Talk to Tamara – June 2017

Survival Guide For Couples: Reigniting Intimacy

Part 2 – The Four Culprits To Eroding Intimacy

redWelcome to the second edition of a special 3-part series on intimacy. In last month’s column, I explained the different types of intimacy – intellectual, energetic or experiential, emotional, and sexual. Now, I will explain the top four culprits of intimacy erosion in relationships. Go ahead and see which ones you and your partner are operating from.

1) Unintentionally Hurting Each Other – Unless you or your partner has tendencies of passive aggressive or sociopathic behaviors, you really don’t intend to hurt one another. In fact, you probably have the same relationship goals of happiness, peace and joy. Then why do couples hurt one another? The answer is that one or both of you are in fear or pain. In fact, the amount of unresolved fear or pain that you feel is the amount of pain that you inflict or project onto the other. For example, I worked with a client who had a childhood history of sexual molestation. It left her feeling trapped and overwhelmed for years. She unintentionally carried these fears into her adult romantic relationships. It wasn’t unusual for her to suddenly announce, without too much provocation from her partner, that the relationship was over, leaving the poor guy confused and left wondering, “What the heck just happened?!” When her fears were triggered, this ‘coping mechanism’ of fleeing the relationship felt mighty powerful. However, with professional help and a ton of inner work, she finally resolved her fears of being trapped and overwhelmed and now has a thriving and loving marriage.

2) 2) Over Reactivity or Drama – When triggered, do you and/or your partner fight or flee, or both? Let me explain why the fight or flight phenomena exists.

You have more than one almond-shaped area of your brain called the Amygdala. Its job is to sense, prepare and deal with perceived danger via fight or flight. The Amygdala stores memories of trauma and upset from your past. Therefore, 99.9% of the time, the pattern that’s being set off has nothing to do with what’s actually happening between you and your partner in the present moment. As soon as “danger” is perceived, your Amygdala takes over your sensible and logical frontal cortex section of your brain.

In romantic relationships, it usually doesn’t take much for the Amygdala to become triggered. Before your rational mind has a chance to engage, the Amygdala has already done its quick and dirty work (slammed doors, screamed obscenities, given threats to leave and even verbal and physical abuse). And if that’s not enough, the Amygdala gets addicted to the flood of emotional chemicals that course through your body. So, with each argument, you have to get angrier, scream louder and/or become more abusive to get that rush of chemical soup throughout your system. In the end, the only real danger is that of losing your wonderful relationship!

3) Away or The White Elephant Syndrome – Couples who don’t authentically communicate regularly often experience this particular kind of intimacy erosion. They avoid difficult topics and steer clear of disturbing the apple cart. It’s as if there’s a white elephant in the middle of the living room, but no one’s talking about it because it’ll upset the relationship status quo. For example, I have worked with a number of clients who try to avoid the topic of their partner’s addiction problem. They fear that if they bring it up, it’ll either shatter their partner or their relationship.

It takes courage to talk about difficult subjects, but in the end, it’s the only chance for a happy partnership. My job with these clients is to support them through their fears of speaking up and to stop tiptoeing around the issue. No one ever moved an elephant by walking around it. Actually, you have to walk right up and confront it to get it to move.

4) Taking Each Other For Granted – Unfortunately, I seen relationships fail simply because partners take each other for granted. Appreciating the little things that your partner does is vitally important for you to acknowledge everyday. Not doing so is a relationship killer. Couples who have a practice of gratitude never take each other for granted.

Homework for this month

For the next 30 days, be in the practice of sitting with your fears and pain. Take 10 deep breaths whenever you feel triggered in any way to begin to stop the fight or flight pattern. Complement yourself for sitting with your feelings because this is not easy to do.

Stay tuned for next month’s edition where I share seven powerful secrets for achieving delicious intimacy.


This blog is featured in Tamara’s monthly column in Eydis Authentic Living Magazine called Talk To Tamara. Click here to see the article.


Want free relationship advice right away? Take advantage of Tamara’s free 45-minute guidance session where you will finally get clarity and relief from your dating or relationship struggles. Whether you are single or are experiencing relationship upset, by clicking here, you no longer have to figure this out alone anymore. Yay!

XOXO Tamara

Talk to Tamara – May 2017

redThere have been a lot of inquiries from readers on how to cultivate intimacy in their relationships. Therefore, I decided to devote the next 3 monthly editions to my Survival Guide For Couples: Reigniting Intimacy. This is a 3-part series, where I give the low-down on intimacy to help you and your partner experience profound love and closeness.

In this month’s edition, you’ll gain insights on the different types of intimacy. In the June edition, you’ll be educated on the main culprits that erode intimacy. In the July edition, you’ll be given the secrets to experiencing lasting, fun and juicy intimacy in your relationship for years to come. Each month, you’ll be given homework assignments that will amp things up (in a good way) with your partner.

Before you can reignite your intimacy, however, it’s important to understand the different types of intimacy, so let’s get started.

Survival Guide For Couples: Reigniting Intimacy

Part 1 – What Is Intimacy?

Intimacy is one of the most precious commodities we have in relationships. It’s something that takes time, is a process and a journey that two people take together. There are 4 different types of intimacy.

Intellectual IntimacyAn exchange and/or support of each other’s thoughts, ideas and opinions. This involves verbal communication.

I’ll use my mother and stepfather as an example for this type of intimacy. Every Sunday, they would read the LA Times while drinking coffee during the morning hours. Then at lunch or dinner, they would discuss what they read, which sometimes turned into a friendly debate. They enjoyed these exchanges because they had a chance to share their opinions and ideas with one another. As the witness to their intellectual intimacy, I enjoyed it, too.

Energetic IntimacyWhen a couple engages in mutual activities. This usually does not involve verbal communication, but rather energetic synergy.

I’ll share my own personal example of this type of intimacy. In 2014, my husband had stage-4 cancer. Thrown into our new roles as patient and caregiver, we decided to use mindfulness and meditation to help ease this journey. It worked beautifully because we just celebrated 3 years of being cancer free! As a result of this experience and wanting to be a contribution to others, we created an app that delivers guided meditations specifically designed for cancer patients/survivors and caregivers called Loving Meditations. For hours each week, we share an energetic intimacy quietly being together (writing, composing music and photography) and creating powerful and transformative meditation audios and videos for those who need it most.

Emotional IntimacySharing your feelings and a desire to understand the feelings of your partner. This involves both verbal and non-verbal communication.

Couples must have a level of trust and comfort with each other to be able to share their vulnerabilities. If one or both are over reactive, it will most likely shut down this level of intimacy. Several years ago, I was working with a couple that really wanted more emotional intimacy but their relationship was filled with reactive patterns of drama and upset. He would often roll his eyes while she shared her feelings and she would criticize him for not meeting her needs. Step-by-step, we examined their cycles of destructive verbal and non-verbal habits and replaced them with healthy behaviors of active listening, compassionate rapport and empathetic-type body language. Their hard work paid off as their relationship is now flourishing.

Sexual IntimacyAny form of sensual expression toward or for one another. This involves physical and non-physical communication.

Most people think of intimacy as being only sexual, but as you can see, it’s not only about sex. Examples of non-physical sexual intimacy include talking about sex and sexual fantasies. Examples of physical sexual intimacy include, hugging, kissing, massage, sensual touch, oral sex and intercourse.

When couples end up in my office due to marital problems, it’s not unusual to hear that sex is an issue. Men and women often experience sexual intimacy very differently. That’s because men typically use physical connection to express their feelings of closeness while women typically use emotional connection to express their feelings of closeness. Once couples understand this innate difference, and can make slight adjustments to meet each other’s needs, their sexual intimacy problems tend to disappear.

Homework for this month

For the next 30 days, tell your partner everyday at least 1 thing about them that intellectually, energetically, emotionally or sexually turns you on. Go ahead, have some fun! 😉

Stay tuned for next month’s edition where I reveal the culprits to eroding intimacy.


This blog is featured in Tamara’s monthly column in Eydis Authentic Living Magazine called Talk To Tamara. Click here to see the article.


Want free relationship advice right away? Take advantage of Tamara’s free 45-minute guidance session where you will finally get clarity and relief from your dating or relationship struggles. Whether you are single or are experiencing relationship upset, by clicking here, you no longer have to figure this out alone anymore. Yay!

XOXO Tamara

Talk to Tamara – April 2017

Dear Tamara,

My husband and I are drifting apart. I feel confident that there’s no-one else in the picture. However, I miss the fun, play and communication we used to have. I want to open a dialogue with him to get to the root of our issues, but I don’t even know where or how to start. Help!

Signed: Scared-of-Becoming-a-Divorce-Statistic

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Dear Scared-of-Becoming-a-Divorce-Statistic:

For the past 25 years I’ve been advising couples on how to navigate the choppy waters of love and relationships. As a result, I developed a highly effective system that helps struggling partners to re-connect in a respectful, joyful and loving way. I call this process From Awful-to-Awesome 3-Step System for Couples. This method is designed to assist you in getting to the root of what’s really going on in your relationship and to successfully communicate this to one another. Not only will you understand your own perspectives, needs and wishes but also those of your partner. For powerful results, please follow the three steps outlined below.

The Awful-to-Awesome 3-Step System for Couples

Step 1 – Thoughtfully and Thoroughly Answer the Following Questions

This step is designed to help you unearth your thoughts, feelings and behaviors that you’ve been operating from in this relationship. Each partner should have their own copy of this questionnaire and answer them separately. Please give yourself all the time needed to answer them authentically and honestly.

  1. Three things that you love/appreciate/admire about your partner.
  2. Three reasons why this relationship is in the condition that it’s in.
  3. Three things/issues you are willing to negotiate and possibly compromise on.
  4. Three things/behaviors about the other you wish would change.
  5. Three things/behaviors about yourself you wish would change.
  6. Three things/ behaviors that you are determined to change to improve yourself and/or this relationship.
  7. Three things that you’ve learned about yourself since being in this relationship.
  8. Three things that you are going through at this stage in your life.
  9. Three things that you believe your partner is going through at this stage in their life.
  10. Three things that just don’t work in this relationship any longer.
  11. Three things that would improve this relationship.
  12. The three most significant ways that you show love/care toward your partner.
  13. Three ways in which you desire to be loved/cared for by your partner.

Step 2 – Sharing Your Answers

This step is designed to help you achieve a healthy way to communicate what you’ve discovered from Step 1. Follow the bullet points below.

  • Create a quiet space for the next 20 minutes. Take care of any distractions, such as children (make sure they are settled or in bed), obligations and/or devices (turn off cell phones, TV’s, radio, etc.).
  • Sit facing one another. If giving eye contact is too uncomfortable for one or both of you, it’s okay to sit side-by-side or back-to-back so that there is no eye contact.
  • Choose who will communicate first and who is will listen by flipping a coin.
  • Set the timer for 10-minutes. The person who is to talk first reads question #1 and shares their answers along with any significant details and examples. If your 10 minutes are not up yet, then move onto the next question and answers. IMPORTANT: Please remember to be thoughtful and compassionate and stay away from language that is blaming, accusatory, unkind or punitive. **
  • The partner who is listening is not to talk or respond, but rather listen with your full and undivided attention, interest and even curiosity. If you are distracted, tell your partner that you will give him/her your undivided attention and energy at a certain time. IMPORTANT: Please hold back from commenting, giving your opinion or arguing about what’s being shared. You will have your turn to communicate. **
  • When the 10-minutes are up, switch roles of communicator and listener and follow the same process as above.

**If either one of you notice that you tend to be negative, pessimistic, critical, defensive, or withholding, I strongly recommend that you do Step 2 in the presence of a marriage counselor or a relationship coach.

Step 3 – Continue Healthy Communication

The goal of the communication exercise in Step 2 is to talk and listen one at a time. If you both have a sense that you can calmly continue to discuss your discoveries, then by all means, please do. Set aside time each week to do this healthy way of communicating by scheduling it in your calendars. With practice, you will find that communicating becomes easier and less awkward. In time, you may want to extend the 10-minutes each to 15-20 minutes each.

Congratulations! You’ve done a great job!!


Want free relationship advice right away? Take advantage of Tamara’s free 45-minute guidance session where you will finally get clarity and relief from your dating or relationship struggles. Whether you are single or are experiencing relationship upset, by clicking here, you no longer have to figure this out alone anymore. Yay!

XOXO Tamara

Talk to Tamara – March 2017

Dear Tamara,

I have an intention that this is the year I’ll be in a great relationship. But quite frankly, I believe it to be more of a fantasy than a future reality. In fact, I doubt it because my dating and relationship experience has been dismal. However, I’m really good about doing my homework, so I say my affirmation statement everyday. But I think I’m doing something wrong. Can you give me some advice on how to turn my intention into a real live relationship with a great guy?

Signed: Doubtful

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Dear Doubtful:

There is a surefire way to make your affirmation work for you. Turn your intention into a powerful visualization. You’re already fantasizing about being with a great guy, which means that you have tapped into the tool that can help you actualize this in real life. Visualization, the kind that involves imagining success in love, has long been employed by professional athletes to create amazing results. Research shows that many professions are using the tools of visualization quite effectively: surgeons use it to possess laser focus; musicians use it to improve their performance; and, business executives use it to ace a presentation. Many use it to stay on their diets to lose weight. You too, you can use visualization to call in your beloved and to experience the relationship you’ve always dreamed of – even before he physically shows up.

How Visualization Works

Your brain believes what you imagine. Brain science reveals that you experience real-world and imaginary actions in similar ways. For example, whether you are acing an event or only picturing it, you activate many of the same neural networks and pathways of nerve cells that link your body to the brain impulses that control it. What’s on your mind screen stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which activates an increase in heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. Just by envisioning a movement, such as holding hands with your partner-to-be, elicits nervous-system responses of that same action.

The more you envision, the more you’re able to activate your emotions that match the desired scene of your mind screen. The more detailed the visualizations with your beloved become, the faster you can achieve what you desire. This is because you are creating new neuro-pathways in your brain. Plus, your nervous system reaps the benefits: increase in calm and confidence and decrease in heart rate and stress hormones.

Three Simple Steps To Turn Fantasy Into Reality

  1. Visualize with detail: Go ahead and imagine yourself holding hands with your beloved as if it’s happening right now. (Important note: I do not recommend that you have a particular man in mind because the Universe may have someone much better that’s intended just for you.) Imagine that you are watching you in your own movie where you are the star. In your mind, create the scene or interaction of you with your beloved. Let all your senses come alive. What are you feeling, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching in this beautiful scene? Are you walking hand-in-hand on a gorgeous beach while on vacation together? Are you both in a kitchen making dinner and laughing hysterically? Maybe it’s a quiet scene where both of you are cuddled up on the couch reading books. Allow yourself to feel happy and giddy with excitement. These emotions activate your nervous system in a wonderfully positive way.
  2. Visualize often: Deeply surrender into this imagination, sensing and feeling it all. It feels good, right? To make your visualizations extra powerful, it’s important to create a momentum. This means doing it for at least 2 minutes everyday. Eventually, add in more detail each time and increase your imagination play for up to 5 minutes per day. Smile and bask in the feelings of joy, excitement and peace. Sense the deep love and adoration you feel for your partner-to-be. Allow yourself to feel how grateful he is to have you and your love in his life. He is one fortunate man!!
  3. Commit completely: Make a pledge that you will never stop your visualizations until the One shows up in the flesh. This is a commitment that you are making to yourself so don’t give up.

 

XOXO Tamara

Talk to Tamara – February 2017

Dear Tamara,

The thought of going through a Valentine’s Day without my ex-boyfriend is breaking my heart. He left me for someone else. My emotions are like a Ping-Pong ball because one minute I’m scheming on how to win him back and the next I’m plotting his demise. The truth is, I need to move on, but how? Please help release me of my suffering.

Signed: Love Crazed

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Dear Love Crazed:

I’m so sorry that your heart is broken, but I’m here to tell you that your suffering will not last forever, even though it may feel that way right now.

It’s important to know that the ending of one relationship sets the tone for your next one. When you hold lingering feelings toward your ex, such as, resentment, pining or un-forgiveness, then most likely, you will experience difficulties in your next relationship or in attracting your new love. Negativity is a lower energy vibration that, like a magnet, attracts that lower energy right into your life, such as, challenges and loneliness.

There is an easy and fun solution to releasing your ex and what blocks you from your new love. I call it Jarring For Love. Before I explain what that is, let me first tell you an amazing group of curious school children from Korea.

An entire second grade class created a very interesting experiment having to do with love, hate and indifference. They filled three mason jars 3/4 full of water and placed a fresh onion on top of each container. One jar was labeled Love Me. The second jar was labeled Hate Me. The last jar was labeled, Ignore Me.

Every day during classroom time, whenever the children would pass by the Love Me jar, they would say, “I love you, you’re so beautiful, I love you!” Whenever they passed by the Hate Me jar, they would say, “I hate you, you’re ugly, I hate you!” Whenever they passed by the third jar, the kids ignored it altogether.

After two months, the results were remarkable. The loved onion thrived and grew very strong green stocks out the top and vibrant roots underneath. The hated onion turned light brown, had wilted and stocks and shriveled roots. The most fascinating result was with the ignored onion because it looked the worst of all. It was dark brown and 1/3 its original size. Its stocks nor roots grew. In fact, the poor onion became a rotted mess.

The experiment didn’t end here. Feeling sorry for the hated and ignored onions, the children decided to love them back to health. In only 30 days of being blasted with love, the onions were rejuvenated back to their thriving, fresh and original state, once again.

This is an amazing lesson for all of us on the powerful impact of love, hate and indifference. The fact is that love cures everything, even our past relationships. It’s the energy of love that will release and unblock you, too. Like the failing onions, love will rejuvenate your heart to a higher vibration and attract your new and amazing beloved.

Your inflamed ego, which operates form fear, is telling you to either blame your ex for how you feel or to win him back to feel better. However, your heart, which operates from love, is telling you to let go of your pining and bitterness. Your heart knows that doing so will set you free. Jarring For Love is an invitation for your Higher Self to take over, for your Loving Self to cure your past so that you can step into your future relationship with ease.

6 Steps To ‘Jarring’ Your Ex To Attract Your New Love

  1. Take a large jar, box, vase or any other container you wish and label it with your ex’s name or photo. Or, simply label it, “Releasing My Past With Love”, or something similar.
  2. Looking at your jar, hold up your right hand and read this, “I, ___(your name)___, hereby swear, that for the next 30 days or more, I will not pass by this container without sending it my love, forgiveness, gratitude, and compassion. In this moment, I surrender my past, releasing it to the wisdom of my own Higher Self.”
  3. Place your container in an area of your home where you will pass by it most often. For most people, it’s the kitchen.
  4. Besides sending the energy of love, etc., also, feed your container everyday with kind notes to your ex and to yourself, affirmations, crystals, prayer beads, intentions or anything else that your heart desires. Release your ex and your heart by saying to your container, “Thank you for our time together. Because of our relationship, I learned about myself, about love and about life. You helped me to be clear about what I now truly desire, so thank you!”
  5. As you release, prepare your heart for receiving. As if you are watching you in your own movie, see the loving relationship that you are now deciding to have. Get excited about this happening. Be grateful now for what you are creating for your loving future.
  6. Have fun doing this. Be light-hearted and smile a lot.

 

XOXO Tamara

 

Talk to Tamara – January 2017

Dear Tamara,

I am so upset that I went through another holiday season single and alone. In the past 5 years I’ve had three brief relationships with men who treated me like dirt and then disappeared for no apparent reason; had hundreds of lonely weekends with my best pals Ben & Jerry; and cried buckets of frustrated tears. And to boot, 2017 is not looking promising at all. Do you have any words of advice before I totally throw in the towel on love?

Signed: Giving Up

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Note: I contacted this reader to inquire further and she admitted to being a people pleaser; giving in too easily to men – including sex; focusing on others rather than herself; and believing that she’s not worthy of love.

Dear Giving Up:

My heart goes out to you because, once upon a time, I was the expert on people pleasing. I wanted others to love me and I was willing to give away my soul if that’s what it took. Yet in spite of my efforts to please, I always ended up abandoned, lost and confused. So, I really do understand why you’re ready to throw in the towel on love.

Here’s my plea to you… don’t give up on love! In fact, I want you to commit (or re-commit) to this journey more than ever yet in a whole new way. This time around, use the 90/10 Rule – commit 90% to you and only 10% to everyone else. My guess is that you’ve been using this rule in reverse – 90% to others and 10% to you (if even that). But when you commit mostly to you, I promise that your life will turn around in the most magical ways. It certainly did for me.

Using the 90/10 Rule to Attract Love

Be devoted to you: Imagine yourself like a rock in a stream. When you’re devoted to you and your desires, that stream cannot wash you away. When you’re trying to please others, you get washed away in seconds. Therefore, devote 90% of your time, focus and energy on you, which builds a foundation of self-esteem, self-confidence and self-love. This is absolutely irresistible to men!

Make a pledge: “I, ___(your name)___, hereby pledge, that I will not give up on love. I understand that this is not an easy journey but rather a courageous one. Even through my darkest days, I commit to nurturing and caring for my body, mind and soul with the 90/10 Rule, which includes daily practices of mindfulness and loving self-care. I understand that my self-sabotaging patterns will surface and that I may want to give up. I will use these dark moments as an opportunity to re-commit to me and my dreams of a loving relationship. I acknowledge that I am worthy of love.

Signed: __________________(Your signature)____________________

Notice how you’re spending your time during non-working hours: These days, most people spend way too much time in technology related activities such as social media, TV, movies, online shopping and other mind-numbing behaviors. Are you doing the same? It’s okay to enjoy these things but not to live in them.

Immerse yourself in positive books that supports your love journey: I highly recommend my friend and mentor’s book, Love In 90 Days: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Own True Love by Diana Kirschner, Ph.D. This step-by-step guide has helped 1000’s of women navigate the choppy waters of dating, love and relationships to success.

Begin your spiritual practice: Finding inner peace is key. Commit to yoga, nature walks, meditation, mindfulness and/or hobbies on a regular basis. Doing so will increase your chances for success in love by 85%!

Complement and acknowledge yourself every single day: Give yourself kudos for being the courageous woman that you are. Find things about you that you’re grateful for, happy about and admire. Gratitude is the gateway to abundance.

Trust your gut intuition: That very first impression of a person or situation is your inner wisdom coming through. Do not ignore it. Honor it 100% because it’s always correct.

Follow these 90/10 Rule guidelines and experience a new year filled with love!

 

XOXO Tamara

My Exciting News!

Great Things Coming!

Hello all you wonderful readers! You may have noticed I have been absent for a while in the blogging world. It has been for all very good reasons! In the coming weeks, I am planning to shake up my entire site so I can give you, my most loyal friends, more ways to encourage and inspire you to take control of your life and truly love yourselves. So stay tuned to see what I have planned. I promise you, you’ll love the changes!

and now some exciting news…

Cover and Article in Eydis Magazine!

I am so thrilled to be interviewed and featured on the cover of Eydis Magazine! I decided to share my story of how I overcame my childhood history of sexual abuse and learned to love myself.  I hope my story inspires readers to find their own turning point to find self-love.

I urge you to read it and share it below!

“Talk to Tamara” Relationship Advice Column in Eydis Magazine!

I was also approached to write a monthly relationship  advice column in Eydis Magazine where I will be answering readers’ questions on love and relationships. This is perfectly in line with my desire to help others find everlasting love!

Read my very first answer to one reader’s question: “Should I stay, or do i go?”

Do you have questions on love you would like answered? Email me your burning questions on love, dating and relationships at tamaragreen4u@gmail.com and I will be sure to address them in future issues! 

The Holiday Survival Guide For Couples – Part 3: 7 Powerful Tips on How To Get Some Of That Intimacy!

Happy New Year!! May 2016 be a year filled with outrageously delicious love and happiness! Keep reading and improve your chances for delicious love and happiness by following my powerful tips on increasing relationship intimacy.

This is the third in a 3-part series titled, The Holiday Survival Guide For Couples. In last week’s blog, I explained the 4 main culprits for erosion of intimacy: 1) Unintentionally hurting each other, 2) Over reactivity or drama, 3) Turning away or the White Elephant Syndrome, and 4) Taking each other for granted. Today, I will share powerful tips on how to get some juicy emotional and trusting intimacy flowing in your relationship, which are key to a long-lasting loving partnership.

7 Powerful Tips on How To Get Some Of That Intimacy!

  1. Imagine Intimacy Imagination is powerful because beneath the images of the mind, you can tap into the realm of possibility. Like a goal or a dream, envision what you want with your partner. Then, be grateful NOW for what you’ve envisioned, before it actualizes. Gratitude is key because it’s the gateway to welcoming it into your life.
  1. Be Trusting and Trustworthy Author, John Gottman, has spent much of his career researching and writing about the behaviors of couples. He reports that trust is built in a culmination of lots of little moments between 2 people. An example of this would be a husband saying to his wife, “Sweetie, I see that you are having a tough time right now. What do you need? How can I help you?” Or, a wife telling her husband, “Thank you for fixing the wobbly door knob. It’s things like this that make my day run a little easier.” Another interesting trust-builder is asking for help. These seemingly small gestures are great for building a trusting relationship.
  1. Be vulnerable, honest and authentic – If you’re struggling, say so. It’s an amazing opportunity for intimacy with your partner. Here’s what vulnerability, honesty and authenticity sounds like, “Honey, I’m really upset about something and I need a sounding board. Can you help me by listening to my problem and let me know if I’m over reacting?” By letting your partner into your world, he or she feels included and helpful while you feel taken care of. All of this fosters wonderful intimacy.
  1. Pause, feel and breathe – This tip is especially for those couples that tend to have drama in their relationship. Whenever you feel stressed and ready to spew your reactive comments at your partner, do these 3 things instead: 1) Pause- stop what you are doing/saying; 2) Notice how you feel- acknowledge to yourself how you feel. Labeling your feeling is the 1st step to calming down; and 3) Take 10 deep breaths– getting oxygen in your system always begins the calming process. In Part 1 of this series, you learned about the over-reactive Amygdala in your brain. Pausing, feeling and breathing is giving your frontal cortex, the rational part of your brain, a chance to be in charge instead of your ‘fight-or-flight Amygdala’.
  1. Blame-free zone – Have a place in your home where you and your partner agree is the “Blame-Free Zone”. This is a safe room (or part of a room or area) where absolutely no judgments, criticisms, verbal attacks are allowed. This is your place to have “pauses”, fun, and relaxation. This zone is the area where you and your partner can re-group, giving you the opportunity to change your patterns of drama and repetitive arguments.
  1. Have a practice of communication. Next time you have a meal together, turn off your cell phones and just talk. Take turns asking questions and take turns listening. True communication is more about listening than offering suggestions and solutions and sounds something like this:

“I had a stressful day at work today.”

“Why, what happened?”

“There was a last-minute change that I had to make in my presentation.”

“Wow! How’d you handle that?”

“I was able to pull it off, but I had to reschedule my lunch plans with a prospective client to make it happen.”

“But you did it. That’s fantastic!”

In this conversation, you can see that the communication included active listening and support, which is key for intimacy.

  1. Get professional help – Sometimes, couples need extra help to get to an improved state of intimacy. The following are list of ways you can save your relationship:

· See a marriage counselor or relationship coach

· Go to a personal growth course together.

· Attend a meditation retreat together.

Any of these suggestions can be the very thing that turns your relationship around for the better.

Want free relationship advice right away? Take advantage of Tamara’s free 45-minute guidance session where you will finally get clarity and relief from your dating or relationship struggles. Whether you are single or are experiencing relationship upset, by clicking here, you no longer have to figure this out alone anymore. Yay!

The fastest road to delicious intimacy is to give your partner exactly what it is that you desire. – Tamara Green, LCSW

The Holiday Survival Guide For Couples: Part 2- The 4 Culprits To Eroding intimacy

In last week’s blog, I explained the different types of intimacy: Intellectual, Energetic or experiential, Emotional, and Sexual. Today, I will share the top 4 culprits of intimacy erosion in relationships:

4 Main Culprits To Eroding Relationship Intimacy

1. Unintentionally hurting each other

Unless you or your partner has tendencies of passive aggressive or sociopathic behaviors, you really don’t intend to hurt one another. In fact, you probably have the same relationship goals of happiness, peace and joy. Then why do couples hurt each other? The answer is that one or both of you are in fear or pain. In fact, the amount of unresolved fear or pain that you feel is the amount of pain that you inflict or project onto one another. For example, I worked with a client who had a childhood history of sexual molestation. It left her feeling trapped and overwhelmed for years. She unintentionally carried these fears into her adult romantic relationships. It wasn’t unusual for her to suddenly announce, without too much provocation from her partner, that the relationship was over, leaving the poor guy confused and left wondering, “What the heck just happened?!” When her fears were triggered, this ‘coping mechanism’ of fleeing the relationship felt mighty powerful. However, with professional help and a ton of inner work, she finally resolved her fears of being trapped and overwhelmed and now has a thriving and loving marriage.

2. Over-reactivity or drama

When triggered, do you and/or your partner fight or flee, or both?

Let me explain why the fight or flight phenomena exists. You have more than one almond-shaped area of your brain called the Amygdala. Its job is to sense, prepare and deal with perceived danger via fight or flight. The Amygdala stores memories of trauma and upset from your past. Therefore, 99.9% of the time, the pattern that’s being set off has nothing to do with what’s actually happening between you and your partner in the present moment. As soon as “danger” is perceived, your Amygdala takes over your sensible frontal cortex section of your brain.

In romantic relationships, it usually doesn’t take much for the Amygdala to become triggered. Before your rational mind has a chance to engage, the Amygdala has already done its quick and dirty work (slammed doors, screamed obscenities, given threats to leave and even verbal and physical abuse). And if that’s not enough, the Amygdala gets addicted to the flood of emotional chemicals that course through your body. So, each time you have to get angrier, scream louder or become more abusive to get that rush of chemical soup throughout your system.

In the end, the only real danger is that of losing your wonderful relationship!

3.  Turning away or the White Elephant Syndrome

 Couples who don’t authentically communicate regularly often experience this particular kind of intimacy erosion. They avoid difficult topics and steer clear of disturbing the apple cart. It’s as if there’s a white elephant in the middle of the living room, but no one’s talking about it because it’ll upset the relationship status quo. For example, I have worked with a number of clients who try to avoid the topic of their partner’s addiction problem. They fear that if they bring it up, it’ll either shatter their loved one or their relationship. It takes courage to talk about difficult subjects, but in the end, it’s the only chance for a happy partnership. My job with these clients is to support them through their fears of speaking up and to stop tiptoeing around the issue. No one ever moved an elephant by walking around it. No, you have to walk right up to it and confront it to get it to move.

4. Taking each other for granted

 How many times have I seen relationships fail because they take each other for granted. Appreciating the little things that your partner does is vitally important for you to recognize and acknowledge, preferably everyday. Not doing so is a relationship killer. Couples who have a practice of gratitude never take each other for granted.

Homework for the week:

For the next 7 days, be in the practice of sitting with your fears and pain. Take 10 deep breaths whenever you feel triggered in any way. Complement yourself for sitting with your feelings because this is not easy to do.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog, The Holiday Survival Guide For Couples: Part 3- How Do I Get Some Of That Intimacy?

 Need relationship advice right away, even before the holidays are over? Take advantage of Tamara’s free 45-minute guidance session where you will finally get clarity and relief from your heartbreak. By clicking here you no longer have to figure this out alone anymore. Yay!

The fastest road to delicious intimacy is to give your partner exactly what it is that you desire. – Tamara Green, LCSW

 

The Holiday Survival Guide For Couples: Part 1- What Is Intimacy?

I’d like to say that the holidays bring out the best in couples, but unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case for many. During this time of extended family visits, increased spending and busy-ness, the spirit of the holidays often take a back seat to stress and overwhelm. Of course, this stress affects relationships and healthy intimacy tends to take a back seat, too.

Welcome to my 3-part holiday series, where I give the low-down on intimacy. This is to help you and your partner get through the holidays not only intact, but also in a loving and healthy way. In week 1, I’ll explain what intimacy is. In week 2, I’ll share with you the main culprits that erode intimacy. In week 3, I’ll reveal the secrets to how you can experience lasting, fun and juicy intimacy in your relationship, not only for this holiday season, but also for the years to come. Last, I’ll give you a homework assignment each week that will amp up your level of relationship intimacy. Let’s get started.

 What is intimacy?

Intimacy is one of the most precious commodities we have in relationships. It’s something that takes time, is a process and journey that two people take together. There are 4 different types of intimacy:

Intellectual intimacy

An exchange and/or support of each other’s thoughts, ideas and opinions. This involves verbal communication.

I’ll use my mother and step-father as an example for this. Every Sunday, they would read the Times while drinking coffee during the morning hours. Then at lunch or dinner, they would discuss what they read, which sometimes turned into a friendly debate. They enjoyed these exchanges because they had a chance to share their opinions and ideas with one another. As the witness to their intellectual intimacy, I enjoyed it, too.

 Energetic or experiential intimacy

When a couple engages in mutual activities. This usually does not involve verbal communication, but rather energetic synergy.

 I’ll share my own personal example of this type of intimacy. Since 2012, my husband and I have produced guided meditations for our Miracle Mondays Meditations community. We quietly sit together – I write and use my voice to guide the meditations while he composes the beautiful music and produces the products. The result – powerful and transformative meditation audios and videos.

Back in the 90’s, we used to invent personalized songs for kids who were in the hospital with cancer. I wrote the lyrics and sang while my husband composed the music and burned CD’s for each child. Creating together is a ‘cloud-9’ experience for us. It has always felt amazing to have this generative energy flowing between us.

 Emotional intimacy

Sharing your feelings and a desire to understand the feelings of your partner. This involves both verbal and non-verbal communication.

 Couples must have a level of trust and comfort with each other to be able to share their vulnerabilities. If one or both are over reactive, it will most likely shut down this level of intimacy. Several years ago, I was working with a couple that really wanted more emotional intimacy but their relationship was ingrained in reactive patterns of communication. He would often roll his eyes when she shared her feelings and she would criticize him for not meeting her needs. Step-by-step, we examined their cycles of destructive verbal and non-verbal habits and replaced them with healthy behaviors of active listening, compassionate rapport and empathetic-type body language. Their hard work paid off as their relationship is now flourishing.

Sexual intimacy

Any form of sensual expression toward or for one another. This involves physical and non-physical communication.

Most people think of intimacy as being only sexual, but as you can see, it’s not only about sex. Examples of non-physical sexual intimacy include talking about sex before having it and revealing sexual fantasies to one another. Examples of physical sexual intimacy include, hugging, kissing, massage, sensual touch, oral sex and intercourse.

When couples end up in my office due to marital problems, it’s not unusual for me to hear that sex is an issue. One of the main reasons for this is because men and women often experience sexual intimacy very differently. For example, men tend to form more of an emotional bond with their partner after sex, while women desire the emotional bonding in order to have sex. Once couples understand this innate and very common difference, and if they can compromise a little to meet the other’s needs, their sexual intimacy problems tend to disappear.

Homework for the week: For the next 7 days, tell your partner everyday at least 1 thing about them that turns you on. Go ahead, have some fun! 😉

Stay tuned for next week’s blog, The Holiday Survival Guide For Couples: Part 2- What Are The Main Culprits To Eroding Intimacy?

 Need relationship advice in a jiffy? Take advantage of Tamara’s free 45-minute guidance session where you will finally get clarity and relief from your heartbreak. By clicking here you no longer have to figure this out alone anymore. Yay!