What is Emotional Abuse?

Physical abuse is fairly easy to diagnose, while on the other hand, emotional abuse is more vague and can be confusing for someone who is not experienced in determining what is emotional abuse.

Physical abuse and emotional abuse share the same cycle of abuse. In this way, they are similar, though emotional abuse is often confused with difficult communication which is a necessary component in a successful relationship. It is important (non-abusive and respectful of the relationship) to understand what constitutes emotional abuse.

The effects of an emotional abuser often go unnoticed at first and build over time in a relationship, until it finally dawns on the victim that emotional abuse has occurred. Also, it is so easy to jump to a conclusion when your partner suddenly says or does something that you don’t like, then to accuse them of emotional abuse. Doing so would be a form of emotional abuse. ‘Ere the need to have your wits about you and know what is and what is not emotional abuse.

What is Emotional Abuse?

Emotional abuse comes in basically four categories, disrespect, controlling, accusatory, and isolative.

Disrespect

Disrespectful emotional abuse includes an underlying tone which threatens how you feel about yourself, is often critical, makes you feel valueless, or humiliated. Some of the verbal tools used by the emotional abuser may include words like, stupid, idiot, or retard.

They will assault your character, call you childish, or when they don’t like what you’re saying or doing, challenge you to, “act like a grownup,” suggest you, “put on your big boy pants,” or, “man up.”

They will take pot shots, embarrassing you in public, are sarcastic, insulting, and make you the brunt of their jokes in public. Off-screen, they assure you they were just joking, so you shouldn’t take it personally. After all, he or she was just having fun (at your expense).

They are patronizing, like, “Oh don’t worry your little self. No one would expect too much from you. You’re just doing the best you can with what you have.” Possibly accompanied by an eye-roll or some other gesture which communicates exactly how disrespectful they are being.

They push your buttons, to make you fly off the handle, then accuse you of lacking sanity or self-control.

And the worst of them are loud. They raise their voices, assert threatening postures, and/or other body language to intimidate or threaten you.

Controlling

Threats are a huge component for controllers. They will threaten to take off with your child, harm you (fully awake or in your sleep), your family, your friends, or pet, and if that doesn’t work, they may threaten to engage in self-harm or threaten to commit suicide to get you to comply with their demand, or threaten to leave and abandon you.

They need to know everything about you all the time; what you’re doing, where you’re doing it, in the presence of whom, and for how long. Often demanding a minute by minute play by play reporting. Any lack of verifiable evidence is cause for suspicion and false accusations, putting you on the defensive.

They are paranoid, always suspicious, and are susceptible to spying, digital monitoring, may even demand access to your phone, social media accounts, browsing history, and email.

They make promises they have no intention of keeping, and make decisions without consulting with you, which may include making plans, canceling plans, making financial decisions, or any other method of usurping their control over you with no regard for you or your input.

They go on and on, lecturing you to utter boredom, when all you can do is hear the dull roar of a sociopathic monologue, then they get mad and attack you because you’re not paying attention.

Controllers bark their demands, then expect you to “snap to,” in complete compliance without questioning their authority.

Expect controllers to suddenly blow up or emotionally explode when you forget the slightest detail of any demand they may have had (then brace yourself for another lengthy lecture or a laundry list of threats).

Trying to accommodate a controller might be enough to drive you crazy because they will be so constant and relentless with their demands and expectations, that no normal person could possibly keep up with it, which makes you inadequate in their eyes, and they won’t be shy about letting you know that you let them down, reminding you of your shortfalls periodically along the way.

Accusatory

You are to blame for everything while they remain superior and flawless. Better get used to everything being your fault.

They excel at being green monsters of jealousy with the potential to go into an accusatory rage because you are an unfaithful cheater and cannot be trusted.

They will flip any unfortunate circumstance to be your fault, even if it was clearly their doing that presented the difficult situation.

Do not accept any responsibility from the accusatory emotional abuser because they never do anything wrong. If it’s not you they are blaming, it’s someone or something else. They are always the victim.

If you try to get them to own up to their abuse, oh no, it’s not their being abusive, it’s you who is the abuser. Wake up and get it straight.

You will always be indebted to them so they can use guilt to persuade you to comply because of what they did for you, and you owe them.

And if you caught them red-handed in the act? Nope. Didn’t happen. They weren’t even there and had nothing to do with it. It’s all just your jealous overactive imagination and unbridled insecurity which makes you crazy and delusional.

Isolative

They will create a social vacuum for you to exist within, where nothing else exists except for you and the emotional abuser. Say, “goodbye” to family and friends because the emotional abuser wants you totally dependent on him or her for any of your needs.

And your needs will never be as important as the emotional abuser’s needs, so don’t expect many of them to be provided because his or her needs will always come before yours.

The emotional abuse will be framed in a construct of militaristic restraints. You will be expected to comply with your emotional abuser’s demands, or else. Not unlike an abusive Drill Sergeant, you are expected to, “Jump when I say jump.” And your response better not be, “Why?” It better be, “How high?” followed by your body being in the air or else you will suffer the consequences.

Alternatively, the isolative emotional abuser will isolate you from him or her, punishing you by cutting you off, ignoring you, refusing to communicate with you, or withholding positive attention, intimacy, or sex.

If you try to express your concerns, they will belittle you, accuse you of being needy or immature. If you react by responding emotionally or be moved to tears, they will not acknowledge your feelings and ignore or act annoyed by your being emotionally expressive, which is clearly unacceptable behavior.

What is not emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse is not your partner’s response which is not what you want to hear. Everyone is different, we all have our own ideas about what we want and how we expect to be treated in a relationship. You must respect your partner’s right to express him- or herself in any way that works for him or her.

Disagreeing, arguing, even fighting amongst couples is not necessarily emotional abuse even though it can cause you emotional pain. Difficult conversations even fighting are necessary parts of a deeply personal relationship between two different people.

When someone asserts how they feel, which may be blunt, and can potentially hurt your feelings, try not to take it personally. Everyone is entitled to feel how they feel, and you should feel blessed that they feel safe enough to let you get access to these deepest parts of them which are probably hidden from others in their life.

Yelling does not indicate emotional abuse, although a hysterical emotional outburst would probably be a tool used by the emotional abuser. In a healthy relationship, if someone temporarily loses emotional control, a healthy couple will take a break, allow the emotions to calm, then talk it out.

Raising one’s voice can be a learned method of communication for expressing one’s self. As this person grows, he or she might be able to learn new methods of communication as you grow as a couple and learn more positive forms of communication.

Unless it is a threat used to control you, it is not emotionally abusive to end a relationship. This happens and should be honored, with as much grace as your ability to muster, even though it may feel as if it is devastating.

Healthy communication is the holy grail of successful relationships.

What Can You Do if You Catch Your Partner Lying?

Everyone lies. We do it for all kinds of reasons; to make life easier on us, on those we care about, on the behalf of someone else, to be polite, and to outright deceive and defraud on purpose. But what can you do if you catch your partner lying?

You love and trust your partner. Without trust, where is the love? When you catch your partner lying, you feel as though you’ve been stabbed in the back, punched in the gut, or so disrespected or disregarded that you don’t know if you can think straight. What can you do?

Nobody will deny you your right to feel bad about being lied to, that’s a given. We’ve all been in the same boat, for who of us has made it through life without being lied to of deceived. Sometimes people can be harmfully deceitful without saying a word, as is the case of lying by omission.

Yes, even not saying anything is in order to cover something up or avoid being truthfully honest (lying by omission) is a venial sin. It doesn’t mean you have to be rudely open and honest, just to tell the truth, and if you love someone, be honest lovingly. Tell the truth in a way that respects your partner. Be gentle and speak your truth with grace and love, even if it is difficult. Nobody expects you to be perfect.

If you’ve caught your partner lying, don’t sweep it under the carpet or try to gloss it over. Dishonesty in a relationship will cause your trust to rust, and leads to the erosion of your love, especially if you’re harboring the truth about your knowledge of the deceit or dishonesty and not saying anything about it (lying by omission). Even you are a guilty enabler by engaging in the dishonesty.

Get it out in the open. Relationships go through periods of varying levels of comfort and discomfort, it’s the nature of two people sharing one life. It is all part of the growth process. If there is no conflict, there can be no growth, which leaves you with stagnation. Where is the life in that? You might be able to get by, but you can forget thriving in a relationship which is a cesspool.

Grab your grown-up skivvies and get ready for some gentle conversation about your awareness that something’s not adding up. As in all difficult conversations, create a safe space to frame the conversation and avoid being accusatory. This is about creating an environment where its safe to be honest. Avoid jumping-in, interrupting, or otherwise preventing your partner from fully sharing. Take notes on paper, if you have to, but let them speak their truth in peace.

Let them say whatever it is, without interruption, or else he or she will get defensive, and the flow of open communication will stop if your partner feels like he or she needs to take the defensive position.

Once you’ve actively heard what your partner needs to say, and you’ve affirmed that you’ve understood the key points by paraphrasing them back to him or her, now your partner owes you the same respect to hear what you have to say about it.

Check with your heart and center yourself. Take a cleansing breath, then speak your heart in love. Again, be honest, but try to avoid being harsh. If your feelings have been hurt, say so, but try to use words that are not abrupt or frightening. Remember you are expressing how you feel, so start your sentences with “I,” or, “I feel like,” and avoid starting any statement with, “You.”
Trust your intuition. When you feel like something just isn’t right. In most cases, something isn’t right. If your partner gives a perfectly good explanation, and it doesn’t feel right, you probably know by experience that something has most always been amiss when you’ve had feelings, like that, in the past.

Deciding whether you can live with this or not is only something you must decide for yourself. Everybody’s different, and we all can tolerate different degrees of what our partners are allowed to do or not do within the confines of our relationships.

Even though magazines and tabloids will gibe you a list of do’s and don’ts in black and white, there really is no strict guideline for what is and is not acceptable in a successful relationship. Each couple must figure out for themselves what works for them.

Forgiveness in a loving relationship goes a long way. For the repeat offender, you might think about negotiating new paradigms for the expansion of your relationship, or if you are unable to come to a workable compromise, it might be time to look for a better match for your true love to emerge.

It’s your love life. It’s up to you.

Love, love, love. Love like it’s all that matters because it is. And if you dare, think about loving unconditionally.

I love you no matter what.

Relationship Repeat Offender

Your partner has done it again, and here you are finding yourself caught up in yet another round of the same ol’ thing that you got in an argument the last time. You ask yourself, why are we always fighting over the same old thing(s)? What can you do about your relationship repeat offender?

Here you are again, standing your ground and willing to risk all over this issue that keeps on coming up and simply will not go away. It’s as if your partner refuses to listen, or doesn’t care about your feelings at all, which makes you even more upset, angry, or outraged.

If you can think back to when you were a child, you will probably remember your parents arguing over some of the same issues over and over again, too. Generally, this is where you learn how to act in relationships, and even if you’ve vowed never to be in a relationship like your mom and dad, here you are.

You don’t do it on purpose, but subconsciously, you’ve set your relationship the same way, because it “feels like home.” I know, it’s bizarre, but it’s perfectly normal.

Pattern Interrupt

Once you realize this, though, you can choose to approach the relationship repeat offender scenario differently. When you see this issue coming up and feel your anxiety building, you can remember what it was like watching your parents and choose a different tactic.

What if in your recollection of your parents’ recurring argument, if you could go back in time and play the part of either of your parents, how could you have done it better? This may give you an idea of what you might try differently in the present.

Taking this momentary reflective pause gives you a chance to apply a new approach to the scenario as an alternative to just launching into your normal responsive reaction when you’re triggered (and you already know what to expect from that), thereby interrupting the old pattern.

When you try a different approach, you open up a world of possibilities for a different outcome, a better result from your previous style of approaching this issue. Everything is not always black and white, and you’d be surprised how much closer you and your partner could be if you throw in a dash of tolerance or compromise into the mix.

If your first line of defense is to post up and ready for battle (or flee) this is learned behavior which you have embraced as a survival skill, but really, you are far better than that. In every relationship, there needs to be a degree of openness, honesty, and vulnerability.

By taking a different approach and allowing other possibilities, you may have eliminated the relationship repeat offender altogether. You have the power to do this.

If you really want to grow in love and compassion in your relationship, you must be willing to lay down your sword and shield, be present and stay in the game. If your normal response is to withdraw or leave the room, stay and play it out. This is your life we’re talking about.

I know you’ve probably heard it before, something like,

You have to love yourself
before you can truly love anyone else.

As ridiculous as it might sound, it’s true. If you’re constantly looking for acceptance or approval from your mate, you will be periodically (or continually) fighting for validation. If you are full of love for yourself, you don’t need validation as much from your partner, or anyone else for that matter. Sure, it’s nice when you are recognized, complimented, or even applauded, but you don’t need it because you are in such a good, loving space regarding yourself.

This also changes the way you view disrespect from your partner (or anyone else for that matter). If someone disses you, and you have a healthy love for yourself, you can simply shrug it off as no big deal, and have compassion for whoever verbally assaulted you, because you realize they are acting out of their own discontent and you can have compassion for them, for they are only doing the best they can with what they have (as are you).

Love yourself. And the next time you get triggered and feel a battle coming on, put down your weapons, stay in the game, take a breath and ask yourself, “How could I do this better?” Then, try something different.

See what happens when you allow infinitely new possibilities to unfold in the loving space you chose to inhabit and share with your partner.

My Partner’s Ex Keeps Coming Up

My friend comes to me and says, “Here we go again,” he exerts frustratingly, “My girlfriend keeps talking about her ex.” If you’ve been in a serious long-term relationship, and are meeting someone who has also, you might find yourself proclaiming, “My partner’s ex keeps coming up.”

Even though fashion magazines and tabloids proclaim that talking about one’s ex is one of many red flags, more often than not, this is not as bad as it looks on the surface. It could be good therapy. Maybe your partner is just working out the details of that past relationship so that he or she can move on healthfully with you.

Your partner’s talking about his or her ex cannot just be either disregarded or seen as a threat to your new potential relationship. If you are prone to jealousy, then you might jump to the red flag conspiracy theory, otherwise it’s good to keep an open mind to see if you can assist your partner in unloading a little sensitive psychological baggage as you prepare for your potential journey together.

Sometimes all your partner needs to do is to release some of the pent-up psychological pressure from his or her past relationship. If this is the case, you can feel good about your partner trusting you with this sensitive data.

A sociopath, on the other hand, will use the talking-about-your-ex method of keeping you off-kilter and if you’re not joining-in the ex-bashing or ex-edification, then he or she might ask you about your ex to get you to participate. Then, later, when you express your concerns about him or her talking about their ex all the time, they’ll point out that you talk about your ex all the time, too. (In the mind of the sociopath, it doesn’t matter whether they asked you about it, or not. It’s just one of their clever tactics of pre-disarmament.)

Whether or not your partner has good or bad intentions, by all means, speak up and tell him or her how you feel about talking about his or her ex. Your partner is not a mind reader and might be assuming that you are as concerned about his or her resolving any issues from past relationships to have greater potential with you.

You will never know, unless you have this conversation. (Even then, there’s a 10 percent chance that it will be a clever manipulation, and there’s no way to know for certain, until later.)

It’s best to be open, and not made jealous or offended easily. Seek first to understand, then empathetically try to put yourself in his or her shoes. How would you feel?

Healthy relationships are all about being open and honest, give-and-take, and maintaining a healthy balance. If you’re jumping to emotional judgment, or looking for red flags in an effort to defend yourself, maybe it’s time for a little self-examination.

If your partner is pushing your buttons, that is to say, he or she is doing something that makes you upset or rubs you the wrong way, it is highly likely that its not your partner who is at fault. He or she is just awakening a weakness by way of activating a trigger which is activating an emotional wound from your past.

Instead of accusing your partner of something, be open and honest by telling him or her how this makes you feel, then, if you are wise, you look within and ask yourself, “Why?” There’s a good chance you will find something hiding deep inside you protesting too much because of a wound from the past.

In my friend’s case, he had been in a relationship with a woman who left him to return to her ex. This wound was activated when his new girlfriend talked about her ex. He was triggered, and thought, “Here we go again,” because it seemed similar to his past experience, which had not turned out the way he would have liked.

All relationships are different, and just because something is similar, does not mean it’s the same thing.

In the end, it’s up to you. You have to decide whether you can live in a relationship where your partner’s ex keeps coming up, whether it’s comparing you, complaining, or uplifting. Whether you can negotiate a compromise, or resolve the conflict between each other, or within yourself.

Whatever you decide is right for you.

Reduce Conflict at Home

Isn’t it time to reduce conflict at home? Sometimes people just can’t seem to get along and this leads to a lot of conflict at home, work, school, among friends, and even while driving. When you get upset at something that someone else does, says, or communicates in some other way, you are likely to experience some degree of stress.

The greatest stressors will be initiated by those whom you know the best, the people within your family. While the family unit is no stranger to stress, if there are little witnesses to these active familial stressors, they will be affected the most. This is how children learn to interact with others, and this follows them into adulthood, even if they cannot consciously recall these events.

Even if the conflict does not engage the children directly, they are still being affected by these stressful situations. If you don’t believe me, just think back to familial conflicts which you witnessed when you were a child. How does that affect the way you handle stress and conflict today?

If you have children around watching your interactions with your family, you might consider taking a break or a timeout, the next time you feel tensions building. Maybe you can reason with the person you’re experiencing the conflict with and pick up the discussion at a different place and time. You might be surprised that delaying the discussion will allow you both to revisit the topic when emotions are not running as high.

This works for adults, adults interacting children, and among children as well.

This can have a tremendous effect on reducing the familial stress in relationships, also, it gives whoever might be inclined to do some deep inner work time to reflect on his or her own past to see if there are any hidden anchors from the past triggering the feelings which are being experienced in the moment.

If you are in a relationship with someone and are not able to manage taking a break or timeout, then you might consider seeking a relationship coach, counselor, consultant, or a member of the clergy, whatever appeals to you and seek assistance from a qualified third party, someone you can trust.

There are many techniques which can be applied to any type of relationship which will reduce both conflict and stress, and it’s up to you to check it out and take the appropriate steps to change your life. No one else is going to do it for you.

This is your life, and those whom you care about deserve not to be impaired by your lack of control, and left to itself unhindered by someone’s drawing explicit boundaries, not seeing eye to eye, or having different points of view, could turn into an abusive situation.

If ever, any relationship is visited by abuse, you have the right and the responsibility to stop the abuse. You are never required to fight back if there is abuse. Just take the steps necessary to isolate yourself from any further abuse.

This takes a great deal of courage and determination, but you can do it.

You have zero tolerance for abuse.

What Is Your Love Language?

When you express your affection to someone, you possess a certain style and method for communicating how you feel. Likewise, your partner has a particular method of expressing him- or her-self. Both of you also have certain expressions which you are particularly fond of that make you feel as though you are deeply loved. This method of giving and receiving love is a form of communication referred to as your “love language” as coined by author Gary Chapman.

What Is your love language?

Gary Chapman

In Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, he delineates five different communication methods or styles of communicating love. By reducing these into five basic categories, you can easily determine which love language(s) you and your partner are most aligned with.

According to the author, everyone has a primary and secondary love language. Most people tend to express their love for their partner using their own love language. If getting a gift from someone make you feel loved and cherished, then it is highly likely that you will express your love to your partner by giving him or her a gift because Receiving Gifts is your primary love language.

What if your partner’s heart speaks a different love language?

Here is the rub: You buy your partner gifts because this is meaningful for you but your partner’s heart speaks an entirely different love language. No matter how many gifts you give your partner to express your affection for him or her, while appreciated, your partner is not receptive to the sincerity and tenderness of your love’s message.

Learning what love language your partner’s heart speaks is a highly regarded tool for effective love communication.

Let’s take a brief look at Chapman’s five love languages. They are:

1. Words of Affirmation

If your partner’s love language is Words of Affirmation, his or her heart responds to certain spoken and/or written words which make him or her feel loved and appreciated, such as, “I love you,” “You are amazing,” “You look sexy in that outfit,” or, “I am so proud of you.”

Different words of affirmation work best for different people. What might be seen as a compliment to one person might be seen as offensive to the next. Taking your time to do a little research to find out which words and phrases your Words of Affirmation partner responds best to is effort well spent.

2. Quality Time

If your partner’s heart responds to Quality Time, he or she will revel in spending private and focused one-on-one time with you.

Could be anything from a quaint dinner out at a restaurant with enough privacy to talk and gaze into each other’s eyes to sitting on the sofa with the TV turned down and phones silenced, having one-on-one time. Attentive listening to your partner and giving him or her the uninterrupted space to express him-or her-self wile you look into his of her eyes and listen attentively could be done anywhere, anytime, if he or she is receptive to this type of loving communication.

3. Receiving Gifts

If your partner’s heart responds to gifts, keep in mind that they not all be expensive gifts. Simple gifts are just as meaningful, if not more so. A handmade card, presenting a freshly picked flower while taking a stroll with your partner, or giving your partner a monetary gift that he or she can contribute to his or her favorite charity.

Those who are prone to receiving gifts as a sign of being loved and cherished will desire a little something-something in between holidays to feel deeply loved. Fortunately for you, they don’t have to be expensive, only meaningful to your partner.

4. Acts of Service

Acts of service are those things that you do which make your partner feel loved and adored. Like all love languages, you will need to find out which specific acts speak to your partner’s heart.

Simple acts of service could include volunteering to perform a chore which your partner normally accepts as his or her responsibility, detailing his or her car, or joining in an activity your partner is engaged in to show love and supportiveness. Pretty much any assistance you can offer to “lighten the load” of any responsibility he or she might have would be particularly endearing to the Act of Service lover.

5. Physical Touch

People either like being touched or they don’t but if your partner’s heart longs for physical tough, then by all means, reach out and touch him or her, even if you are one who doesn’t like to touch or be touched.

Simple touching can be just holding hands in public, a little foot-play under the table at dinner, putting your hand on his or her arm or leg while deeply connecting in conversation or listening will go a long way with someone whose love language is Physical Touch.

Of course, sexual intimacy is assumed in the language of Physical Touch, but it need not be the primary form of communication to express sincere love.

For more information, check out The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

What is your love language?

Show Appreciation

One of the best ways to keep your love alive in your relationship is to continuously find ways to show appreciation for your partner. It’s so easy to let a love go stale when everything is going good and easy but don’t let your beautiful lake view turn into a swamp by restricting the flow of fresh, new appreciation to keep your lake of love vibrant and alive.

Letting your partner know he or she is not taken for granted is very meaningful and just taking the time to show appreciation helps to keep those love hormones alive, increasing the bond between partners.

You can show appreciation without a great deal of fanfare and still increase love’s bond by…

Talking About Your Partner

Simply taking the time to ask your partner about his or her day, letting them say whatever it is they need to say, echo it back in your own words, and ask for more. Resisting the temptation to jump in and talk about yourself and keeping the focus entirely on him or her releases Oxytocin which is widely known as the bonding hormone. In fact, most, if not all, efforts to show appreciation releases Oxytocin in the brain which endears your partner to you, and it goes both ways. You also receive a dose of Oxytocin from making the effort to show appreciation to your partner. Note: you get extra credit for turning off your phone during a one-on-one conversation.

Attentive Compliments

If you pay attention to your partner’s life throughout the day you can take note of some of the little things that endear you to him or her, things that are often overlooked or taken for granted. Later in the evening you can review those things and pick one or two (or three) and compliment your partner on these things that you are grateful for. This helps to keep your love alive.

Do Something Your Partner Wants to Do

We all know that opposites attract and more than likely your partner would love to do something that is not on your bucket list (and it might be on your activities-I’d-rather-avoid list of things not to do). Taking the initiative of offering to attend an event or engage in an activity with your partner that he or she knows you’d rather not do, is a great way to show your support and appreciation.

Lend a Hand

When you know your partner is knee-deep in a project that is trying their attention and may be moving their vibrational frequency toward stress, offer to help. You may, or may not, be able to help but offering your assistance can make all the difference. Think of other ways you might be able to relieve a little stress by rubbing his or her shoulders, a foot rub, or running a hot bubble bath for him or her. This communicates both support and appreciation, letting your partner know that his or her efforts are not taken for granted.

Play Dress Up

It’s easy to get stuck in the same ol’ same ol’ routine, play dress up, have a glam night and get duded-up for either a night out on the town or a candlelight dinner at home. If you set up a dress up even with a degree of spontaneity without any special event or occasion attached to it, this can add a little spice to your life and increase your attachment and intimacy. Of course, there are other forms of dress up, you can be creative and use your imagination, keeping your relationship fresh and new.

Digital Thoughtfulness

We all can be easily caught up in the daily details of making our way through life. You can let your partner know that he or she is appreciated by reaching out with a little nonchalant effort of recognition in the middle of his or her workday by letting your partner know that you appreciate him or her in a brief test or private message. Embrace available technologies that let you take advantage of the ability to connect with your partner, without having to interrupt him or her when they might be in the middle of something intense.

Flowers and Chocolates

To add emphasis to your show of appreciation you can add flowers (for women) or chocolates (for men) to add that little extra something to your admiration. This is a given for special occasions but it is far more meaningful when unexpected, for no other reason than you care deeply.

Show Appreciation in Public

Three times the Oxytocin is released when you recognize your partner in public vs. in private.

When you’re in a group with other people, sharing your appreciation for your partner in a public setting in front of other people as a way to recognize him or her, goes a long way in strengthening the bond of love between you.

Loving How to Communicate in Love

Heartfelt communication can make the difference between sweet love and love crisis in love and romance. How you share those most important issues any normal couple faces amidst your love life makes all the difference in love and loving. How to communicate in love with compassion is the doorway leading to the next level in your love’s exponential potential.

Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt created a loving technique which helps you understand how to communicate in love and relationships called the Imalgo Dialogue or “safe conversation.” This is a process of moving through communicative exchange between two people which engenders loving how to communicate in love.

Here is a basic structure you can follow to experience what it is like to engage in the loving communication model.

Let’s say your partner has something important to say to you. If you want to use this safe conversation model to have a deeper level of connection and communication with your partner, oversimplified, it would go something, like this:

1. Tell me about it.

Allow your partner to tell his or her story.

2. That’s interesting. What else?

Now, you’re inviting your partner to delve deeper into their story.

3. How does that make you feel?

This is safely inviting your partner to share how they feel, which is often overlooked in conversation, unless it is exposed when negative communication styles erupt emotionally.

4. Is there more?

Let’s face it, we’re all a little protective about how we feel. This is a safely guarded spot in our heart, where we hide our feelings. Being invited by your partner to express any underlying, deeper emotion, is not only increasing your connection, it also enables you to examine and rationalize what might be underneath why you are feeling the way you’re feeling.

5. Let me see if I’ve got that.

This is when you restate your partner’s story, and how they feel about the issue at hand in your own words, trying to see it from his or her point of view, including how he or she feels about it.

6. Is that right?

This invites your partner to make any corrections to your attempt to understand his or her point of view. Let hi or her correct you, then repeat go back to step 5. Repeat as necessary, until your partner indicates that you have a good understanding of his or her perspective and feelings regarding the topic at hand.

7. Is there more?

This introduces a loop back to step 4 which might appear to be redundant but actually, your partner has often uncovered more about the topic of this discussion, discovered new information, and found links to other emotional issues from the past. There may be new information to share.

When all is said and done, you can lovingly let your partner know,

“I see how that make sense. And understanding that, I see that it could make you feel…” fully supporting him or her without interrupting, challenging, or judgment. This is compassion in action.

You can find out more about the Imalgo Dialogue in Getting the Love You Want, A Guide for Couples by Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt.

Unacceptable Behavior Loss of Love

I’m Falling Out of Love with You

Relationships are not for the weak. At times you can get to that critical point in a relationship when you’ve lost respect and admiration for your partner due to something that has bubbled up to the surface. In the beginning, it may not have been a problem, but as time has gone on, it could have grown to the place where you might find yourself saying, “I’m falling out of love with you,” due to this situation or behavior.

What can you do if unacceptable behavior or something your partner is doing is causing your love and affection to deteriorate?

Maybe your partner is displaying behavior that is damaging to you or him or herself, such as being too stressed out, overeating, drinking, declining health, short-tempered, etc… and his or her continuing to engage in this kind of behavior is causing you to fall out of love with him or her.

Ask yourself, “Can I take another ten years of living life like this?” If not, it’s time to do something about it before it gets even worse.

You need to create a safe space to have a critical conversation. This is far beyond the frightening, “Honey, we need to talk,” but you need to try to make it as unfrightening as possible, and ask for a block of time that is about three times longer than you might need for this conversation, because you need to allow your partner space to reply and react.

Unacceptable behavior loss of love couple communication I'm falling out of love with you

Abandon ancient ideals about, “not going to bed angry,” or trying to communicate without putting your partner on the defensive.

Once you ask for a block of attention, your partner may want a head’s up about what the talk is about. Don’t give it up, stay true to having the physical and emotional space to follow this topic through to have the best possible outcome, especially if now is not a good time, and energy levels may be running low or are exhausted. Make sure you’re both as well equipped as possible mentally and emotionally (late at night, not a good idea).

Remember to support your partner as much as possible through this process. Recall all the things that are endearing about your partner, how wonderful he or she is, remember all the reasons you fell in love with him or her in the first place, and think about the things you would miss if he or she was not in your life at all any longer.

And preface any conversation with appreciation and gratitude before getting to the heavy portion of your subject.

Your partner is going to be defensive because no one does a thing unless they receive some benefit from it. At the outset, it makes perfect sense to him or her, and so he or she will feel justified in being defensive and fighting for something that provides some form of satisfaction or self-worth.

Remember that this person probably loves you and wants you to have the best relationship possible, so cut him or her a little slack by remembering this is who you fell in love with, while staying true to your position, and trying not to take it personally if your partner reacts emotionally in a negative manner. Don’t change your position or give in.

Besides fighting for the right to engage in the activity which has you falling out of love with him or her, they are likely going to counter-attack you with something about you which is disappointing to them, and the delivery could be harsh. This is a common self-defense tactic, so be aware and prepared for it, if it arises.

If you’re accused of something, don’t fall into defensiveness yourself, and resist the temptation to escalate the abrasion. Instead, respect and hold onto the accusation because it can be invaluable in negotiating an amazing breakthrough in your relationship.

When you’ve reached critical mass at this stage of your relationship and you can’t see yourself going on under these conditions, be honest and open with your partner and say what you’re feeling,

“I feel like I am falling out of love with you, and this is why…”

Then tell him or her. You might even add,

“If I’d have known this is how things were going to be, I wouldn’t have married you in the first place.”

This is about as grown-up a talk as you could possibly have, so don’t be afraid to say it like you mean it, and be committed to arriving at an outcome. Do not walk away from this issue until you get an acceptable answer.

This is a critical turning point in your relationship. Remember, this is the person you love, even though the love is waning at the moment, and he or she is not doing this as an assault on you. It is his or her issue, and you want to be as supportive and loving as possible throughout the process if you’re to have any hope of successfully moving forward in your relationship.

Seek to understand and arrive at a win/win conclusion, if at all possible. This is where the accusation which you filed away can come in handy. More valuable than a bargaining chip, this might be the key to arriving at win/win. Maybe you both can get what you want.

If things get too hot and heavy, and emotions are running high, take a break. Be compassionate with yourself and your partner. Try to avoid saying something you might regret. Allow time to cool down, re-center, remember all the good things, and re-engage when you are ready.

It’s Time for Me to Leave My Partner

Yes, no doubt, you’re feeling like you can’t take one more minute and that, “It’s time for me to leave my partner.” It may be well to call it quits if your relationship is completely dysfunctional and filled with abuse, then, by all means, you have to do what you have to do. But you might be jumping the gun if you feel like your connection is waning, you’re feeling like you have less and less in common every day, you’re feeling like you and your partner are growing apart on different paths, and if you’re just not feeling the love anymore, then you might be thinking, “It’s time for me to leave my partner.”

When nothing could be further from the truth.

In most cases, when two people are feeling like they are growing apart and feeling like calling it quits, this could be the worst thing you could do, if you are on an expansive path of personal growth and/or a progressive spiritual journey.

On the surface, that sounds whacked, but you must know that this feeling between two people is a marker, a huge blinking neon sign that begs you to, “Dare to Love More!” This feeling is the gateway through which you must pass to make it to the next level in your love vibration.

It is very likely that you and your partner are not as far apart as you might think, only that you are expressing yourselves in different ways, which should be celebrated, not eradicated.

Sure, your growth and expansion may look different, but you are both growing, changing, and expanding together, even though you might be using different distinctions, words, and phrases in an effort to communicate your expansion one to the other.

Let’s say the woman loves to practice meditation and yoga, while the man would rather play a team sport and also engage in watching team sports on television. You might think this to be an incredible mismatch.

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Even though the symptoms look quite different, and the words and phrases sound very different, both members of this relationship can actually be growing in spirit and truth even though it looks quite different.

You might be surprised to know that team sports are very spiritual, and when athletes are engaged in team sports, they often get themselves into a spiritual state commonly referred to as “The Zone.” In this state, the brains of the teammates can co-create, communicate and access source energy, not unlike one might in meditation, prayer or in a group spiritual practice. This state of spiritual elevation is the same, though it looks very different, and it was accessed in very different ways.

When you are feeling as though things are getting difficult, or not feeling right, this is a clear indication not to look at your mate, to blame your partner, or look at your relationship as deteriorating. No, this is your sacred challenge to look inside yourself and realize this is a divine invitation to dare to love more and expand yourself.

If you feel as though your partner is annoying you, or up to no good, ask yourself why you feel that way?

The highest form of love is unconditional love, which usurps, “I love you no matter what.” Could you dare to entertain the idea of loving your partner unconditionally? This is your true calling. This is what this life is all about.

But it doesn’t start with your partner. In fact, it has nothing to do with your partner at all, except for your partner is provided to you as a tool, a mirror, reflecting back those areas where you have unresolved issues with you. Again,

Why do I feel that way?

Why does this or that drive you crazy?

If you’re doing meditation and yoga, it’s because this is necessary for you to grow and expand. It is clear that your partner doesn’t need to do those things. Your partner is managing his or her growth and expansion in a completely different way, and that’s okay.

It’s likely your partner has been trying to tell you this over a period of time but you’ve been able to understand him or her due to the variance in vocabulary. It’s as if you’re saying the same thing but in different languages, it’s no wonder it was difficult for you to understand, though the misunderstanding is understandable.

Maybe it’s time to listen with your heart and not be so quick to pass judgment. In fact, to do so would be hypocrisy. No one path is more right or wrong than another, and to suggest that your partner must grow, expand and express him or herself in the same manner as you is nothing less than spiritual arrogance.

There are many ways to achieve connection, you must allow everyone to find their own way and not condemn them for doing it in the manner which suits them best at any particular time and place.

Your divine mission of love is to love yourself first, then to the degree that you are able to love yourself, you can love others. You must love yourself for who you are, all your weakness, idiosyncrasies, all your missteps, and failure, as well as all your gifts, talents, and strengths.

Your challenge is to grow in love, to love yourself unconditionally, then, and only then, will you be able to love your partner, and others unconditionally.

You love, and allow them to be free, free to be whoever they may be, freely expressing themselves in the world which is perfect and different for each and every human being on this planet.

If you dare.