’re in love sets up significant misunderstandings. Relationships require maintenance. That initial amount of love you have for each other will not take you very far if you don’t continue to communicate and resolve issues.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Four David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

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Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

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Trapped in a bad relationship?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Can't stop fighting?

Trapped in conflict?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Hate your relationship but can’t leave?

Do you feel trapped in an unhappy situation? You know this relationship is not meeting your needs, but you’re not sure that anything else would be any better. One thing we find in marriage or relationship counseling is that people tend to repeat the same mistakes over and over. If you don’t discover what the problem is, it will keep happening.

Sometimes the problem is one partner or the other. If it’s you then you need to change. If at your partner, well, in that case, your options are limited. You can’t change someone else; only they can change themselves. What you can do is change the situation, change yourself, or learn how to accept the situation. You may decide that this situation needs to end.

Very often, however, the reason the relationship is unhappy lies in the space between two people, the way they relate to each other. There are certain things that people do, which keep the relationship an unhappy one. Therapists often see people who end one relationship, subsequently, start a new relationship, only to find they’re having the same problems in their new relationship.

Here are some things that may be happening in your current relationship which you need to learn how to handle if you are ever to have a happy relationship.

Avoiding conflict does not resolve the problem.

In some relationships, one or both partners are conflict avoidant. They don’t want to argue about things, and as a result, nothing ever changes. Conflict avoidance is an especially difficult problem when the conflict avoidant partner never tells their partner what they want.

Conflicts are part of life. A lack of conflict in a relationship does not mean it’s a perfect relationship. It’s not disagreements that damage relationships, but the way in which two people resolve those disagreements. Work on being able to express your disagreement with your partner in a way that they can hear. Work on finding win-win solutions rather than engaging in protracted disagreements over who is right and who’s in control.

What attracted you, may be pushing you apart.

Finding someone with the qualities you lack can be very attractive. Being with a person who is different from you can be exciting. But after you have been in the relationship a while things change, your needs change, and the qualities that brought you together may be the very things that are causing the problems.

That strong partner made you feel safe in the beginning but ends up being controlling. Your partner may have seemed like a lot of fun and helped you get out of your shell. But now you realize you have always been very responsible, and that fun person now looks irresponsible.

You don’t ask to have your needs met.

Don’t think that if your partner truly loved you, they would do things to make you happy. Very few people can read minds. Being deeply in love does not make you a mind reader. People who will not ask for what they want, create impediments to a good relationship.

You can’t win by beating up your teammate.

When aggressive, achievement-oriented people get together, they often end up competing with each other. When you are both hostile and want to win, you end up locked in a constant struggle for dominance and control.

When one partner assumes the one up position, there’s a high risk that the other partner will become resentful. The best solutions to partner disagreements are learning how to create win-win situations in which both people get their needs met. Compromising does not mean both people need to give up or lose something.

Playing the blame game and finger-pointing damages relationships.

Couples in unhappy relationships often begin to blame each other. When one person is criticized, their response is to criticize their partner for other issues. If you want to have a good relationship, learn to tackle one issue at a time. If you did something wrong admit it. Work on making it right. Pointing out all the things your partner has done wrong does not excuse your error, and mutual recriminations poison the relationship.

Needing to be right requires your partner to be wrong.

Insecure people need to always be right. They never want to hear that anything they have done was less than perfect. They often have lots of excuses as to why it’s not their fault. This “right fighting” can lead to endless episodes of arguments. Often there is no resolution. Many couples argue over things for which there is no correct answer. One person prefers one beverage while the other prefers a different beverage. The inability to allow your partner to have a different opinion than yours has resulted in couples locked in an eternal mortal combat.

Needing the last word keeps the argument going.

Once you’ve had your say, stop talking. Trying to always get in the last word doesn’t make you right. Keeping at it results in a relationship with only one topic, “who is right?” Make an effort to hear your partner out.

If you can’t hear what your partner is saying or feeling, there’s no communication.

Lots of couples show up for marriage counseling wanting to improve communication. What that often means is one of them wants the other to do something. Communication is not about being right or about arguing your partner into doing what you want. True communication in relationships furthers understanding. Make sure you’re listening to understand what your partner means. The missing part of communication is often a failure to understand what the partner is feeling.

If what you been doing or saying has been making your partner feel unloved or disrespected what’s needed is not to prove to them how much you love them or how correct you are. The best way to improve your relationship communication is to listen for the feelings behind the words that are being said. Once you get the feelings, the exact words are less important.

How many problems do you have in your relationship?

In distressed relationships, it is important to take a good look at the things you could do to improve your current relationship. Until you have learned good relationship skills, whether you stay or leave, any relationship you get into is likely to have the same problems.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Is Marriage or couples counseling expensive?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

End of Marriage

Marriage mistakes.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How much does Marriage or couples counseling cost?

Lots of people know that they need couples counseling. They have heard about and thought about the things relationship counseling can do for them. They are considering it for all sorts of reasons. What they want to know when they ask about the price tag is often, can they afford it and then will it be worth the price.

It is unfortunate that this question comes in as often as it does. Couples counseling can help. Sometimes it helps a lot. Couples therapy can even help if you have both decided it is over and you want out. This is extra true if there are children involved.

Sometimes couples counseling can help you repair a damaged relationship. Other times it can help you both work through the decision to separate. Remember that if there are children, family, and friends or even pets to consider, the more you can agree on, the less the trauma and cost of taking this to the lawyers.

More than one couple has come in thinking it was all over and they needed to work out the details of the divorce and by the time the relationship counseling was completed they had rediscovered the things they liked about the other person and the relationship was off life support and on the mend.

Couples, married or not, should get the help they need to keep their relationship healthy and growing and the price of seeing therapist shouldn’t be the deciding factor. If there are children involved they need the help in working out the ways to make this less traumatic for the kids.

Let’s look at what is involved and then what it may cost you in time and money.

A good couples therapist can help interrupt the conflict and give you a chance to try on some new behaviors. Sometimes just finding out that what you are going through is typical for a relationship at the stage you are at can be helpful.

The counselor can give you a different way of looking at your issues and can help you develop and practice new skills. The things that brought two people together are often the things that are pushing them apart. The skills you need to start a relationship are not the skills you need to maintain one.

Once your relationship begins to change the common tendency is to blame the partner.  You think they need to change or that you need to get out of this relationship and find someone else. It is rarely that simple. Pick a partner and you get a set of problems. Change partners and you change problems, often for the worse rather than the better.

Most couples end up going to very few couple’s sessions.

The average couple, according to one study, attends couples counseling about 6 times. A few couples may opt for more sessions than that, say twelve or more. Beyond that, you are probably not working on conflicts. You will have transitioned to more of a relationship coaching situation where you are working on growing the strength of your relationship rather than trying to save it.

Some of the how long or how many sessions partially depends on the nature and seriousness of the issues. If there has been an affair the non-affair partner may need time to work on their own pain and issues separate from the couple’s issues.

We often discover that there are personal issues that one or both of the parties are working through. Hidden underneath the “couples issues” and “lack of communication” there are often long-standing serious substance use or childhood issues.

Just the dollars and cents, please.

Divorce

Divorce
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Price for couples counseling varies from area to area. In major cities, the prices can be higher but then so is the office rents and everything else. In my area, the “usual and customary” rate is on the order of $100.00 to $150.00 an hour. A few very new counselors may be lower and some old timer’s with very busy practices charge more.

Relationship issues are not considered a mental illness, even if your spouse is driving you crazy. Most medical insurance or public funding will not cover relationship issues or the coverage will be limited. There are cost-cutting things you can do. Some Employee Assistance Plans cover relationship issues. There are low-cost clinics and some counselors offer sliding fee scales for low-income people.

Relationship counseling may turn out to be a bargain.

Even if none of those options work for you and you are looking at paying out-of-pocket consider this:

How much will the divorce lawyer want for a retainer? Do the math. Six sessions at the average price that works out to six hundred to nine hundred dollars. Less than a lawyer. Less than deposits and rent for a second place. Way less than the cost of a custody dispute.

How much time and effort have you put into this relationship? There must have been some reason you two got together and stayed together besides the booze that first night.

If there is any chance of fixing this don’t you owe it to yourself to invest a few bucks in trying to make this relationship work?

One thing I have noticed also. Those people who divorce, they often end up quickly getting into a second or third relationship. A bit later those repeat relationship’s end up in therapy to work on the reasons their past relationships did not work.

My hope is that this post helps put the costs, financial and emotional, of relationship counseling into the larger perspective of the cost of abandoning a potentially good relationship, the effects on the children, family, and friends of not trying to learn how to have a good relationship.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

11 tips for more marriage miles.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Getting better marriage mileage.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Ways to get more mileage out of the marriage you have.

Marriage seems to be an endangered institution these days. Fewer people getting married and more divorces, people appear to be trading in their spouses faster than they are trading in their car. What we often find, with cars and with partners, is that there is a reason someone else is trying to trade theirs in.

Before you scrap your marriage and go shopping for a new relationship consider that whatever relationship you are in may be in need of a little refurbishing. Marriages need maintenance just like houses and cars. You may need to see a professional from time to time. That is what marriage counselors are for, but there are lots of things you can do on a daily basis to maintain that relationship before it falls apart.

Consider doing some of these activates frequently if you want your relationship to last.

1. Make couples maintenance a priority.

You’re in a relationship, you think you are past the hard part. Now that you have a partner you can focus on becoming a success in life. Not so fast.

Jobs will come and go. Life has its ups and downs regardless of the partner you are with. You may move around or change jobs. Your kids will grow up and launch out on their own. In all that living will you stay connected to your partner?

Put time spent maintaining that relationship in your schedule. Money may come and go but you only get so much life. Invest some of that time in maintaining your relationship. Otherwise, you will wake up one day and not know who this person you are living with has become.

2. Add more kind words to your relationship.

Families who are happy make kind words a staple in their emotional diet. There are plenty of times that people disagree and there will be arguments, but make an effort to say nice things to your partner.

If someone only hears about the things their partner does not like, but never hears that they are valued, they develop the belief that their partner does not see anything good in them or the relationship. For a long-lasting relationship say nice things to each other more often.

3. Touch is a two-way street.

Touch builds bonds. In early courtship couples hold hands, they snuggle and want to be close. Touch needs to be in the relationship for more than just the mechanical part of sex. Sex is good, it builds the couple relationship, but sex alone will not be enough.

Make sure you are including some hand holding, some gentle touching, and an occasional back rub or massage for a well-functioning relationship.

4. Talk more for more marriage mileage.

Humans use words for a lot more than conveying information. We think in words and we use them to express feelings. If you really want to understand your partner and to be understood, talk more. Talk not to convince them or to win the argument but to learn about each other.

Couples in the dating period do lots of talking, then they get together and there is progressively less time for talking. Life happens, the job, the kids. Over time people change. Make sure that you spend some time just talking if you want to know your partner. Otherwise one day you will wake up and discover that the two of you no longer know who this person is that you are living with.

5. Have new experiences together.

Far too many families discover when it is too late that the things of life do not make you happy. Yes, a new car or video game is enjoyable for a while but eventually, they wear out and get discarded. What you have after the things are gone are the memories.

Make memories together. You will need those good time feelings in the emotional bank when the trials of life arrive.

6. Problem solve. Use disagreements to brainstorm new solutions.

The easy solution to life’s problems is to fight for what you think you want or need. Do not blame your partner for the problems and make it all their fault. You are in this partnership together. Avoid win-lose solutions and spend some time looking for options that allow both of you to get your needs met.

Do not fall into the trap of trying to control the situation and your partner. When times are tough winning the argument can cost you the relationship.

7. Have something to look forward to.

Life should not be all grind. Have hopes and dreams and work towards them. Make sure you do not get so wound up in the work of living that you do not see the rewards down the line.

8. Do unexpected nice things.

One large meal will not fill you up for a month. Do not expect that an occasional nice thing for your partner should make them feel loved and satisfied.

In your love menu include small unexpected treats and you will maximize positive relationships.

9. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Learn to laugh at your mistakes.

Trying to be perfect can leave you perfectly alone. The perfect person is very difficult to live with. Take the pressure off you and your relationship. Learn to admit when you are wrong about something and try to fix it.

Being able to laugh at yourself is a very helpful ability. We all do silly things at times. Recognize when you do those things and do not keep trying to explain why you did that or why it is not your fault.

10. Create new together activities and interests.

Couples, like individuals, need to grow. Grow together or grow apart. It is healthy for there to be interests that your partner does not particularly share. Talk about those interests some of the time. But also make it a priority to do new things together and develop new interests. This keeps the relationship alive and growing.

11. Put more kisses on your to-do list.

Happy long-term couples kiss more. These frequent kisses are not reserved for the start of sex but are liberally sprinkled throughout the life together. Make sure that there are quiet together times for these affection gestures. While your partner is struggling with a misbehaving child or an overflowing washer may not be the best time. But sometimes those are exactly the time to stop the flow of things and interject an “I love you” and a kiss.

Those are some of my suggestions for things you might want to do to keep your relationship in top condition. Have you found any other maintenance techniques that make your relationship run better?

For more on this topic take a look at these other posts on counselorssoapbox.com

Relationships

Love

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Family Counseling for Family Problems

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Family

Family.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Can counseling help family issues?

Every family has some family problems soon or later. Some of these family problems are more serious than others. Most families try to work out their family issues without help from professionals. If you have tried the usual ways of dealing with or avoiding the problems in your family and those problems continue to cause you problems, now might be a good time to think about some family therapy.

Families may have difficulties that are unique, at least in the specifics, but there are some common issues that bring families to counseling. Here is a list of some of the more common family problems that might benefit from seeing a counselor.

You have old personal issues that need to be dealt with.

In the rosy glow of a new relationship, you may think that now your life will be better, your problems are solved. What most couples find is that it takes two mentally and emotionally healthy people to make for a healthy relationship.

If one or both of the members of this couple have unresolved life problems, they are on their way to creating an unhealthy relationship. People with serious mental illnesses can get together and develop a great relationship, but one requisite for that is that each of those two people need to work on themselves and their problem.

If one of you has “anger issues” or a substance use problem, that old issue is sure to move from being one party’s problems to being a family problem.

Trouble untying the knots to their family of origin and creating a new family.

Creating a new family unit requires navigating the sea of changing relationships from being a child in one family to being the adult in another family. Some parents find it hard to let loose of their married children. Some people, new in a relationship, keep pulling their past family into the mix.

Calling your parents or your siblings, even your friends, to discuss every piece of your couple’s relationship is likely to create a cluttered and uncomfortable relationship.

Cultures and families are or different. Some stay close forever and some quickly separate and become independent adults. If you and your partner are not in agreement on the role of parents and relatives in your new family this can create tremendous friction.

When disagreements and family problems arise, running to your family for advice and consolation can create the situation of alliances. Once you complain to your family about your new spouse you have poisoned the relationship. Do not expect to tell others your partners faults and then for them forgive them when you do.

Arguments over whose family to involve in holiday celebrations and which family’s routines and rituals to adopt are common family relationship problems.

You are not on the same page about where your family is going.

In new relationships, there are lots of expectations. There is generally a raft of things you forget to question or discuss. If religion is important to one member of the new couple, how does the other person feel? This is rarely something that will just work itself out as time goes on. Add children and the conflict grows.

If one person is a drinker or a drug user and the other person is in recovery this becomes a huge issue. Are you two in agreement about the role partying and drinking will play in your couple’s life? If one of you quit will the other quit also or will they sabotage your recovery to enable their continued use of a substance of abuse.

Your love fantasy can’t stand reality.

When you first fall in love you tend to idealize your new partner. The man is Prince Charming the woman is Cinderella. That all fades as the magic dust wears off.

Prince Charming turns into the troll and Cinderella becomes the ugly stepsister. If you had an unrealistic expectation of your partner and of what family life with them would be like, you are headed for trouble.

Stressful times cause family issues.

Life is full of stress. Being a family can make for more stress not less. Sharing the burden can lighten the load, but the load gets heavy the longer you carry it. What will happen to your relationship when life drops its stress on your couple relationship?

Unemployment, sickness, economic hardship are all likely in life. Some days are good ones and some are not.

Lifespan events magnify family problems.

Certain events happen whether you are prepared for them or not. Couples have children and the children grow and change. Or you plan on children and they do not materialize. Jobs come and go. You grow older. What used to be fun isn’t anymore. Then one day you begin to face growing older. The children leave the nest and you wonder what happened to the person you married. What happened to you?

Creating a family ended the couple.

Some couples discover that in the process of creating a family they lost the relationship between them. The years go by and if you do not work on being a couple you may find that you have nothing left once the children leave.

Some people compensate for this by trying to stay a part of their children’s lives. They can become the over-involved meddling parents that caused them problems early on. Other people separate or divorce. With no children left they can’t find anything they still have in common.

Baggage and Blending create family problems.

So you get together and you break up and then you get together again? In this process rather than reducing your pile of problems, you may well increase them.

Certainly, there are great second marriages. But each partner comes with a set of problems and changing partners does not eliminate your problems, it just offers you more issues to work on.

Now you have not just yours, mine and ours, problems, but also exes and their new spouse problems along with step and half, and so on family issues.

If these or other family problems are distressing you and your family consider getting professional help. An independent third person in the room can facilitate talking through and resolving your family issues. Marriage and Family therapists are specially trained in working to help families create their happy life.

Does your family have family problems you need to work through?

For more posts on Family issues see:  Family Problems

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

8 Ways to improve your couple’s communication.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Talking to yourself

Communication.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Improving couples communication takes time and practice.

Problems communicating is a common complaint in distressed couples. To improve communication between you and your partner will involve a lot more than simply spending more time talking with each other. If your communication is conveying the wrong message more of the same is only rehearsing the problem.

Here are 8 tips to see that your communication with your partner takes you in the direction you want to go.

1. Develop a “fund” of positive feelings in your relationship.

If all you ever hear from an important person in your life is negativity, you stop listening. Your relationship needs to include lots of positive communication with your partner when times are good.

Create happy interactions as frequently as possible to carry you through the times of conflict. If the only time you communicate with your partner is when you “need to talk” talking becomes painful and eventually stops.

It only takes a few angry hurtful statements to wash away the love in a relationship. Make sure you have communicated the positive messages frequently so that they do not get lost during the conflicts.

2. Discover ways to make your partner feel loved.

Communication can’t be restricted to the verbal channel. What your partner sees you doing and how you act carries a lot of the communication burden. Some people feel really loved when they receive gifts. But if you work all the time to pay for presents, your lack of presence in the relationship can damage your ability to communicate.

3. Ask for what you need.

If your relationship is not meeting your needs, consider that it may be because you are not asking to have your needs met.

Far too many people believe that their partner should know what they need and provide it without them asking. Unfortunately, we often have difficulty figuring out what we need and want, let alone know how to meet our partner’s needs.

Very few people are successful at reading their partner’s mind. Thinking that your partner should have that ability if they really love you will result in poor communication.

4. Fight fair – do not criticize your partner.

Many couples use a scorched earth approach to their disagreements. When there are conflicts limit your communication to the topic at hand.

The goal should be to resolve the disagreement not to see how much damage you can inflict on your partner. Keep your comments to the behaviors you want the partner to change not global descriptions of their character.

Saying that you feel more loved when he cleans up after himself can be helpful. Telling him he is a pig, was raised in a barn and his mother is the biggest sow around, are all the sort of personal attacks that will cut off communication.

If you try to destroy your partner during conflicts, your relationship, along with your couple’s communication will be collateral damage.

5. Look for win-win solutions to improve communication.

Winning arguments at the cost of your partner losing results in an impoverished relationship. Work on finding ways you both can get your needs met in the relationship rather than keeping score on who is winning the most.

Listening to really understand your partner’s wants and needs will improve communication. Finding solutions to disagreements where you both win will make your relationship a winner.

6. Make “I” statements to improve communications.

To improve communication talk about how you feel.  Rather than saying that your partner “makes you feel -” Let them know that you feel sad, hurt etc. when they do a particular action.

Own your feelings and your partner will learn how you are feeling. More understanding is the road to empathy. More criticism and blame will not improve your couple’s communication.

7. Avoid going for the jugular when you two disagree.

When conflicts grow heated and intense the temptation is to say and do the thing that will hurt your partner the most. It may feel good at the moment to get even and inflict some pain on your partner but over the long run, the thing that gets destroyed is your relationship.

8. Pick a good time for important communications.

When you partner is running late for work is not the time to start a serious conversation. Just before lovemaking is not the time to bring up your complaint about their behavior. When people are under stress, are sad, depressed, hungry or feeling other intense emotions they will find it hard to consider their partner’s point of view.

Pick a time when you two can have a leisurely conversation to work on areas that require deep communication.

If you discover that your joint life is always full of hurry and conflict? What then? Do you just keep putting off that communication? You shouldn’t. Many relationship failures are the result of conversations that couples should have had but never got around to.

Set a time and stick to it. This joint problem solving to set that time to discuss couples communication may be just the impetus to get your communication back on track.

If you have been trying to get your couples communication on track but it does not appear to be getting better consider seeing a professional relationship counselor. Seeing a couples counselor does not mean your relationship is over. It may be just the thing you need to repair the breaches.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Relationship mistakes to avoid

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Couple not talking

Unhappy relationship.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How many of these relationship mistakes do you make?

Thinking that relationships should be easy is a mistake.

Relationship Mistakes

Relationship Mistakes
Photo courtesy of Flickr (Ed Yourdon)

Life is difficult sometimes, so are relationships.

If there are tough times in your relationship that does not mean that this is a bad relationship. Any relationship you will ever be in will have rough patches.

Some people think that a great relationship should always be good. When the bad times come they mistakenly believe this means the relationship was never good.

Having struggles does not mean the relationship is doomed.

Believing the other person can make you happy is a mistake.

Two unhappy people do not make for a happy relationship. Learn to be happy by yourself and then in a relationship you can have even better times. Thinking that it is your partner’s job to make you happy is a recipe for disaster.

Occasionally someone can help you feel happy for the short run but in the lifelong time frame you need to work on your happiness and your partner needs to work on theirs. Together two happy people can be even better.

Don’t think that one mistake and the relationship is over.

No one will ever be perfect. If you jettison your partner over a single mistake you will run through a lot of partners. Some “mistakes” may be on your no-way list. Make these clear to your partner early on. But if your partner turns out to not be perfect at everything on your wish list, this means that they are human, not that the relationship is hopeless.

Don’t think that you have to trust completely about everything.

There are levels of trust. Set your expectations too high and you will set yourself up to feel like you can’t trust your partner. You should be able to trust that your partner cares and that they will make a good effort at the relationship but if they forget an appointment or they do not remember something important to you this does not mean you can’t trust them.

If you have trust issues look at yourself and decide if you would trust you. Many people find they have set the standard for others above what they expect from themselves. Set your expectations for other humans too high and you are engineering failure.

Avoid thinking that you need to tell your partner everything.

Too much honesty can be a relationship wrecker. You do not need to tell your partner all the things they do wrong. (See the post – Just being honest – 5 times telling the truth is a bad thing .)

There are some things you partner can bear to hear. If you run to them with every hurt and disappointment you may overload them. If you have personal issues you need to work on, consider seeing a therapist. Your partner is too involved in your life to be able to listen to all your past issues.

Your partner should always be there for you.

Life is compromises. We expect our partners to be there for us during the big things but remember that your partner needs to balance the other parts of their life. Most partners come with families, friends and hopefully jobs. While you should be your partners top priority that does not mean that they can drop everything and be at your beck and call. People who expect too much togetherness set the relationship up for failure.

Trying to fit your partner in between other things doesn’t work.

Just like you can’t expect your partner to always be there, relationships do not work if that partner is never there for you. Make sure you are each other’s top priority. Family and friends have their own lives. Jobs will come and go. Eventually, the children grow up and start their own lives. A life partner should be there the whole way.

Make sure the two of you carve out time for the couple relationship.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.