Relationship Dilemma Remedies

A Blog About Solving Common Relationship Dilemmas

Holiday Family Stress and Tension

Thanksgiving Turkey

It is far from the truth that families really like each other. Not all conversation and relationships are loving, easy and nurturing.

Family stress and differences affect celebrations and make holiday gatherings difficult in many families.  In-laws that you may not particularly care for, relatives that you do not see often or know well, and changes in families because of separation, divorce or new partners can lead to unease and difficult times.

Planning ahead can help.  “Forewarned is forearmed“, as the old saying goes.

Think ahead about the gatherings and imagine how they may go.  Visualize the “best case scenarios” and the “worse case scenarios”.   Set realistic expectations for them. Talk, plan and strategize with those you love most about how to help and support each other if things get difficult.

Here are a few other suggestions to consider as you plan for family holiday events.

 Are you the host or hostess?

If you are the one who is in charge, you can have some control over the situation.  Here are some ideas to make the experience the best that it can be.

1. Brush up on your own communication and conflict resolution skills. Find ways to keep your own cool.  Learn some words and phrases to use that might ease tension.  You will have to think of ones that fit your specific family situation and might include something like:

“We are all different in our ideas.  Let’s not try to convince each other to change his or her thinking on this special day.  We only see each other a few times a year.  Let’s create good memories and appreciate what we do have in common and like about each other.”  Then quickly offer a new idea for the conversation.

2. Take leadership before and during the event and set a positive tone.

3. Plan some kind of an activity or conversation starters.

  • Gather old family photos and get people to share stories. Keep the conversation light and find ways to reminisce about happy times.
  • Interview the oldest generation about their childhood memories.
  • Play a family trivia game.
  • Be creative as you think up ways to keep the conversation headed in a good direction.
  • We plan to turn our old videos to dvds for each family and watch a little old time television. We hope that all of the generations will get a smile from some of the clips of our childhood.

4. Enlist a few other trusted relatives as your aides to keep the conversation flowing in a good direction and deflect tension and stress.

5. Remember, when people talk about themselves, they generally feel appreciated and this might help them to be more positive with others. Spend time, or get one of your co-conspirators to spend time, with those relatives who might be more critical or difficult.  Help them to feel special by showing interest in what is going on with them and in their life.

Will you attend rather than host events?

  1. Find small messages to say to yourself to remember that you are okay and that winning an argument or “putting someone in their place” is not healthy for you in the long run.
  1. Take leadership in your actions and your responses. Promise yourself that you will not get into arguments or take negative responses personally.  (Is it more important to have family harmony or to win an argument?)
  1. If there are relatives that bother or irritate you, find ways to politely avoid them. You don’t have to hang out with people that you do not like and with whom you do not get along.
  1. Avoid divisive subjects. Find ways to change the discussion or even leave the room.  This is not a time to solve the world problems or dissect the latest election.
  1. Be positive and complimentary whenever you can. Don’t make things up, be realistic; however, remember that positivity breeds positivity and it may lead to a friendlier atmosphere for the family.
  1. Stand up for your spouse or children with your own family. If another family member makes a disparaging remark, calmly but directly, let them know that it is not okay with you to talk or treat your family in that way.  If at all possible, try not to get into a prolonged confrontation where apologies are demanded, often that leads to more conflict.  If you need to, find a way to leave the gathering early.
  1. Limit alcohol … or just don’t drink at all. You want to be able to leave the party with dignity and remember the positive ways that you handled yourself.

Remember, this is only for a short period of time.  You do not have to remain forever.  It will be over and you can go back to your safe, comfortable surroundings with those who love and respect you and share your ideas and values.

You can create a positive or an acceptable time for yourself.  You don’t have to let negativity and family tension overwhelm you.  Stay in charge of your thoughts and your “buttons”.  You cannot control what others say or do, you can be in charge of how you see, react or respond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 9, 2016 Posted by | difficult in-laws, family holidays, Holiday blues, holidays, in-laws, Relationship Dilemmas, rituals | Leave a comment

Holiday Family Stress and Tension

images

It is far from the truth that families really like each other. Not all conversation and relationships are loving, easy and nurturing.

Family stress and differences affect celebrations and make holiday gatherings difficult in many families.  In-laws that you may not particularly care for, relatives that you do not see often or know well, and changes in families because of separation, divorce or new partners can lead to unease and difficult times.

Planning ahead can help.  “Forewarned is forearmed“, as the old saying goes.

Think ahead about the gatherings and imagine how they may go.  Visualize the “best case scenarios” and the “worse case scenarios”.   Set realistic expectations for them. Talk, plan and strategize with those you love most about how to help and support each other if things get difficult.

Here are a few other suggestions to consider as you plan for family holiday events.

Are you the host or hostess?

If you are the one who is in charge, you can have some control over the situation.  Here are some ideas to make the experience the best that it can be.

  1. Brush up on your own communication and conflict resolution skills. Find ways to keep your own cool.  Learn some words and phrases to use that might ease tension.  You will have to think of ones that fit your specific family situation and might include something like:

“We are all different in our ideas.  Let’s not try to convince each other to change his or her thinking on this special day.  We only see each other a few times a year.  Let’s create good memories and appreciate what we do have in common and like about each other.”  Then quickly offer a new idea for the conversation.

  1. Take leadership before and during the event and set a positive tone.

Plan some kind of an activity or conversation starters.

  • Gather old family photos and get people to share stories. Keep the conversation light and find ways to reminisce about happy times.
  • Interview the oldest generation about their childhood memories.
  • Play a family trivia game.
  • Be creative as you think up ways to keep the conversation headed in a good direction.
  • We plan to turn our old videos to dvds for each family and watch a little old time television. We hope that all of the generations will get a smile from some of the clips of our childhood.

3. Enlist a few other trusted relatives as your aides to keep the conversation flowing in a good direction and deflect tension and stress.

4. Remember, when people talk about themselves, they generally feel appreciated and this might help them to be more positive with others. Spend time, or get one of your co-conspirators to spend time, with those relatives who might be more critical or difficult.  Help them to feel special by showing interest in what is going on with them and in their life.
Will you attend rather than host events?

  1. Find small messages to say to yourself to remember that you are okay and that winning an argument or “putting someone in their place” is not healthy for you in the long run.
  2.  Take leadership in your actions and your responses. Promise yourself that you will not get into arguments or take negative responses personally.  (Is it more important to have family harmony or to win an argument?)
  3. If there are relatives that bother or irritate you, find ways to politely avoid them. You don’t have to hang out with people that you do not like and with whom you do not get along.
  4. Avoid divisive subjects. Find ways to change the discussion or even leave the room.  This is not a time to solve the world problems or dissect the latest election.
  5. Be positive and complimentary whenever you can. Don’t make things up, be realistic; however, remember that positivity breeds positivity and it may lead to a friendlier atmosphere for the family.
  6.  Stand up for your spouse or children with your own family. If another family member makes a disparaging remark, calmly but directly, let them know that it is not okay with you to talk or treat your family in that way.  If at all possible, try not to get into a prolonged confrontation where apologies are demanded, often that leads to more conflict.  If you need to, find a way to leave the gathering early.
  7.  Limit alcohol … or just don’t drink at all. You want to be able to leave the party with dignity and remember the positive ways that you handled yourself.

Remember, this is only for a short period of time.  You do not have to remain forever.  It will be over and you can go back to your safe, comfortable surroundings with those who love and respect you and share your ideas and values.

You can create a positive or an acceptable time for yourself.  You don’t have to let negativity and family tension overwhelm you.  Stay in charge of your thoughts and your “buttons”.  You cannot control what others say or do, you can be in charge of how you see, react or respond.

 

 

 

 

 

November 8, 2016 Posted by | Relationship Dilemmas | Leave a comment

“I Am Not In Love Anymore!”

Love and marriage do not always go together.  Sometimes feelings of love seem to evaporate. We frequently hear these words “I love him (her) but I am NOT IN LOVE with him (her). In this article, we want to talk about the reasons why people make this statement and say that they are not in love any more.

Why DO people fall out of love?  

It is very distressing to become aware of these feelings, “not in love” and really not know what with what to do to change them.

A lot of people contact our counseling center about love and marriage.  They report that they have fallen out of love with their spouse, or believe that their spouse is no longer in love with them.

The words we often hear are “I love him (her) but I am not in love with him (her),” most often with a disbelief that these feelings can change. One of the places to start is to begin to understand a little about how those feelings eroded within the marriage.

Click here to read the rest of the article: “I Am Not In Love Anymore”.

June 6, 2013 Posted by | Relationship Dilemmas | 1 Comment

Tip of the Week

It is about listening“It is not about the nail” … How many times have men been told that they need to listen and not try to solve the problem.

Here is a humorous video to bring the point home.   Click here to view the video. 

June 3, 2013 Posted by | Relationship Dilemmas | Leave a comment

Roles in Relationships

Pam’s mother was an attorney and a very strong woman.  Her dad traveled with his job in sales.  They were very business-like in their decision-making and handled most things jointly.

There was a lot of humor in Pam’s family but not a lot of warmth.  Caring and concern were usually shown through purchases and experiences.  Pam was very clear that her parents loved her and each other but it was shown more through gifts, money and travel rather than affection.

Jim’s family was somewhat different.  He grew up in a family that was very loving and openly affectionate.  His mother worked part-time as a nurse and still managed to do all of the cooking, laundry and child care.  His dad helped out a bit with chores inside and handled everything outside.  Jim’s dad handled the family finances and made most of the decisions about money.  They had a lot of family time together and his parents really protected their time alone.

When Jim and Pam married, they had different ideas for how a marriage should be lived and what the roles “should“ be in relationships.  Neither one was wrong.  They were just different.  They brought to the marriage what many do, their own ideas and expectations for their roles and that of their spouse in the relationship.

We all come to relationships with ideas of how we and our partner “should“ behave.  Sometimes our ideas and expectations for roles in relationships are similar.  Sometimes they are different. Problems can arise when partners have different ideas for each of their roles in relationships.

Click here to read the rest of the article on Roles in Relationships.

Counseling Relationships Online

Couples Counseling of Louisville

May 30, 2013 Posted by | marriage, Relationship Dilemmas, roles in relationships, women and relationships | | Leave a comment

Tip of the week

Affairs cause bad marriages more often than bad marriages cause affairs.

 

May 21, 2013 Posted by | Relationship Dilemmas | Leave a comment

Couples Therapy: Can It Help?

  • Problems in your marriage?
  • Unhappy with where things are right now between you and your partner?
  • Wonder if couples therapy might make a difference?

What do you have to lose?  Facing up to the situation and owning your part in it can be a step in the right direction.

remember_when_image042Most couples wait a long time after a problem develops before they ever ask for help.  Research shows that problems may go on for 6 years before a couple either asks for help or ends the marriage.

The longer that a problem goes on, the more likely it is that positive feelings and behaviors will erode and disappear.  Couples therapy may be able to help you resolve the problems that you are experiencing.

A skilled and knowledgeable couples therapist can provide a safe haven to talk about the hardest of issues and can teach you the skills to be able to carry on those conversations at home.

Good marriage counselors do not want their couples to hang around forever.  They want them to be able to be successful on their own.

Here are some good reasons to see a couples therapist.

Click here to read the article “Couples Therapy: Can It Help?”

May 13, 2013 Posted by | arguments, conflict, couples, Emotionally intelligent in relationships, falling back in love, keeping love alive | 1 Comment

Tip of the Week

Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels.

sunset-with-tom-and-suanOften, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder.

Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point.

Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.

~~ Wall Street Journal

April 29, 2013 Posted by | Relationship Dilemmas | Leave a comment

Tip of the Week

appreciation gets more positive results than criticismappreciation gets more positive results than criticismRemember, you always get more of what you appreciate than what you criticize.appreciation gets more positive results than criticism

April 18, 2013 Posted by | Relationship Dilemmas | Leave a comment

7 Marriage Mistakes That Loving Partners Can Make

Marriage is not as easy as it looks from the other side.  Falling in love might be fairly easy; however, being half of a good marriage is not usually so easy.  It takes work, knowledge, skills, talent and a good sense of humor … not to mention a healthy dose of emotional intelligence.
Marriage Misakes
Sometimes people try to make things better in their marriage but actually make it worse.  Here are some of those well-intentioned marriage mistakes that loving spouses can make.

Marriage Mistake 1.   Being too positive
Positivity is important in any relationship.  Looking at the goodness and what is right is so much better than dwelling on the negative and what is “missing”.   Wanting to get your spouse from a negative place by encouraging “looking on the bright side” or forgetting about upsetting things is not always helpful, however.  Sometimes you have to deal with the sad, disappointed, frustrated or angry feelings.

Click here to read the rest of the article on well-intentioned Marriage Mistakes.

If you rush to change a mood, you risk the possibility that your partner will feel that his or her needs and feelings have been discounted.  You also might risk the chance to experience intimacy and learn from your partner and the relationship.  Hear your partner out before trying to change the mood or tone.  Ask a lot of questions that get him or her to talk more with you about whatever is bothering them.

Counseling Relationships Online.com

Couples Counseling of Louisville.com

April 9, 2013 Posted by | advice, marriage | Leave a comment