Relationship Challenges

Relationship Challenges

A lot of people feel like dating in your 40’s is like being is hell. I have to say I disagree. Sure, there are advantages to dating when you are younger, but when you are in your 40’s you don’t have the pressure you did when you were younger.

Most likely you are more financially secure and in a career you like. You either have children or have given up on the idea of children. And, you aren’t in a rush. This is the time where you can really enjoy dating.

You also have a much better idea of what you want in a relationship. Meaning what you will put up with and what you won’t. As human beings we need to connect. If you feel this way then you are normal. Remember, it’s alright to say no and to wait for something better to come along.

Here are 12 questions to tell if he is a keeper or not.

  1. Why are you single?
  2. What is your biggest insecurity?
  3. Are you looking for something serious or casual?
  4. Are you thinking about making any major residential moves in the next year?
  5. Have you ever struggled with any mental health issues?
  6. Have you ever been arrested?
  7. Have you ever been in a serious relationship before?
  8. What memories have scarred you for life?
  9. Are you close with your…

Read more: Dating After 40? Here Are 12 Questions You Must Ask.

In the beginning love is bliss. You can’t wait to see each other. You have so much in common and the sparks are flying. As time goes on, things change. You buy a house, have children and get promoted at your job. This is all great, but what happens to your relationship?

We start to put all these other things first and our relationship last. Not only is this hard on intimacy, it’s hard on the friendship. The Gottman’s have been studying relationships for over four decades. What they’ve found, is what keeps the sparks flying is a strong friendship. This is true for both men and women.

We’ve put together a list of questions that will help deepen your relationship and add meaning to it. Make sure to schedule some time with your partner each day to ask some of these questions. 

Here are 21 questions to help keep the sparks flying.

  1. What major stresses are you facing right now?
  2. What are all the details of your day?
  3. What is one of your greatest fears or disaster scenarios?
  4. Describe in detail what I did yesterday, or today.
  5. What is the most embarrassing thing that happened to you this past week?
  6. What would you consider your dream job?
  7. What medical problems do you worry about?
  8. What was your worst childhood experience?
  9. What is your favorite time of…

Read more: 21 Questions To Help Keep The Sparks Flying In Your Relationship

Entering a relationship, is like starting a long term investment for retirement. That is, if you're in it for the long haul and would like to have a nice retirement. It's no secret that relationships have highs and lows. What's important is that you repair after the lows. 

You build a good relationship over time. It's the small deposits that make a big difference over a long period of time. If you aren't making a lot of small deposits, then making one big deposit won't make a bit of difference. It may actually hurt your relationship in the long run.

If you make too many withdrawals, you will end up overdrawn which can cause the relationship to end. This doesn't mean you count. Counting is one of the worst things you can do in a relationship. This means you make genuine deposits into your relationship, and take a genuine interest in your partner. Here are five simple investments you can make everyday:

  1. Kiss, Kiss, Kiss. This is very simple but it's easy to get away from when you are in a long term relationship. Kiss for at least six and a half seconds, twice a day. This is not a long time. When you kiss for six and a half seconds, things in the brain begin to change. Prepare for the kiss like you did in the beginning.…

Read more: 5 Simple Investments You Can Make In Your Relationship Everyday

3 Things To Stop Fighting About, & 3 Things To Start Talking About

Money, sex and the children. I have seen many couples in therapy over the 14 years I have worked as a Marriage & Family Therapist. I have found that many couples have problems on the surface and they need to address the problems underneath the surface. After being in a relationship it's easy to pick on your partner's faults and blame one another if the relationship is going south. 

Over the past five years I have been trained in and using The Gottman Method for Couples. This is a well researched method. The Gottman's have done over four decades of research in working with couples. They have developed a lot of great tools for couples to help with communication and building the friendship in the relationship. Which, by the way, the research has found that a good friendship is crucial in a relationship. This is reported by, both men and women.

One of my favorite tools that they have that helps with communication is Dreams within Conflict. This helps the couple have a guided conversation that helps build understanding in the relationship. One person is the speaker and one is the listener. The speaker is the dream speaker and the listener is the dream catcher. It's easy to want to fix or solve the problem. The purpose of this exercise is not to argue for your…

Read more: 3 Things To Stop Fighting About, & 3 Things To Start Talking About

Whether you are in a good relationship or a dysfunctional one, there will always be conflict. What matters most is how you manage the conflict. In the Gottman's research, they found that 69% of problems in a relationship weren't solvable. What this means is you need to work on understanding one another in your relationship.

When couples come in for counseling, they want to solve their problems and move on. They aren't usually that happy when they find out most of their problems aren't solvable. Going for a solution now can actually hurt the relationship. This also means you don't have to fix everything. Which I find as a relief. When I was younger I was a strong problem solver and now I'm not. This has changed my attitude on life tremendously, and in a good way.

Don't worry if you are trying to solve your relationship problems, you aren't alone. Many of us have done it and may still try to in the future. Couples tend to get stuck in their problems. This leads to a lot of conflict and misunderstanding. We have found at the Gottman Institute, that these are the four ways to ruin a perfectly good relationship:

  1. Criticize (Attack) - Using "you" statements.
  2. Defensive - You attacked, so I will defend myself. (We've heard Donald Trump use this one) This is…

Read more: How To Fix The 4 Most Common Relationship Problems

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