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Confessions of a Relationship Expert - No 1

The other day in a session with one of my couples, I admitted that something they were struggling with, my partner and I struggle with often.  And she said "wow I thought relationship therapists had it all sorted!

That made me think perhaps other's out there think the same thing...so I am here to smash that bubble and confess that my relationship is not perfect!  Ha Ha!

Everyday I work with couple's on strategies: tips and tools and processes to help them make their relationship one they actually want to hang out in.  But what often goes unsaid is that just because I know this stuff through my years of training doesn't mean I never have to use it myself - in fact the opposite is true.  I have practised this stuff the hard way, just like my clients, in my own relationship.

So here is confession # 1 - I struggle with maintaining a positive perspective sometimes.

I gave up perfectionism years ago but that has not changed the fact that my partner and I sometimes have very different views on when a job is totally completed.  For example if my partner was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner he may not notice that the bench tops or stove and splash back need wiping or the floor needs a sweep.  If I was to focus on the bits I notice haven't been done I might say something like this:

"Thanks for cleaning up the kitchen but you missed x y and z."  Naturally the thank you would get totally lost in the bit that wasn't good enough.  Over time, if I was to say this type of back handed compliment about lots of things he did he might actually start to think that when he does something for me it's not good enough or worse it will never be good enough.  This is a guaranteed way to slowly erode the positivity.

Instead what I have learned to do is focus on what he has done - stacked the dishwasher, washed the pots, taken the rubbish out and tucked the kids in and appreciate him for it all.  I really am thankful and always have been but by focusing on the negative bits, to be honest, I can understand that my thanks has been lost. 

The best way to get more of something is to appreciate and notice what is there rather than focus on what isn't.  Of course that does not mean you have to settle for second best or a job half done but it works better if you separate out the issues you have with the job and appreciating the effort that has been made - make them two different discussions.  I will talk about raising an issue next time.  In the mean time if you want a head start on how to have Loving Conversations dive into my mini-course to get all the tricks and tools to get heard and understood.

Until Next Time

Catriona 

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