• Contempt in Relationships | Causes, Signs, and Solutions

    Contempt in relationships is not only destructive, it’s the single biggest predictor of relationship failure.

    It is a pervasive feeling of disrespect, anger, and disapproval that goes beyond just feeling frustrated with your partner. It’s also one of the most critical areas that we focus on when it comes to our 1:1 Coaching Clients. 

    In this article, we will explore the causes of contempt in relationships, the signs that indicate its presence, its effects, and solutions to prevent its spread. Oh, and while we’re going to speak mostly of marriage and partnerships within this article, what we’re about to discuss applies to ALL relationships.


    What is Contempt in Relationships?

    Side note, here’s the TWR Podcast episode on this topic if you’d prefer to watch/listen. Otherwise, you can keep reading the article below.

    Within our relationship framework, the key component of Desire or the “want” for ANY relationship is having a high sense of Regard for someone. Regard defines the healthy sense of respect and admiration that’s needed in order to feel Desire. Whether we’re talking about a friendship or romance, you’re going to struggle to maintain Desire when you have little or no Regard for the person.

    If you put Regard on a spectrum, on the right you’d have a high sense of Regard, in the middle you’d have little or no Regard, and on the extreme left you’d have contempt.

    Contempt goes beyond having no Regard for someone. Contempt is an actively toxic dislike and feeling of disrespect that’s centered around one’s anger and resentment toward someone. 

    It’s more than just feeling frustrated or angry with your partner. It’s a feeling of anger and resentment that applies to everything your partner has done, and everything they have yet to do.

    Per the Gottman Institute, contempt is the number one predictor of divorce. 

    We’d go further to say that contempt within any relationship is the number one predictor of relationship failure, period. Whether we’re talking about a long-term friendship or family relationship, it’s virtually impossible to maintain Desire or the want for a relationship when contempt exists.

    Where you feel contempt, you simply won’t WANT a relationship.

    This is why Regard sits at the top of our relationship framework as the key component of Desire. Because if Regard is damaged, lost, or replaced with contempt; it’s the first component of the relationship that must be repaired.

    What Does Contempt Look Like?

    Contempt can show up in a number of different ways.

    It’s crucial that you quickly identify these markers in order to immediately start working on repairing contempt before it festers and continues to damage the relationship.

    Here are some of the most common indicators of contempt within the context of marriage/partnership (although again, most of these markers apply to ALL relationships).

    Dismissive or belittling language

    • “You’re so dumb. Seriously, this is so simple, how do you not get it?”
    • “You’re such a slob, I can’t stand living with you.”
    • “You’re so lazy. I honestly don’t know how you manage to get anything done.”

    Sarcastic responses to questions

    • Partner A: “What are you doing later?”
    • Partner B: “Anything that’s not hanging out with you, haha.”
    • Partner A: “Can you please make sure you arrive on time to pick me up from work?”
    • Partner B: “Sure, I’ll arrive on time just so I can sit around and wait for you.”

    Jokes that are half-truths

    Someone asks the couple, “What do you guys do for work?” One responds, “I’m a doctor, and he works on spending my income full-time, haha!”

    Eye rolling, sneering, or dismissive body language

    Physical distance, feeling repulsed by touch and affection

    Stonewalling which includes:

    • Silent treatment
    • Walking out in the middle of a conversation
    • Shutting down emotionally
    • Ignoring the other person

    Criticism and blame

    • “All you do is complain, why can’t you be more positive?”
    • “You just sit around all day, why don’t you actually do something worthwhile.”

    If you see these markers, address them quickly!

    Because if not, they lead to a number of immediate consequences which we’ll discuss next.

    Effects of Contempt in Relationships

    The obvious effects of contempt are an immediate and ongoing deterioration of trust and intimacy. Within the relationship, contempt increases conflict, tension, and emotional disconnection. You of course also know how it leads to relationship failure (divorce, separation, etc).

    But here’s what you might not realize.

    Contempt is an internal poison that will negatively impact your mental and physical health.

    Contempt is the best indicator of an unhealthy relationship. From multiple points of clinical research, we now know that an unhealthy relationship can create a variety of health consequences including:

    • Anxiety and depression
    • High-stress levels
    • Insomnia and fatigue
    • Weakened immune system
    • Substance abuse
    • Eating disorders
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Chronic pain/inflammation

    If only it ended there.

    Dr. Gabor Mate wrote a beautiful book called, “When the Body Says No.”

    It’s a compilation of all the newer research and studies that are showing how stress, anxiety, and repressed emotions resurface in the body as long-term diseases and illnesses. This field of study is known as psychoneuroimmunology and it studies the connection between physical and mental health.

    Within the book, Dr. Mate cites study after study that demonstrates how our emotional state leads to autoimmune diseases like heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and even cancer.

    Guess what is one of the most significant factors in our emotional state?

    Our relationships!

    Guess what an unhealthy relationship filled with contempt creates?

    Chronic stress and anxiety!

    The effects of contempt are so far-reaching that it’s virtually impossible to overstate its consequences. Consequences that extend far beyond simply the relationship at hand.

    This then begs the question, what causes contempt?

    Causes of Contempt in Relationships

    Contempt can come from a number of factors.

    • Communication problems
    • Power struggles
    • Resentment
    • Lack of empathy
    • Unresolved conflicts
    • Disrespectful behavior
    • Etc

    But from our research and clinical experience we find that contempt is usually born of ONE specific thing…

    Contempt comes from a misalignment in Core Values.

    You have certain beliefs and values that are not only important to you, but also guide your behavior and decisions on a day-to-day basis. We call these Core Values.

    When someone acts in support of your Core Values, you gain Regard for them.

    When someone acts against your Core Values, you lose Regard for them.

    Here’s an example:

    Let’s say that one of your primary Core Values is what we call Kindness & Compassion. At your core, you believe that ALL of us deserve love and empathy.

    Now let’s say that you marry a man who’s charismatic and charming. In fact, one of the things you were attracted to most was his confidence and strength of resolve.

    With time though, you begin to realize that he’s most definitely not a kind person. You first noticed this during your engagement period, when he was kind of rude to people that he didn’t know. You brushed it off though thinking that with time he’d mature and change. Now that you’re married, if anything you notice that it seems to be getting worse.

    Each day his behavior forces you to lose a little bit of Regard for him.

    At a restaurant, he makes fun of the wait staff when they make a mistake. At home, he leaves his clothes and things around the house expecting that you’ll pick them up. Whenever he asks you to do something, there’s no empathy or understanding when it comes to your schedule. Throughout his behavior every day he’s showing you that he not only lacks kindness but also has little compassion or empathy for things outside of his world.

    These little daily disappointments add up. Day by day you lose a little more Regard until one day you realize that not only is your Regard lost, you have nothing but contempt left for this person.

    Yes, we do see clinical examples where contempt is created from specifically bad behavior.

    But more often than not, contempt is created over time through actions that betray our individual Core Values. What starts as a relationship that’s filled with healthy Regard is eventually eroded until nothing but contempt remains in its place.

    The solution? Aligning your Core Values!

    Solutions for Contempt in Relationships

    When it comes to looking for solutions to contempt, we divide the effort into two categories:

    Short-term solutions and long-term solutions.

    Short-term solutions are what we call “relationship triage.” This is the emergency work that’s necessary to just stop the bleeding. While in the process of coaching/therapy, couples in an unhealthy relationship will often tend to continue to damage their relationship. Our first goal, stop the bleeding. We need them to stop doing the very things that are damaging Regard or even worsening the contempt that they have for one another. In this short-term triage frame of mind, we’re looking to:

    • Improve communication
    • Practice empathy
    • Learn active listening
    • Show appreciation
    • Cultivate positive interactions

    However, none of these short-term solutions are real solutions. They’re more like bandaids or sutures that we can use to stop the bleeding. They don’t actually solve the underlying issues long-term.

    This means that if a couple is purely focused on empathy, communication, and other tools for conflict resolution; while they might experience some temporary relief, there will be no long-term change. 

    In short, this is one of the biggest reasons why relationship therapy tends to fail 85% of the couples it serves (Roesler, 2020). Because when it comes to counseling and therapy, most solutions tend to be symptom-oriented. This means that once therapy stops, the likelihood of relapse is extremely high since the underlying problems were never resolved.

    For us, once the “bleeding” has been stopped, we move immediately to long-term solutions. For TWR coaching programs there are three specific steps to this process:

    1. Understanding one’s attachment wounds
    2. Processing unresolved trauma
    3. Seeking to understand and align Core Values

    Steps one and two are about resolving past pains that are negatively affecting your relationships today. Step three is about understanding and aligning Core Values moving forward.

    We call this past/future model Core Value Focused Therapy, or CVFT. It’s what’s enabled our clients to finish TWR Coaching Programs with a 99% success/satisfaction rate.


    Contempt in relationships can be a destructive force, but it is not inescapable.

    By recognizing the causes, signs, and effects of contempt, and taking proactive steps to address it, couples can strengthen their relationship and create a positive and healthy environment for growth and intimacy. Remember that contempt is not just an emotion, it is a choice. By choosing to build a relationship based on aligned Core Values, couples can create a strong and enduring bond that can weather the challenges of life.

    If you’re in this space, we’d encourage you to sign up for a FREE 15-minute consult for 1:1 coaching.

    Regardless of what you might have tried in the past, our approach to relationship coaching will cut straight to the core of your relationship issues and goals.

  • 3 Steps to Get Over Resentment in Your Relationship

    Resentment is the number one indicator of divorce or separation in a relationship. Translation, the stakes are high! However, beyond the obvious consequence of your relationship ending, there are hidden costs of resentment in a relationship that couples are often not aware of, or do not acknowledge. The question is how do you identify and overcome resentment? Let’s explore all of it in this article.

    Listen/Watch this Article on the TWR Podcast

    If you’d prefer to watch or listen to the podcast, here’s How to Resolve Resentment in 3 Steps from the TWR Podcast.

    How Resentment Affects Your Relationship

    Chances are that you already know the emotional toll that resentments exact. You know the hours of time and energy lost in arguments. You’ve felt how your minds constantly ruminates over these underlying relationship issues. You’ve probably also witnessed the resentment cycle. The process of addressing an issue, only for it to get better for a short time, then resurface after a week or two. It’s common for couples to be stuck in the resentment cycle for months, or even years.

    But beyond affecting your mood and emotional health, here’s what you might not yet realize.

    Research has shown that couples who are resentful towards each other have weaker immune systems. Not only are they getting sick more often, but they also have a far higher chance of developing chronic disease. In fact, newer studies are showing the link between resentment in a relationship to autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s, as well as various forms of cancers!

    Being in a resentful and contentious relationship not only puts your relationship at risk but also compromises your mental and physical health.

    The bottom line, it is imperative that resentment in a relationship is properly addressed.

    3 Steps to Resolving Resentment

    When it comes to overcoming resentment, it may often feel like an impossible task. The reason is that no matter how many times you both have tried to work things out and no matter how many happy and intimate moments are shared, you both wind up back in the same space of resenting each other.

    The relationship then becomes anxiety-ridden as both of you feel like you are walking on eggshells around each other. It can often become so bad that you both just lower your standards in the relationship. Sometimes to the point where “not fighting” becomes your definition of a good day.

    So how can resentment be overcome?

    Well, the process is not that complicated. But it is challenging as it requires self-discipline on both sides.

    Here’s my three-step process that I use with clients.

    1. Define Resentment. Your first step is being able to define what resentment is. You both know the feeling, but in order to move on from it, you have to also understand what it is and why you feel the way that you feel.
    2. Learn How Resentments are Resolved. You need to gain an understanding of HOW resentments are actually resolved. This is a big one and though this step is simple in theory, it is very hard to put into practice.
    3. Identify What Gets in Our Way. Both people must be able to identify the unhealthy behaviors and attitudes that promote resentment and make the commitment to not engage in them.

    Let’s dive into each topic and break this down even more.

    Step One. Defining Resentment

    When it comes to defining resentment, what we’re looking at is the accumulated disappointment, frustration, and anger that is felt because of your partner’s inability to meet your expectations.

    More simply put, your partner is not what you want them to be!

    The assumption here is that you are meeting your partner’s expectations and so your question then becomes “Why can’t they meet mine?” As we take this moral authority stance, we are denying a truth when it comes to you and your partner’s needs; “You are not meeting their expectations either!”

    The truth is when resentment occurs in a relationship, it is happening on both sides. Both people are failing to meet each other’s expectations and that is why you both resent each other.

    You may know a lot about each other intellectually, but that is far different from being able to emotionally understand one another. Intellectual knowledge of your partner involves facts and characteristics about them like their favorite food, but emotional intelligence requires you to understand how to love, support and connect with them, especially when they need that support the most.

    This leads to the next point because even though you are aware of how your partner is disappointing you and vice versa, it is clear that you both do not know how to properly emotionally support each other.

    Ok, so understand where resentments come from. Let’s move to the process of resolving resentment.

    Step Two. Learn How Resentments Are Resolved

    When it comes to resolving resentment, you must be able to go beyond what you think you know about each other, and truly be able to emotionally understand one other.

    I know, you’re still asking, “OK, but how do you overcome resentment?”

    It is actually quite simple.

    When each partner can TRULY SEE the other person’s point of view away from your own perspective, resentment will magically go away. In fact, the resentments that have been built up over time can actually go away rather quickly.

    But you saw the magic word right? TRULY SEE…

    When you can put aside your view of your partner, and really begin to listen to them and to see them as they are, and your partner does the same for you, this begins the foundation for true understanding and acceptance of one another. That’s what it means to “truly see” each other.

    This is the real definition of emotional connection and intimacy.

    Because the truth here is that the expectations and disappointments that you have of each other, are clouding your abilities to truly see one other.

    This leads us to our next step!

    Step Three. Identify What Gets in Our Way

    In order to establish an emotional connection and to overcome resentment in a healthy way, it is important to STOP engaging in closed-off and defensive behaviors.

    When it comes to addressing resentments specifically, these are the 2 most common defensive behaviors to avoid.

    1. Listening to the recording in your head more than your partner

    You know, your partner is sharing their feelings and perspectives, and at the same time, you are kind of listening but more paying attention to your own thoughts of frustration about them.

    • “I can’t believe that they are saying that!”
    • “They shouldn’t have taken it that way.”
    • “What an idiot, this is crazy.”
    • “How did I pick such a dumb partner”

    At this point, you are more just looking to hear what you want to hear from them, rather than really trying to understand what is being said.

    And as your eyes roll and your body takes a more aggressive stance, both of you at this point can feel the discomfort and tension in the conversation.

    Instead of having an open and healthy dialogue, it is now only a matter of time before this conversation explodes.

    2. Acting like a judge instead of an advocate

    This is a common one where one or both partners will take a high moral authority stance of “Prove to me that I am wrong.”

    They will express their anger based off of their disappointments about their partner, and in their mind, this is being authentic and emotionally available. In truth, this just creates a contentious dynamic where the partner who is able to argue and prove their point better wins.

    But in reality, there is no winner.

    In these conversations, there is a lot of cutting each other off when each person is sharing, and common statements include:

    1. “That’s not what I meant by that.”
    2. “Show me where I’m wrong.”
    3. “It is your job to change my feelings.”
    4. “This is why I am on you because you can’t do anything right.”

    The goal here is to not have a productive and open conversation, but it is solely about having one partner take the majority of the blame for all of the relationship problems.

    And when these 2 common defensive behaviors take place, you have now been arguing for hours and hours, and the mental and physical toll of your resentments towards each other are being felt.

    This is not an easy space to be in, and this is not how a relationship should be.


    Dealing with resentment is not easy, and it can go sideways quickly. Overcoming resentments in a relationship requires a high level of guidance, structure, and tools to go from arguing with each other, to truly being able to connect and love one another.

    This is why we created Releasing Resentment: A Proven 12-Day Guide To Reconnect and Heal.

    Over the course of 12 days, you will be guided each day in video form, as well as being navigated through 12 days of workbook exercises.

    This program is not only a step-by-step guide, but it is designed to be completed in just 15-30 minutes each day. It helps couples:

    • Feel free again without the feeling of walking on eggshells around each other.
    • Be able to talk to each other and truly feel emotionally supported and understood.
    • Allow the love that you have for one another to be the focal point of your relationship again.

    While this program is incredibly valuable, we decided to price it at only $47 because we believe that this is a tool that needs to be accessible to EVERYONE.

    If you would like to learn more or enroll in this program, visit Release Resentment – 12 Day Guided Program.  I will see you inside!

  • What is Defensiveness and How Do I Change It?

    Defensiveness is a common reaction to criticism, where individuals become protective and guarded, perceiving a threat to their self-esteem or sense of identity. It is a natural response when feeling attacked, but if it becomes a habitual pattern, it can damage relationships and hinder personal growth. In this article, we will define defensiveness and discuss how to identify and change this behavior in relationships.

    Defensiveness Defined

    Defensiveness is an emotional response to feeling attacked or criticized, leading individuals to protect themselves and their self-esteem. It is often characterized by denying responsibility, blaming others, making excuses, or counter-attacking. Defensiveness often creates a barrier to communication. Not only does it prevent individuals from hearing and understanding feedback, but it can also create further conflict. It ultimately shuts down any ability for emotional connection and understanding to occur.

    This makes identifying and addressing defensive behavior critical to the long-term success of a relationship.

    How to Identify Defensiveness in a Relationship

    Defensiveness can manifest in various ways within our relationships Here are just a few examples:

    • Denying responsibility
    • Blaming one’s actions on someone/something else
    • Making excuses for their behavior
    • Interrupting or talking over the other person
    • Making negative assumptions
    • Using hostile body language
    • Counter-attacking and criticizing
    • Avoiding a topic altogether.

    These behaviors can make it challenging to have constructive conversations, leading to a lack of trust, miscommunication, and resentment.

    To identify defensiveness in a relationship, it’s important to pay attention to one’s emotional and physical reactions when receiving feedback, as well as the response to the other person’s emotions. People often mischaracterize their defensiveness as being emotionally expressive, when in truth, it is not.

    How to Change Defensiveness in a Relationship:

    Changing defensiveness in a relationship requires a willingness to reflect on one’s behavior and take responsibility for it. Here are some strategies that can help:

    Cultivate self-awareness: This involves looking inward and learning to manage emotions better, so they do not overwhelm the individual’s capacity to communicate effectively.

    Recognize the signs by starting to acknowledge when you’re becoming defensive. Common physical responses might include feeling tense, getting a knot in your stomach, or thinking about how to counter the argument.

    In such moments, reflect on your past behaviors. Think about instances when you’re defensiveness may have harmed your relationship. Understand the impact that you might have if you were to move toward defensive behavior in this moment.

    Practice Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, to stay present in the moment. Mindfulness can help you observe your thoughts and emotions without immediately reacting defensively.

    One thing that Pye often says and finds personally helpful is, “Remind yourself that this is likely not a life or death moment. And if true, it doesn’t warrant a life or death level of response.” 

    Practice Active Listening: This involves paying attention to the other person’s words and feelings, without interrupting or making assumptions. It involves acknowledging and validating the other person’s emotions, even if you don’t agree with their perspective.

    Focus on truly listening to your partner’s (or the other person’s) perspective without interrupting or formulating your response. Show empathy and validate their feelings, even if you disagree.

    Use reflective listening techniques, such as paraphrasing what your partner said, to demonstrate that you are engaged and trying to understand.

    Use “I” Statements: Instead of blaming or attacking the other person, it’s helpful to express how you feel about the situation using “I” statements. This allows you to express yourself without blaming or accusing the other person.

    For example, “I feel hurt when you speak to me like that.” This in turn also opens the door for the other person to share their feelings through “I” statements as well.

    Focus on the Facts: When you’re in the middle of a difficult conversation, rather than label the other person’s behavior, focus on simply the facts. This in combination with “I”statements can be a powerful tool that keeps the conversation focused on the actual issue.

    Here are a few examples:

    Instead of saying, “You’re being inconsiderate when you come home late without calling.”

    Try something like, “When you come home late without calling, I feel like I’m not a priority for you.”

    Or if dealing with a coworker.

    Instead of saying, “Why would you selfishly take credit for our work by not mentioning us in that presentation?

    Try something like, “When you forget or don’t mention all of us in your presentation, it makes us feel like we’re not valued, or maybe that you wish to take credit for our work. Is that what you meant?”

    Take Responsibility: When you make a mistake, take ownership of it and apologize. Avoid making excuses or blaming others, as this can lead to defensiveness and further conflict. When you learn to volunteer your mistakes and take ownership first, you’ll often see the other person naturally let down their guard.

    Identify the Wound: This is a big one. In many instances, our defensive behavior is triggered by an underlying wound or past pain. This is the entire premise of what I call “Trauma Triggered Therapy.” It’s using triggers to identify areas of personal healing that remain unresolved.

    For example, if you feel self-conscious about your weight, you might immediately become defensive when your partner asks you to join them on an evening run.

    If you feel insecure about the work you’re doing in the office, you might jump to defend yourself when someone offers constructive feedback.

    When your feelings of defensiveness are extreme and triggered by something seemingly small, look to see if there’s an underlying personal issue that needs to be addressed.

    Seek Feedback: Ask for feedback from the other person on how you can improve your communication and relationship. This shows a willingness to learn and grow, and can also help to build trust. Healthy feedback (both providing and receiving) allows for each individual to become more self-aware and less defensive. The result is that it opens the door for healthier communication.


    Defensiveness is a common response to criticism, but it can be damaging to relationships and personal growth. It’s important to learn to recognize defensiveness in oneself and others, and to take steps to change this behavior.

    If you find yourself stuck in this process, consider seeking support from a qualified coach or therapist who can help you work through underlying issues that contribute to defensiveness.

  • What is Emotional Attunement and How Can We Build It?

    Have you ever experienced a deep connection with someone, where you felt like they truly understood and empathized with your emotions? That’s what emotional attunement is all about. It’s the ability to tune in and connect with another person on an emotional level, creating a sense of understanding, validation, and support.

    In this article, we’ll explore what emotional attunement is, why it matters in relationships, and how you can cultivate it for more meaningful connections.

    Understanding Emotional Attunement

    Emotional attunement is the process of recognizing and responding to the emotions of another person in a way that validates and supports their experience. It involves being present and attuned to their emotional cues, whether they are expressed through words, body language, or facial expressions. When you are emotionally attuned, you are able to understand and empathize with what the other person is feeling, even if their emotions differ from your own.

    In essence, emotional attunement is about creating a safe space for emotional expression and connection. It allows individuals to feel seen, heard, and understood, fostering trust and intimacy in relationships. It goes beyond mere sympathy or surface-level understanding and delves into a deeper level of emotional connection.

    The Importance of Emotional Attunement in Relationships

    Emotional attunement is a vital component of healthy and fulfilling relationships. Here are a few reasons why it matters:

    1. Enhanced Communication: Emotional attunement facilitates effective communication by allowing both partners to express their emotions openly and honestly. When you are attuned to your partner’s emotions, you can respond in a way that shows empathy and understanding, leading to clearer and more meaningful conversations.

    2. Strengthened Emotional Bond: When someone feels emotionally attuned to, it deepens the emotional bond between individuals. It creates a sense of emotional safety and security, fostering a stronger connection and trust within the relationship.

    3. Validation and Support: Emotional attunement provides validation and support for the emotional experiences of both partners. It helps individuals feel acknowledged and accepted in their emotions, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness.

    4. Conflict Resolution: Emotional attunement plays a crucial role in resolving conflicts. When both partners are attuned to each other’s emotions, they can approach disagreements with empathy and compassion, leading to more effective problem-solving and compromise.

    Cultivating Emotional Attunement

    Now that we understand the significance of emotional attunement, let’s explore some strategies to cultivate it in your relationships:

    1. Practice Active Listening: Actively listen to your partner when they express their emotions. Give them your full attention, maintain eye contact, and show genuine interest in understanding their perspective. Avoid interrupting or dismissing their feelings.

    2. Empathy and Perspective-Taking: Put yourself in your partner’s shoes and try to understand their emotions from their point of view. Validate their feelings, even if you don’t necessarily agree or experience the same emotions. Remember, empathy is about understanding, not necessarily agreeing.

    3. Non-Verbal Cues: Pay attention to non-verbal cues such as body language and facial expressions. These can provide valuable insights into your partner’s emotional state. Be sensitive to their cues and respond accordingly.

    4. Validate Emotions: Validate your partner’s emotions by acknowledging and accepting them without judgment. Let them know that their feelings are valid and understandable. This helps create a safe space for emotional expression and fosters emotional attunement.

    5. Communicate Openly: Share your own emotions and vulnerabilities with your partner. By being open and authentic about your feelings, you create an environment that encourages emotional attunement and reciprocity.

    6. Practice Mindfulness: Cultivating mindfulness can help you stay present and attuned to your own emotions as well as your partner’s. Mindfulness exercises, such as meditation or deep breathing, can enhance your ability to attune to emotions in the present moment.

    7. Seek Professional Help: If you find it challenging to cultivate emotional attunement in your relationships, consider seeking the guidance of a couples therapist or relationship coach. They can provide valuable insights and techniques to enhance emotional connection and attunement.

    Emotional Attunement Takes Time and Effort

    Building emotional attunement in relationships is a continuous process that requires time, effort, and commitment from both partners. It’s not something that happens overnight, but with practice and patience, you can create a deep emotional connection that enriches your relationship.

    Remember, emotional attunement is about being present, empathetic, and responsive to your partner’s emotions. When you prioritize emotional connection and actively work towards attuning to each other, you create a foundation for a fulfilling and harmonious relationship.

    So, embrace the power of emotional attunement by no longer seeing your partner through how you want them to be, but by really seeing them for who they are. If you can give and receive that level of attunement in your relationship, you will see your connection with each other flourish with a deeper sense of understanding, empathy, and love.

  • Friends with Benefits: Exploring Casual Relationships

    Have you ever heard the term “friends with benefits” and wondered what it really means? Well, you’re not alone. In today’s modern dating landscape, this type of arrangement has become increasingly common. In fact, in 2013 a study showed that somewhere around 30-60% of university students engaged in a friends-with-benefits style relationship. But what exactly does it entail? How often does it end well for both friends?

    In this article, we’ll delve into the world of friends with benefits, exploring what it means, the potential benefits and challenges, and how to navigate this unique type of relationship.

    Defining Friends with Benefits

    Friends with benefits, often abbreviated as FWB, is a term used to describe a relationship dynamic where two individuals engage in sexual activities and maintain a friendship without the commitment of a romantic partnership. It’s a casual arrangement where the emphasis is on physical intimacy and mutual enjoyment, rather than emotional attachment or long-term commitment. Even though it is meant to be casual, it is important to know that there is a high level of commitment and care that has to be put in by both parties, in order for this FWB arrangement to work.

    In a friends-with-benefits relationship, the boundaries and expectations are typically established upfront, allowing both parties to engage in a consensual and non-exclusive sexual relationship while maintaining their autonomy and freedom. It’s important to note that the definition and terms of a friends-with-benefits relationship may vary depending on the individuals involved, as everyone’s preferences and boundaries can differ.

    The Benefits of Friends with Benefits

    1. Sexual Fulfillment: Friends with benefits arrangements can provide a safe and consensual outlet for sexual exploration and satisfaction. Both parties can enjoy physical intimacy without the emotional expectations or commitment associated with traditional relationships.

    2. Emotional Freedom: Unlike romantic relationships, friends with benefits allow individuals to enjoy the benefits of companionship and sexual intimacy without the emotional investment and potential heartache. It can be a desirable option for those who prioritize personal freedom and independence.

    3. Friendship and Compatibility: Friends with benefits arrangements often stem from existing friendships, where there is already a foundation of trust and compatibility. This can enhance the overall experience and make the encounters more enjoyable and relaxed.

    4. Learning and Growth: Engaging in a friends-with-benefits relationship can provide valuable insights about one’s own desires, boundaries, and communication skills. It can be an opportunity for personal growth and self-exploration in the realm of sexuality and relationships.

    All of this is to say that there are a number of benefits that go beyond physical intimacy. But how about the challenges of such relationships?

    Navigating the Challenges

    While being friends with benefits offers certain benefits, it’s important to acknowledge the potential challenges that can arise:

    1. Emotional Complexity: Despite the intention to keep emotions at bay, it’s common for feelings to develop over time. One or both individuals may start desiring a deeper emotional connection, which can complicate the arrangement and lead to hurt feelings or unmet expectations.

    It’s important to understand that when it comes to physical intimacy, the very act itself is designed biologically to promote partner bonding. The regular release of dopamine and oxytocin through pair bonding makes it that much more challenging to have sexual relationships without an expectation of a deeper connection.

    2. Communication is Key: Clear and honest communication is crucial in friends-with-benefits relationships. Both parties need to establish and regularly reassess their boundaries, expectations, and level of emotional involvement. Open dialogue ensures that both individuals are on the same page and can avoid misunderstandings.

    But again, there’s a contradiction here. The whole point of being friends with benefits is to avoid such relationship complexities. And yet, when it comes to friends-with-benefits relationships, we find a lot of complexity is created right from the beginning when it comes to establishing rules and boundaries.

    3. Jealousy and Exclusivity: Friends-with-benefits arrangements allow for non-exclusivity, meaning either party can engage in other sexual or romantic relationships. However, jealousy can still arise, especially if one person becomes romantically involved with someone else. It’s essential to address jealousy and establish guidelines for openness and transparency.

    4. The End of the Arrangement: Friends-with-benefits relationships can come to an end for various reasons, such as one person finding a romantic partner or one party desiring a more committed relationship. The transition from a friends-with-benefits arrangement back to a strictly platonic friendship requires sensitivity, clear communication, and mutual understanding.

    It may also be problematic when it comes to each person’s future partners. For example, your future partner might not feel comfortable with you remaining friends with someone that you previously had a sexual relationship with.

    Tips for a Successful Friends-with-Benefits Relationship

    1. Set Clear Boundaries: Establish boundaries and expectations early on to ensure that both parties are comfortable and have a shared understanding of the arrangement. This includes discussions about exclusivity, emotional involvement, and safe sex practices.

    2. Regularly Check-in: Regularly communicate and check in with each other to assess how the arrangement is working for both individuals. This allows for adjustments or changes to be made if necessary.

    3. Practice Safe Sex: Engaging in sexual activities always carries the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It’s essential to prioritize safe sex practices and use protection to ensure the physical well-being of both partners.

    4. Maintain Mutual Respect: Treat each other with respect, kindness, and consideration. Remember that even in a casual relationship, both individuals deserve to be treated well and have their boundaries respected.

    5. Be Prepared for Change: Friends-with-benefits relationships are not meant to last forever. Be prepared for the possibility that one or both individuals may develop new romantic interests or desire different types of relationships. Embrace the fluidity of the arrangement and be open to discussing the future.

    Friends with benefits can be a fulfilling and enjoyable experience when approached with clear communication, respect, and self-awareness. By understanding the boundaries, benefits, and challenges of this arrangement, individuals can make informed decisions about their own desires and navigate the complexities of a more casual relationship. Remember, it’s important to prioritize your emotional well-being and always engage in consensual and respectful interactions.

  • What is Emotional Cheating? Identify Emotional Affairs and Recover From Them

    In relationships, trust, loyalty, and emotional connection are vital components for a healthy and fulfilling bond. However, sometimes lines can be blurred, and emotional cheating can enter the picture, causing significant damage. Emotional affairs can be just as detrimental as physical infidelity, as they involve forming deep emotional connections with someone other than your partner. In this article, we will explore what emotional cheating is, how to identify emotional affairs, and steps to recover from them.

    Understanding Emotional Cheating

    Emotional cheating occurs when a person establishes a strong emotional connection with someone outside of their committed relationship. While it may not involve physical intimacy, emotional affairs often involve sharing intimate thoughts, dreams, and feelings that should be reserved for the primary partner. Emotional cheating involves confiding in another other person, seeking validation, and experiencing a romantic attraction that goes beyond friendship. It is the emotional crossing of an intimate relationship because it is often the reflection of what is not being experienced at home.

    Identifying Emotional Affairs

    Recognizing the signs of emotional affairs is crucial for addressing and resolving the issue. Here are some indicators that emotional cheating may be occurring:

    1. Emotional Withdrawal: If your partner becomes emotionally distant, shows a lack of interest in your life, or starts withholding their emotions, it could be a sign that they are seeking emotional fulfillment elsewhere.

    2. Increased Secrecy: If your partner becomes secretive about their interactions, hides messages or phone calls, or guards their privacy more than usual, it may indicate that they are engaged in an emotional affair.

    3. Excessive Time and Attention: If your partner is consistently spending a significant amount of time with someone else, whether in person or through frequent communication, it may be a cause for concern.

    4. Heightened Emotional Intimacy: Emotional affairs involve a deep emotional connection. If your partner shares personal details, dreams, or intimate thoughts with someone outside the relationship, this is a strong warning sign.

    5. Loss of Intimacy: Emotional affairs can lead to a decline in physical intimacy within the committed relationship. If your partner is emotionally invested elsewhere, they may become less interested in maintaining a physical connection with you.

    Recovering from Emotional Affairs

    Recovering from emotional affairs is a challenging process that requires commitment, honesty, and open communication from both partners. It also involves individual accountability of honestly identifying where the emotional connection was lost in this relationship. Here are some steps to navigate the recovery process:

    1. Acknowledge and Validate Feelings: Each partner needs a safe space to express their emotions, including anger, hurt, and betrayal. The partner involved in the affair should acknowledge and validate any feelings from their partner and take full responsibility for their actions.

    2. Open and Honest Communication: Both partners must engage in open and honest communication to address the emotional affair. The partner involved should explain their motivations and reasons behind the emotional infidelity, while their partner should express their pain and concerns. This will naturally open the door to discuss where and why intimacy became lost within this relationship.

    3. Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries within the relationship to prevent future emotional affairs. This may include setting guidelines for appropriate communication with others and being transparent about interactions. Boundary setting goes beyond just correcting wrongs, but it is more about identifying and maintaining real intimacy within the relationship.

    4. Rebuild Trust: Rebuilding trust takes time and consistent effort. The partner involved needs to demonstrate trustworthiness through their actions, being accountable and reliable. Their partner should be open to trusting again, albeit cautiously. It is also important for the partner who was cheated on to be accountable for where they may not have been emotionally available themselves. This level of accountability does not negate or excuse what has been done to you, but it opens the door for you and your partner to really grow from this experience.

    5. Seek Professional Help: Emotional affairs can be complex, and seeking the guidance of a professional therapist or counselor can be immensely beneficial. A trained professional can facilitate healing, guide discussions, and provide tools for rebuilding the relationship.

    6. Focus on Self-Care: Both partners should prioritize self-care during the recovery process. Engage in activities that promote emotional well-being, such as exercise, therapy, meditation, and spending time with supportive friends and family. This simple actions lead to amazing results on the journey to healing.

    7. Reinforce the Relationship: Engage in activities that strengthen the emotional bond within the committed relationship. Plan regular date nights, engage in shared hobbies, and express love and appreciation for each other. This is where the rekindling of the relationship begins again.

    Remember, recovering from emotional affairs takes time, patience, and effort from both partners. It is essential to address the underlying issues that led to the emotional infidelity and work together to rebuild trust and emotional connection.

    Moving Forward

    Emotional affairs can be devastating to relationships, but they can also serve as a wake-up call to reevaluate and strengthen the bond between partners. By identifying emotional cheating, acknowledging the pain, and taking proactive steps towards recovery, it is possible to rebuild trust and create a healthier, more fulfilling relationship. With open communication, commitment, and professional guidance if needed, couples can overcome emotional affairs and emerge stronger than before. In fact, it can become a blessing in disguise.

  • How to Build an Interdependent Relationship

    Have you ever wondered what it takes to build a strong and healthy relationship? One key ingredient that often gets overlooked is interdependence. While the concept may sound complex, it’s actually quite simple. Interdependence is all about finding a balance between independence and emotional connection in your relationship. It’s about fostering mutual support, trust, and cooperation while maintaining mutual individuality. In this article, we’ll explore how to build an interdependent relationship that thrives.

    1. Cultivate Open and Honest Communication

    The foundation of any successful relationship is communication. When it comes to building an interdependent relationship, open and honest communication becomes even more crucial. It’s essential to create a safe space where both partners can express their thoughts, feelings, and needs without fear of judgment or rejection. Practice active listening, empathy, and effective conflict resolution skills. Encourage each other to share openly and respectfully, fostering a deep understanding and connection.

    2. Foster Mutual Respect and Independence

    Interdependence does not mean losing your sense of self. It’s important to honor and respect each other’s individuality. Encourage your partner’s personal growth, dreams, and ambitions. Support their interests and give them space to pursue their passions. Similarly, maintain your own independence by nurturing your hobbies, friendships, and personal goals. By fostering mutual respect and independence, you create a solid foundation for interdependence to flourish. Remember, a healthy dynamic balances the relationship and all of the other various components of one’s individual life.

    3. Build Trust and Reliability

    Trust forms the cornerstone of any healthy relationship. To build an interdependent relationship, trust is paramount. Be reliable and consistent in your actions and words. Keep your promises and follow through on commitments. Trust takes time to develop, so be patient and demonstrate your trustworthiness through your actions. Avoid secrecy, dishonesty, or manipulative behavior, as these erode trust and hinder the growth of interdependence. Real trust allows your partner to know that they are loved and accepted for who they are, and that the relationship itself is emotionally secure.

    4. Practice Emotional Support and Vulnerability

    Interdependence thrives when partners provide emotional support and are willing to be vulnerable with each other. Create a safe space for sharing emotions, fears, and insecurities. Offer empathy and understanding when your partner is going through a difficult time. Encourage each other to express emotions freely without judgment. By being emotionally supportive and vulnerable, you foster a deep connection that strengthens the interdependent bond. It is in these vulnerable moments, where you are genuinely showing love to your partner, because you are allowing them to be all of who they are.

    5. Collaborate and Share Responsibilities

    In an interdependent relationship, both partners actively participate and contribute to the partnership. Collaborate on decision-making, problem-solving, and goal-setting. Share responsibilities and tasks, both in the household and in other areas of life. Avoid falling into traditional gender roles and strive for equality and balance. By working together as a team, you build a strong foundation for interdependence. In our 12-Weeks program, we define this as a healthy counterbalanced effort, where there is mutual support both in terms of responsibility and emotionally within the relationship.

    6. Embrace Interconnectedness and Interests

    Interdependence involves recognizing and appreciating the interconnectedness of your lives. Find shared interests, activities, and experiences that bring you closer together. Create rituals or routines that strengthen your bond, such as date nights or shared hobbies. Embrace the notion that your lives are intertwined, and make a conscious effort to nurture and cultivate that interconnectedness. It is vital here that interconnectedness is truly stemming from the love and appreciation that each person has for their own independence and the independence of their partner.

    7. Practice Forgiveness and Growth

    No relationship is without its challenges and conflicts. In an interdependent relationship, it’s essential to practice forgiveness and focus on growth. Learn from mistakes and use them as opportunities for personal and relational development. Avoid holding grudges or dwelling on past grievances. Instead, communicate openly, seek resolution, and work towards continuous improvement. It is fine to discuss the past, as long as it is about trying to grow the relationship. Oftentimes, partners will bring up the past to win an argument and to try and coerce their partner to do what they want. This should not be the goal. By practicing forgiveness and growth, you create a resilient and evolving interdependent bond.

    8. Seek Support and Learn Together

    Building an interdependent relationship is a continuous journey. Seek support and resources that can help you grow as a couple. Attend relationship workshops or therapy sessions to enhance your communication and problem-solving skills. Read books or listen to podcasts about building healthy relationships. Remember, learning and growing together is an ongoing process that strengthens the foundation of your interdependent relationship.

    In conclusion, building an interdependent relationship requires a combination of open communication, mutual respect, trust, collaboration, and emotional support. It’s about finding the delicate balance between individuality and togetherness. By cultivating these qualities and practices, you create a relationship that thrives on interdependence, where both partners can grow, support each other, and achieve greater fulfillment together all at the same time. So, embark on this journey of building an interdependent relationship and watch it flourish in ways you never thought possible.

  • How to Repair a Relationship After Cheating | Healing the Wounds

    Infidelity is a deeply painful breach of trust that can shatter even the strongest of relationships. However, with sincere effort, commitment, and a willingness to confront the issues head-on, it is possible to rebuild and repair the relationship after cheating. In this article, as a clinical psychologist, I will guide you through the steps necessary to embark on the healing journey together. Let’s begin the process of restoring trust, fostering communication, and rebuilding a stronger foundation for your relationship.

    Face the Truth

    The first step in repairing a relationship after cheating is acknowledging and accepting the reality of the betrayal. Both the cheater and the betrayed partner need to confront the truth, no matter how painful it may be. Honesty and transparency are essential during this phase, as minimizing or avoiding the truth will only prolong the healing process.

    Open and Honest Communication

    Rebuilding trust requires open and honest communication. Both partners must be willing to express their feelings, fears, and concerns without judgment. The betrayed partner needs to feel heard and have their questions answered, while the cheater must be willing to listen empathetically and take responsibility for their actions. Establishing a safe space for dialogue is crucial in rebuilding the foundation of the relationship.

    Seek Professional Help

    Consider enlisting the support of a qualified therapist or relationship counselor experienced in infidelity recovery. A professional can provide guidance, facilitate effective communication, and offer tools to navigate the complex emotions involved. They can help both partners process their feelings and work towards forgiveness and healing. Make sure that both of you feel comfortable with the professional that you will be working with.

    Rebuilding Trust

    Rebuilding trust is a gradual process that requires consistent effort from both partners. Trust is not easily regained but can be rebuilt over time. The partner who cheated must be patient and understanding, realizing that rebuilding trust is a responsibility that they must take very seriously. Transparency, accountability, and consistency in words and actions are key. The other partner, on the other hand, needs to be open to trusting again, albeit cautiously. Trust-building exercises and joint activities can also aid in the process.

    Address Underlying Issues

    Infidelity often stems from underlying issues within the relationship. It is crucial to address these issues openly and honestly. Identify any unresolved conflicts, emotional needs that weren’t being met, or areas where the relationship lacked fulfillment. This is where it is vital to address resentments that each partner has towards each other and about the relationship as a whole. Both partners must be committed to working on themselves and the relationship, addressing these issues collaboratively. If you are working with q professional, this may involve a combination of individual therapy, couples counseling, and/or workshops focused on healing and restoring the relationship.

    Practice Empathy and Forgiveness

    Forgiveness is a challenging yet transformative step in the healing process. The partner who feels betrayed must eventually find a way to honestly work through the pain and resentment. The partner who cheated needs to demonstrate genuine remorse and work hard at making amends. Beyond the infidelity, it is also have the discussion about what is actually missing in the relationship that is not being properly addressed. Cultivating empathy for each other’s experiences and emotions is vital in the journey towards forgiveness. This is where oftentimes it will feel validating to blame and point fingers, and even though it may temporarily feel good, in the end, no one wins and the suffering becomes worse. This does not mean forgetting the past or not addressing what has taken place, but rather putting more effort and energy into creating a future where trust and emotional intimacy can be restored and rebuilt.

    Patience and Time

    Healing and rebuilding a relationship after cheating takes time. It is a gradual process that cannot be rushed. Both partners need to be patient with themselves and each other. Expect setbacks and emotional ups and downs along the way. Remember, healing is not linear, and setbacks are an opportunity for growth. With perseverance and dedication, a stronger and more resilient relationship can emerge. It is possible.


    Repairing a relationship after cheating is an arduous journey that requires immense effort, honesty, and commitment from both partners. Through facing the truth, fostering open communication, seeking professional help, rebuilding trust, addressing underlying issues, practicing empathy and forgiveness, and allowing time for healing, it is setting the foundation for rebuilding a relationship that is stronger and healthier than before. Remember, the path to healing will be extremely challenging, but the rewards can also be great.

  • Understanding Emotional Flooding: Navigating Overwhelming Emotions

    Emotional flooding is a phenomenon that can affect individuals in various aspects of their lives, including romantic relationships and parenting. It refers to the experience of being overwhelmed by intense emotions that can inhibit one’s ability to think clearly and cope effectively. In this article, we will explore the symptoms of emotional flooding, examine its impact on romantic relationships and parenthood, discuss prevention strategies, coping mechanisms, and provide related terminology for better understanding.

    What is Emotional Flooding?

    Emotional flooding is a state of being overwhelmed by powerful emotions, such as anger, sadness, fear, or anxiety. It often occurs when the emotional response surpasses an individual’s capacity to manage or regulate it effectively. During an episode of emotional flooding, the rational thinking part of the brain is hindered, leading to impulsive reactions and an inability to effectively communicate and problem-solve.

    Symptoms of Emotional Flooding

    Recognizing the symptoms of emotional flooding is crucial for individuals to gain insight into their emotional state and take appropriate action. Common signs of emotional flooding include:

    • Intense and rapidly escalating emotions.
    • Physical sensations like a racing heart, shortness of breath, or tense muscles.
    • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
    • Heightened sensitivity to stimuli, such as noise or touch.
    • A sense of being out of control or overwhelmed.
    • Impulsive or reactive behaviors.

    Examples in Romantic Relationships

    Emotional flooding can significantly impact romantic relationships.  Below are just a few examples of emotional flooding in romantic relationships:

    1. During an argument, one partner may become flooded with anger, leading to shouting, insults, or even physical aggression.
    2. Feeling overwhelmed by jealousy, an individual might engage in controlling behaviors like constant monitoring of their partner’s activities.
    3. Emotional flooding can also result in withdrawal and shutting down emotionally, making it challenging to address relationship issues constructively.

    Examples as a Parent

    Parents can experience emotional flooding when confronted with challenging situations involving their children:

    1. A parent might become flooded with fear and anxiety when their child is in danger, resulting in overprotective behaviors that limit the child’s growth and independence.
    2. Feeling overwhelmed by frustration or stress, a parent might lose their temper and react impulsively, resorting to yelling or even physical punishment.
    3. Emotional flooding can hinder effective communication, preventing parents from understanding their child’s perspective and responding empathetically.

    Ways to Prevent Emotional Flooding

    While it’s challenging to completely eliminate emotional flooding, there are strategies that can help manage and prevent its occurrence:

    1. Self-awareness: Developing emotional self-awareness through practices like mindfulness and introspection allows individuals to recognize early signs of emotional arousal.
    2. Establishing boundaries: Setting and respecting personal boundaries helps regulate emotional responses and prevents situations that may trigger flooding.
    3. Effective communication: Learning and practicing healthy communication skills can minimize misunderstandings and conflicts that may contribute to emotional flooding.
    4. Self-care: Prioritizing self-care activities, such as exercise, adequate sleep, and stress reduction techniques, enhances emotional resilience and reduces vulnerability to flooding.

    Strategies to Cope with Emotional Flooding

    When emotional flooding does occur, implementing coping strategies can help regain emotional balance:

    1. Take a break: Remove yourself from the triggering situation temporarily to allow emotions to settle and regain clarity.
    2. Deep breathing: Focus on slow, deep breaths to activate the body’s relaxation response and calm the nervous system.
    3. Self-soothing techniques: Engage in activities that promote relaxation, such as listening to calming music, journaling, or practicing mindfulness.
    4. Seek support: Reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist who can provide a compassionate and nonjudgmental space for processing emotions.

    Related Terminology

    To further enhance understanding, here are some related terms:

    1. Emotional regulation: The ability to manage and modulate emotions effectively.
    2. Triggers: Stimuli or situations that elicit intense emotional responses.
    3. Emotional intelligence: The capacity to recognize, understand, and manage one’s own emotions and those of others.
    4. Cognitive distortions: Irrational and negative thought patterns that can contribute to emotional flooding.


    Emotional flooding can disrupt personal well-being and strain relationships. By recognizing the symptoms, understanding its impact on romantic relationships and parenting, and implementing prevention strategies and coping mechanisms, individuals can regain control over their emotional responses. Cultivating emotional resilience and seeking support when needed are essential steps toward navigating overwhelming emotions and fostering healthier connections with others.

  • What Makes Love Last? 8 Traits of Healthy Long-Term Relationships

    Here’s the magical question, “What makes love last?” What are the traits or characteristics of healthy long-term relationships?

    We’ve all asked this question.  But don’t lie. When we’re coming off the heels of a relationship gone terribly wrong, we’re not only asking, we’re desperately seeking answers. It makes sense. After all, relationship pain is some of the worst pain that we experience in life. We not only want to know what went wrong, but we also want to know what we should be looking out for in the future.

    So here it is…

    Here are 8 traits that you should look for when it comes to understanding what makes love last.

    ONE. Trust

    Trust is the cornerstone of a strong relationship. It involves having faith in your partner’s reliability, honesty, and intentions. Duh, we all know this.

    But here’s what we might not realize.

    We think that trust is all about commitment and good communication, and sure we could say that these are indeed pieces of trust. But let’s tie trust to something a little more simple and intuitive.

    When someone acts in alignment with your Core Values, you gain trust or what we call “Regard.” When someone acts against your Core Values, you lose trust or Regard for them.

    If we go back to our opening explanation, trust “involves having faith…”

    Trust is developed over time as a person demonstrates through actions that they’re going to behave in a way that’s in alignment with what we personally believe and value. Trust cannot be spoken into existence, it must develop with time and consistent behavior.

    Because of this, once trust is damaged or broken, it can be difficult or even near impossible to repair. This is why within our Crystal Clarity Coaching Program, relationship repair always begins with Regard because that’s where our trust is housed.

     TWO. Mutual Respect

    Since we’re speaking of Regard, we might as well talk about it’s two other pieces which are respect and admiration. Since they’re closely related, we’ll lump them both up into the idea of “respect.”

    Respect is essential for maintaining a healthy relationship. It involves valuing each other’s opinions, boundaries, and autonomy. Treating your partner with kindness, courtesy, and appreciation promotes a sense of equality and fosters a loving atmosphere. Again respect is tied to having an alignment in Core Values. Who this person is and what they believe is either something that you are or something that you’re aspiring to become.

    In the context of our relationship framework, we say that Regard is the KEY component of Desire. Because without Regard, it’s almost impossible to Desire or “want” to maintain a relationship.

    Regard defines the trust, respect, and admiration that’s critical to the pull or attraction that makes us want a relationship.

    Healthy long-term relationships have two people who each hold each other in high Regard.

     THREE. Alignment in Core Values

    Regard (trust, admiration, and respect) is tied directly to having an alignment in Core Values within the relationship. Let’s talk about what Core Value alignment looks like.

    When talking about what makes love last, what we see in a healthy relationship are two people that have a shared vision for their relationship and a similar outlook on the world around them. In other words, they share similar beliefs and values that drive their behavior.

    We call this Core Value alignment and here’s what it looks like…

    When two people’s Core Values align, they’re able to…

    • Feel a deep understanding of one another
    • Create a safe and open space for vulnerability
    • Communicate openly
    • Create a similar vision and goals for their life/relationship
    • See eye-to-eye, even in moments of conflict
    • Read between the lines, even when something isn’t communicated ideally
    • Anticipate one another’s needs

    When Core Values are misaligned, it’s the opposite…

    We grind against one another in small everyday interactions. We have a hard time understanding one another, even when we’re communicating in a careful and effective manner. Small issues become big issues. We also lack the ability to relate to one another’s perspectives or experiences.

    Again, when it comes to our approach to coaching, this is why Regard and Core Values are at the top of our relationship repair list. When a relationship is unhealthy, this is a big part of our focus.

    FOUR. Open Communication

    What makes love last is a couple that values open communication over merely effective communication.

    Effective communication is most definitely something we can and should work on over time. But open communication is more about communicating one thought and feelings authentically, even if we lack the tools or understanding to do it effectively.

    With a healthy relationship, both people value authenticity and transparency over HOW it’s communicated. Meaning they’d rather be completely open and honest with each other rather than worry about not saying something the “right way.”

    Again, creating a space for this type of vulnerability in communication requires that the top three characteristics are already in place. Without Regard and an alignment in Core Values, it’s impossible to have the trust and respect necessary to create a safe place for authentic conversation.

    FIVE. Relative Emotional Intelligence

    What makes love last is having “relative” emotional intelligence. Ok, so what do we mean by “relative?”

    When we look at a healthy long-term relationship, we see two people with a high degree of emotional intelligence RELATING to the other person. Meaning, it’s not important that others perceive them to have high EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) in general.

    What’s important is that they’re able to be self-aware enough to empathize within the context of each other and their relationship. 

    This trait is again developed through Regard and Core Value alignment. It’s also boosted by having shared interests that help improve the couple’s Relatability.

    SIX. Intimacy and Affection

    Intimacy is critical. But intimacy goes beyond physical affection and includes emotional and intellectual closeness. Maintaining intimacy involves nurturing a deep emotional bond, expressing love and affection regularly, and prioritizing quality time together.

    So why is it number 6 on our list?

    Well, it’s not because of its lack of importance. It’s because fostering true intimacy requires the five steps that came before it. 

    When it comes to what makes love last, in healthy long-term relationships we see a space where both people are comfortable and completely open about their love life. They’re able to communicate their wants, desires, and fantasies without the other person getting upset or jealous.

    SEVEN. Change & Growth

    Within a healthy long-term relationship, both people understand that they’re going to change and grow over time. Actually, let’s go further. They not only understand, but they also embrace and appreciate one another’s Change & Growth.

    Relationships face various challenges and changes over time. Being adaptable and flexible allows couples to navigate transitions, accommodate growth and development, and adjust to new circumstances together.

    On top of that, they recognize that it’s through Change & Growth that they’re able to grow together and provide their relationship with new experiences. Experiences that keep the relationship fresh and exciting.

    EIGHT. Friendship and Shared Interests

    When it comes to answering, “what makes love last” one of the biggest characteristics is a strong underlying friendship with shared interests.

    Because five or ten years into your marriage or partnership, your relationship is going to look a lot more like a friendship than it does a steamy hot sexcapade. Don’t worry, it’s possible to maintain passion but your connection is going to deepen.

    The best marriages are built around what basically equates to a strong friendship. Building a solid friendship involves enjoying each other’s company, sharing common interests, and having fun together.


    I know that this wasn’t necessarily a comprehensive guide of how you address or resolve issues in each of these areas. For that, we’d need a lot more time and would recommend that you step into Crystal Clarity or our One-on-One Coaching Waitlist.

    But in the meantime, at least this list gives you a fairly comprehensive set of characteristics of healthy relationships. It doesn’t tell you HOW, but it most certainly answers the question of “WHAT makes love last?”

    It serves as a guide that you can use to see what to look for in a new relationship, or where to focus your energy in an existing marriage or partnership.