All posts by Kristin Zeising

Emotional and Sexual Balance in Long Term Relationships- Part One

What is emotional and sexual balance?

In satisfying relationships, your partner is more than just a confidant and friend, they are also your sexual companion. Unfortunately, seriously involved couples, whether married or not, too often become so preoccupied with managing day-to-day tasks involving jobs, parenting, household duties, and life responsibilities that they treat their relationship (including sexuality) with benign neglect. Even though their relationship remains stable, they lose their spark and emotional intimacy. A healthy couple relationship promotes a vital sexual relationship that balances closeness and eroticism.

Take a moment to think about your sexual relationship. On a scale of 1-10, one being complete neglect and 10 being complete immersion, where are you on the scale? Are you thinking that  that you’ll tend to it tomorrow…. when in reality you’re putting it off? If so, think of one thing could you do today to give your sexual relationship, and your partner, more attention. Act on it!

Be the Love You Want to See: Getting out of Gridlock

Do you ever feel that if only your partner would step in and give you what you need, that only then, you’d be able to respond in kind?

Well, you may be waiting a long time. Because your significant other is probably waiting for you to do the same thing.

So how do you move past this gridlock, where you’re both standing in your corners with your arms crossed in defiance? You risk taking the first step.

I know, it’s hard to do. You think- How do I show love and support when I haven’t had MY needs met? Well, again, you can justify your position till the cows come home, but then you will be in that exact same spot. Feeling alone. Entitled and feeling justified in your position, but alone.

So stretch yourself a bit. Think about how you could come out of your shell and towards your partner. Let some walls down. How can you share a part of yourself or your feelings? Can you be vulnerable? What is he or she needing at that moment? Is it so hard to do? What do you think could happen? You may just be surprised.

It just takes some kind words, or a small gesture to show you’re holding out your hand to them to bridge the gap. You may be met with a suspicious look….or one of curiosity…..because you have likely been gridlocked and so stuck in this dynamic that your partner isn’t expecting you to do anything else.

However, this can be a first step to soften the tension and help you two start to come together.  And it’s from this place, once you start stepping in, that they may join you in this dance and you may start getting back what you want from them.

 

Couples Who Play Together, Stay Together.

I went for a run on the beach today and I enjoyed watching families getting together for some fun in the sun. They were kicking soccer balls, jumping in the water and building sand castles. There was a lightness of spirit- and it seemed as though the only goal was to play and enjoy the day.  I have to think that since it’s the 4th of July weekend people expect to get out and have some fun. But what about the rest of the year?

I notice many couples seem to have difficulty integrating play and fun into their relationships. This can be for a variety of reasons. They may feel like there is not enough time in the week for fun activities, or they have to deal with work or family demands, or they believe that fun events cost too much money.

It seems like couples have many excuses to avoid making the time to let loose and have fun. This could be because our society tends to dismiss play for adults. Play is perceived as unproductive, petty or even a guilty pleasure. The belief is that once we are adults then it’s time to get serious. Consequently, relationships can begin to feel stale and lifeless and couples may find themselves wondering what happened to the joy they once had. Where did the spark go? What happened to the energy we once had that created laughter and smiles?

It’s important for couples to recognize the need to have play time just like their kids do! We don’t lose the need for novelty and pleasure as we grow up. Play brings joy. And it’s vital for problem solving, creativity and relationships.  Although play may look a bit different for adults, it’s just as valuable. Play is about being in the moment and having fun. For the most part, the focus is on the actual experience, not on accomplishing a goal. Play can mean exercise- like going for a Sunday ride on your bikes, or playing tennis together. It can also mean getting out in nature like the beach, forest or mountains.  It can be the times when you play games together, or the times when you let loose and wrestle with each other.  It’s allowing yourself to let go and get lost in the moment with your partner. It’s about valuing the joy and fun times as much as you value work and running the household.

If you find yourself thinking that play is a waste of time, know that it offers some serious benefits for both you and your partner. It will help bring that connection back and allow you to feel a deeper sense of joy in your relationship and your life.  So carve out some time each week to play with your partner!

Signs of a Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationship

Many individuals and couples come into my office asking the question- Is my relationship healthy? They wonder if their behaviors and dynamics are normal or indicative of deeper issues or signs that they should not be together. While many couples argue, have tough times they go through or have difficulty getting all of their needs met, recognizing when the dynamics of your relationship are on the side of unhealthy is important so that you know when to take action.

Here is a guide to help couples decide if they are on the right track or need to make some adjustments to their relationship.

Signs of a Healthy Relationship

• You feel secure when you’re together or alone

• You can problem solve when the issues arise

• You inspire each other to live full lives and go after your dreams

• You often feel generous, giving and loving with each other

• You can accept your partner for who they are without judging them or insisting they change for you

• You are open and tell the truth to each other

• Problems and conflicts can occur between you and you can still handle your day

• You have a sense that your relationship is going well and you respect each other

• Most of the time you have good things to say about the relationship

• The relationship is close to or at the top of your priority list

• You can give each other feedback and suggestions when it’s in the best interest of both of you

Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship

• You feel insecure and weak around each other or when separate

• You are unable to resolve differences together

• You stifle each others’ dreams and try to control or limit your partner

• You withdraw emotionally and physically from your partner

• You beg, nag or try to manipulate your partner into changing into who you think they should be

• You lie and hide important information from each other

• You suffer from low self-esteem as a result of what happens between you two

• You spend more time feeling hurt and feel badly about how you treat each other

• You find yourself complaining to others about the relationship

• Your relationship is at the bottom of your priority list

• You are defensive and not open to any sort of feedback because you take it as criticism

Individual or couple therapy is a good place to start to address your concerns in they fall in the unhealthy category.  You can get a deeper understanding of where the behaviors came from and make choices with this new insight.  Some couples realize that the problems are indicative of a deeper need to address personal issues on their own and to end the relationship. However other couples learn how to go about changing the negative behaviors into more functional, mature and healthy behaviors and create the relationship they truly desire. Please contact me today to see how I can help!