Conquering Fears in Relationships

shutterstock_105933593  Fear. It can take over your thoughts, and in turn you can build up so many walls and blocks that you end up feeling alone and misunderstood. So many of us long for a meaningful relationship to another person, but it is fear that gets in the way. Fear of rejection, fear of judgement, fear of abandonment and fear of trust are just a few of the many fears that we must overcome in order to gain a meaningful relationship.

Fear of rejection is all about self-confidence and self esteem. It stops us from chasing after our dreams because we do not want to be turned down or fall. Every no we receive brings us closer to the door with the possibility of a yes, that is why it is so important to work through your fear of rejection and learn to cope rather than avoid.

shutterstock_123809797Fear of judgement stems from not having fully accepted ourselves. We are our own harshest critics. Full self-love and acceptance can change that, although we can never be 100% of anything 100% of the time. It does not mean that everyone thinks the way you do about yourself. People’s judgements on others have very little to do with the person being judged. It has much more to do with the person doing the judging. Their own insecurities come out against others. People will judge no matter what situation you are in, but it should matter not what they think, but what you think about yourself.

A fear of abandonment is within all of us, but the severity is based solely on our personal experiences in the past. With some it is much closer to the surface. A fear of abandonment can manifest in several different ways, the most apparent of which is the need to be clingy and demanding. Another way people cope with the fear of abandonment is rejecting their partner before they themselves are rejected, running away from relationships before they have reached their full potential. And finally, there are those who will change their whole entire person to become the “perfect” partner for the person that they are interested in. These coping skills are poor and maladaptive, which can cause train-wreck relationships to become normal. This is where being able to develop trust in your partner is so important.shutterstock_107413730

The fear of trust is a big deal in relationships, romantic or otherwise. It is a pretty common occurrence. We have all been hurt by someone we trusted, someone who decided that what they wanted was more important than our trust. But we have to keep in mind that we cannot punish everyone else for that person’s mistakes, especially when seeking out new relationships. It is perfectly normal to have a period of trust building and cautiousness in the beginning of a relationship. However, at some point we have to decide whether or not we can trust the other person. Trust is the foundation of every good relationship, and without it, you don’t really have a relationship at all.

But how do we overcome these fears? Well, it is a daily struggle. It takes a lot of reflection and deep inner work to break through these defenses. We have not only the outside opinions to combat with, but the internal ones as well. Our brain is pretty good at talking us out of things, but sometimes we just have to ignore it and take a leap of faith. Relationships, especially romantic ones, carry a lot of risk which is reasonable to be unsure of. But if we are unwilling to accept that risk, we may just lose out on having someone wonderful in our lives.

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More Than Just Talk: Effective Communication Between You and Your Significant Other

shutterstock_47090224  Communication is so important in every relationship that we are a part of. We need to be able to clearly express our feelings and desires to those we are involved with in order to have our needs met. This is especially true to having a successful relationship with your significant other. In order for communication to be strong later in a relationship, it is necessary to have a good foundation built on honesty, openness, and trust. Good communication aides in both arguments and important decisions (i.e. children, life goals, etc.) put your communication skills to the test. So what is good communication? To fully explore this, we first need to take a look at what dysfunctional and functional communication looks like.

Have you ever been in a relationship in which talking to your partner was frustrating and painful? Did they shut down during arguments? Was there a lack of trust and honesty? If the answer to these questions is yes, chances are the communication between you and your partner was dysfunctional. Some characteristics/behaviours that can be considered dysfunctional communication include:

  • Shutting down during arguments (giving the silent treatment when angry, getting increasingly impatient and angry when participating in emotional conversations)
  • Lack of trust (inability to open up about true feelings and refusal to participate in meaningful/heartfelt exchanges)
  • Dishonesty (telling “half-truths” or just not telling the truth at all, hiding things in order to avoid having a conversation about it)
  • Actively ignoring (making an effort to “tune out” or not engage in conversation at all on a consistent basis)
  • Abusive and hurtful language (swearing, name calling, and put downs being used on a consistent basis during arguments and everyday conversations)

Dysfunctional communication can have huge consequences in a relationship, including shutterstock_33262939constant turmoil and arguments between you and your partner. It is possible to move from dysfunctional communication to functional communication, but what does functional communication look like?

Functional communication is, at its most basic level, effective and meaningful conversations between you and your partner that deepen trust, allow for openness, and promote full disclosure and honesty. Some characteristics/behaviours that can be considered functional communication include:

  • Ability to be vulnerable with your partner (being able to be open and honest about sensitive topics (past traumas, true feelings) as well as being respectful of your partner’s feelings and experiences)
  • Actively listening to your partner (engaging in the conversation through acknowledging them (nodding, eye contact) as well as responding appropriately and fully)
  • Trusting your partner
  • Ability to be honest with your partner (completely and fully expressing your true feelings about important things, as well as expressing your frustrations and anger in a healthy way)

Although the differences between dysfunctional and functional communication seem vast, it is possible in some relationships to repair past damage and move forward to more effective communication.

As in any relationship, gaining effective communication requires a lot of hard work. Having good communication with your partner is not going to happen overnight, but below are some suggestions to help you and your partner communicate more effectively.

Speak honestly about how you feel. Let your partner know when you are angry with them, or when you are hurting, instead of shutting down. Shutting down can create resentment which can destroy a relationship.

Find ways to gain trust with your partner. This is not an easy task. Past experience can taint your ability to trust in another person, however, working through this and providing your partner with opportunities to gain your trust can do wonders for communication. Give your partner every opportunity to put their trust in you, and work towards gaining their trust.

shutterstock_71759158Pick your battles and learn to fight fairly. Before engaging your partner in an argument, think about your motives for arguing. Understand that arguments are not about winning or losing, but about learning to compromise and see both perspectives. Well arguments are completely normal in relationships, it is important that you fight fairly. Avoid using harsh and hurtful language when arguing with your partner. Words often do much more damage than we are aware of, and some of these wounds are irreparable.

Communication is the foundation of human interaction. That is why it is so important that you are able to effectively communicate with your significant other. Developing a healthy way of connecting to your partner will not only bring you closer together, but increase your happiness and stability within the relationship.

Spicing Up Your Sex Life: Tantra

shutterstock_92960689 Spicing up your sex life is something that many couples wish for. Restoring some of the passion and desire in your sexual relationship is something that is possible. Practicing Tantra can be a great way to look at sex between you and your partner in a new way. Tantra is about uniting body, mind, spirit with your partner and with the divine. Your ultimate goal is for the unity of sexuality and spirituality, not orgasm.

Tantra is the sacred art of sex and unity. It involves a variety of exercises, that increase the length of lovemaking and are meant to bring you and your partner closer together. Some of the exercises include breathing, contractions, sound, and visualization. Tantra is a multi-stage lovemaking that can take your sex life to a whole other level. So lets take a look at the Tantric Stages.

Creating a Sacred Space is the first stage in Tantra. Any space can be a sacred space, but it has to be somewhere that you are both going to be comfortable and relaxed. Cleaning the room, using candles, and cleansing the room of negative thoughts/energies, are essential to this stage. Thinking about your intentions for the night are important. Think about how much you love your partner, how much you care for them, and think positively about the activity to come.

The Lover’s Purifying Bath is meant to wash away the worries and thoughts surrounding you both. Having a shower or bath together is a great way to ignite the spark of passion that will be needed for the events to come. It should be a slow and sensual process, allowing you and your partner to explore each other’s bodies and enjoy spending time together.

Foreplay is a great time to talk to your lover. Let them know how much you care forsexAddiction them, how much you love them, and how much you respect them. Make sure that what you are saying is 100% true, otherwise there is no meaning behind your words. Make your lover believe what you are telling them. Foreplay is also the time to tune into your lover. Harmonize your breathing and look into each other’s eyes while you slowly explore the other’s body. Exploration can include caressing, touching, and kissing. While exploring, go slowly! Find new ways of touching and kissing your partner, instead of just going straight for the sweet spots. Ask your partner questions about what turns them on, and do your best to do things that they like.

Intercourse during Tantra can last for hours. For this to happen, lubrication is absolutely essential. Good lubrication can be achieved through a clitoral orgasm, or using some sort of personal lubricant. To make the intercourse last longer, it should be interspersed with oral play, touching and kissing.

The Passion Pump is all about remaining in sync with your partner. Women want to use vaginal contractions along with their man penetrating them in order to achieve this synchronization. Men, just lay with your penis inside of her vagina and allow her to squeeze you using her vaginal contractions.

Afterplay is different in Tantric lovemaking. During regular lovemaking, it ends with ejaculation. With Tantra, love making ends when/how you want it to. Wind down from your passionate Tantric lovemaking with caressing, talking, cuddling, or anything else that you and your partner enjoy.

Tantra is a great alternative to traditional sex. It can reignite the spark between you and your partner, something that is wished for by many partners. Taking the time to get to know your partner in an intimate way, can bring you closer together than you might have imagined.

Sexual Addiction

 shutterstock_127216079Addiction comes in many forms, which is why it should be no surprise that sex can also become an addiction. Sexual addiction is much more than just having sex several times frequently. It is a combination of behaviours and thoughts that interfere with normal daily functioning. Sexual addiction is still not a widely accepted concept, and was even left out of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).

However, sexual addiction is a very real problem. You feel out of control of your sexual behaviours and thoughts, often leading to frequent conquests and sexual habits that interfere with your everyday routine. You will act impulsively, and ineffectively try to reduce, control, or stop these behaviours. You will feel the need to continually sate your sexual desires, and continue to engage in sexual activity until you are satisfied.

As with other addictions, there is a lot of shame and guilt surrounding sexual addiction. It is important to keep in mind that despite your past actions, you still deserve love and to be treated with respect. And the sooner you seek help, the sooner you can begin to live a life that you love. There are several different approaches to treatment that can be effective depending on your situation.shutterstock_86165410

Sexual addiction does not have to control your life. You can take charge of your life, one small step at a time. By seeking professional help and peer support, recovery is possible. Recovery is a lifelong process, but anything is possible if you are determined and willing to put in the work. Transform your thoughts, motivate your body, and awaken your potential.

Pornography: Addiction and Communication

shutterstock_71881093  Pornography is something that many people avoid conversation about. The truth is, many of us have watched/saw porn at some point in our lives, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is perfectly normal in this day in age, with pornography being just a mouse-click away. Pornography is being used for a way to find our sexual selves, explore fetishes and situations which we may not experience in our own lives. Pornography is also being used as a way to enhance our sexual pleasure.

Pornography is very much a double-edge sword. On one hand, it is a great way to spice up your sex life, enhance your solo sessions, and allow you to explore your sexuality in a way which might not otherwise be possible. On the other hand, many of the women/men give an unrealistic goal for your sexual partners, both in their technique and their physicality. In reality, there are not many women other than adult actresses that look, dress, and act like they do in pornography. For men, this can definitely be a problem.

With unrealistic expectations due to the adult film industry, men are often left unsatisfied with their sex life. There are many men who can watch pornography and still have great sex, however, there are also those who seek out more “pornography-style” sex with partners. Not many women are willing to participate in the kind of sex these men are looking for, and this is where pornography becomes the prefershutterstock_68280889ence for these men.

Pornography addiction is a real and serious problem. There are men who will sit and watch pornography for hours on end, finding satisfaction in that aspect of their sex life rather than in a partner that can reciprocate. Pornography addiction can make it difficult to become aroused by a partner in real life, leading to more sexual dysfunction which can cause the person to distance themselves even further from real-life sex.

Pornography can cause a lot of problems in a marriage if there is not an open line of communication between both parties. Let’s expand upon this using an example.

Frank and Louise have been married for 13 years. They have 2 children, 12 and 10. Frank says their sex life died pretty quickly after Louise gave birth to their second child, and admits that he watches porn frequently. He says that he is still very much attracted to Louise, but just finds that she is often “too tired” or just disinterested. Frank states that he enjoys having sex with Louise, but he would enjoy it if it happened more frequently. Louise says she misses being intimate with Frank, as they once had a very active sex life. Louise, however, has trouble initiating because she finds that Frank does not seem that interested in her. Louise knows that Frank enjoys porn, but does not know how to talk to him about it because he gets defensive and shuts down. Both are adamant about loving the other, they just long for intimacy.

Основные RGBNow this is a classic case of lack of communication. Because the lines of communication are closed between Frank and Louise, they don’t know that they both want the same thing- a healthy sex life. Frank is clearly uncomfortable speaking to Louise about watching pornography. Louise doesn’t seem to have a problem with Frank watching porn. She does however have a problem that it is done in secret. She also feels intimidated by the adult actresses because her body does not match theirs after having two children. Frank’s obsession with the porn is the easy way out for him. He doesn’t have to engage in a conversation about porn with Louise if they don’t talk at all.  If Frank and Louise could have an open and honest conversation about porn and their sex life, they may just find their spark again.

When pornography goes from watching to addiction, it can cause some serious social, spiritual, and emotional problems for the person that is addicted. We need to keep in mind that the men and women in porn do not experience real sexual intimacy like you do with your partner. This sexual intimacy is coupled with a willingness to be vulnerable and honest. Shame often keeps us from having open and honest discussions with ourselves and others, but watching porn is nothing to be ashamed of. It is perfectly normal to engage in a behaviour that fills a primal need. Pornography is like most things in life- good in moderation, but potentially dangerous when abused.

Committing to Each Other: Things You Might Not Have Considered Before Getting Married

shutterstock_59837878 Getting married is a huge step in any relationship. Proposing, planning, and celebrating the marriage are all exciting and stressful times. During this time, you and your future spouse need to be having some important conversations. There are many things that you may not have realised that you didn’t know about the other person. There are many opinions that they may hold that you didn’t know about. Some of these can be deal-breakers in many marriages. The following is a list of things that you and your spouse might want to talk about before making a decision to get married.shutterstock_32536009

  1. Do you want children? Well it is a conversation that many people will have after they are married, having the conversation before getting married is important. If you do not know that your partner is someone that does not want children at all and you really want children, this will pose a problem. While it is possible for someone to change their mind, it is still important to have this conversation. This helps both people to come to an understanding about expectations and goals.

  2. Who is responsible for household chores? If you have been living together for a while, there may already be an established routine that works well for you. But what happens if one of you loses your job? What happens if/when you have children? This is an important conversation to have. Often times one or both people in a relationship will start “keeping score” on who does what around the house. This is guaranteed to start arguments and lead to resentment as well as hurt feelings. It is also important to make sure that your partner feels appreciated. A simple thank you for a doing dishes can make a huge difference.

  3. Who is going to be responsible for the finances? This decision is a crucial one. You both may be bringing money into the relationship, however, how you handle the finances in your marriage can prevent fights. Having an understanding about big purchases and budgeting, is a great way to prevent arguments. Making sure that both partners understand the expectations of the other is an important thing. Money is often the start of major fights in relationships. It is much easier to have a plan when it comes to paying bills and balancing the checkbook.

  4. Where are you going to live? There needs to be agreement on where you and your spouse are going to be living (city, neighbourhood, close to family, far from family, etc.). Your spouse may want to live in a specific area. Are you going to be willing to compromise if that is not exactly what you want? You also have to discuss what will happen if one of you receives a job in another area. Will your spouse (and possible children) move with you? Are you going to commute? All of these questions are essential to finding a safe and stable place to build a family.

  5. Where are you going to spend the holidays? This can be a point for contention whether you realise it or not. Determining beforehand which relatives you are going to visit during the holidays/on which holidays and if you are going to be staying with relatives, can save arguments during an already stressful time. Your spouse may not get along with your family or visa versa. Making sure that you and your spouse can enjoy your holidays together is the end goal.Basic RGB

  6. Life Insurance/Will? You and your partner should discuss your life insurance (if you are going to have any) early on. The amount you are going to spend, what policy you are going to go with, and who is going to be the beneficiary/what the money will be used for in the event of your death is important. Developing a will (especially if you have children) can protect you and your loved ones.

 

Combining two previously separate lives is a large task. Often times couples don’t have the conversations that they need to have in order to function as a happy and cohesive unit. By having the important conversations ahead of time, you can avoid a lot of arguments and enjoy all the joys a marriage can bring.shutterstock_87748405

Building a Successful Relationship

Human connection and acceptance are something that we all strive for. It is part of our nature to want to have a partner, to have someone that we connect with on a deeper level than just friendship. Relationships are an important part of our socialization as human beings. However, relationships that just don’t work and leave us with a bad taste in our mouth are an almost inevitable part of dating.Basic RGBGetting past the stage of just dating to being in a committed relationship is a large step for most people. After being burnt by others, it can often times be hard to accept and reciprocate the love for someone that you are close to. You may know that you love them but it may be hard for you to show the person that you love that you are in love with them. This can be a relationship killer.

Honesty, trust, and communication are the key pieces to a healthy and successful relationship. Without one, it is like a tricycle is missing a wheel; you won’t be going anywhere any time soon because your tricycle just doesn’t work. Building trust with the person that you are seeing is a great way to open up the lines of communication and having an honest relationship.

Trust is something that is hard to earn but very easily broken. Being completely honest with the person that you care about is a great way to earn trust. This does not mean that you need to tell them every detail of your thoughts, but you do need to be honest about who you are and what you are about.

When entering into a relationship, it is important at some point to make it clear what both parties expect from the relationship. This is so that there is no confusion around things like seeing others and cheating. Unclear boundaries can lead one or both of those involved to pushing the boundaries of the relationship to a point where there is resentment for committed indiscretions.

Cheating is seen as something that is nearly impossible for any couple to recover from. There are some relationships that do fully recover, but it takes a lot of time and hard work for healing and movement forward. Healing and taking the time to talk to your partner about what has happened is essential to pulling through cheating. However, cheating is often times just swept under the rug or pushed deep inside left to fester and grow. This is a breeding ground for resentment within a relationship.shutterstock_87748405Relationships aren’t easy. They take a lot of time, work and dedication. A happy and healthy relationship is something that is possible, but it requires the above mentioned. The important thing to remember is that loving yourself comes first in a relationship. Being happy and comfortable in your own skin will attract people that are like minded. Love yourself and the rest will follow.