Are you experiencing any of the following situations in your relationship:

Feeling distant, separate or disconnected?

An increase in arguing or negativity?

Lack of affection?

An increase in anger, hostility, or sarcasm?

Avoidance of each other; sarcasm or shutting each other out?

Trust issues (affairs, hiding cell phone/texting, suspicious absences)?

If you are experiencing at least two of these, your relationship needs immediate attention to insure against separation/break-up.  At Conscious Choices I am here to help you do that.  Contact me to help get your relationship back on track.

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 According to recent research by Dr. John Gottman, of The Gottman Institute, there are four behavior patterns that are the most destructive in relationships:

•   Criticism: stating one’s complaints as a defect in one’s partner’s personality, i.e., giving the partner negative trait attributions.

Example: “You always talk about yourself. You are so selfish.”

•   Contempt: statements that come from a relative position of superiority. Contempt is the greatest predictor of divorce and must be eliminated.

Example: “You’re an idiot.”

•   Defensiveness: self-protection in the form of righteous indignation or innocent victim-hood. Defensiveness wards off a perceived attack.

Example: “It’s not my fault that we’re always late; it’s your fault.”

•   Stonewalling: emotional withdrawal from interaction.

Example: The listener does not give the speaker the usual nonverbal signals that the listener is “tracking” the speaker.

Dr. Gottman finds that these patterns predict early divorcing – an average of 5.6 years after the wedding. Emotional withdrawal and anger predict later divorcing – an average of 16.2 years after the wedding.  (Source).

Don’t despair!  By learning new skills, these destructive patterns can change and relationship satisfaction can increase. There is more good news! The same research also identifies the recipe for a healthy relationship: 

•   Happily married couples behave like good friends, and they handle their conflicts in gentle, positive ways.

•   Happily married couples are able to repair negative interactions during an argument, and they are able to process negative emotions fully. (Source)

Your primary relationship is often the most important one in your life.  By the time most couples have developed corrosive patterns, they are too entrenched to change them without assistance.  Emotions are usually running so high and strong that it is hard for couples to find answers in a safe environment by themselves.

As a trained Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, I can help guide you through this process.  Since 2001, I have helped over a hundred couples – dating, engaged, or married – solve their relationship problems and create healthy, fulfilling, loving relationships.

For more information on the effectiveness of Couple's Therapy, see the Gottman Institute