7 Popular Posts on StephenHedger.com

At least once per year I like to highlight popular posts for new readers and remind long-term readers of important messages that are easy to forget. 

There is no question that relationships are complicated, this is why I have committed to help people across the globe with my perspective on relationships through this free blog.

My unique perspective comes from spending most of my week with couples in crisis on the brink of divorce. [Read more...]

“The Win-Win”

For a relationship to work the couple need to be in a position where they have created a dynamic that helps both people to “WIN” within their relationship.

By “WIN” I mean both people feel connect to what they value which means they are happy with the result of their conflict, communication, situation in fact any experience they have together.

So many couples are using a ‘win-lose’ strategy which ultimately creates a ‘lose-lose’ result which means the couple are likely to be stacking resentments towards each other.

In relationships if anyone loses you both lose, because losing in a relationship creates resentments. So one person may feel they have won an argument, but the big picture is, if they have won then their partner has lost and that formula is destructive. [Read more...]

A professional couple new baby at the point of divorce.

He worked in the financial sector she was a psychologist. In their initial consultation it was clear to see their relationship was dying fast. With a new baby that wasn’t sleeping I could see this couple was exhausted and emotionally empty.

Combination of punishing work schedules and a 18 month old child who was too ill to sleep had triggered this couple into an automatic destructive process that had to be interrupted.

Both were focused on protecting themselves from the other, they were displaying all the usual coping strategies of blame, recrimination and power struggles leading to unbearable conflicts and days of deafening silences.  [Read more...]

Chronic fatigue (ME) & My Marriage Problems

Stuart was totally lost, he suffered with multiple problems, from a very traumatic past that was totally out of his control. The result meant that not only was he emotionally disconnected with his true self, but as a result his marriage was in serious crisis, and he risked losing being a father to his two year old daughter.

He was very angry with life and knew he needed help, FAST…

Stuart writes…

I initially came to Stephen as my Marriage had broken down, but this was only the tip of the iceberg, I had been suffering with Chronic fatigue (ME) for around 4 years, my Thyroid had stopped working fully many years before that and my interactions with other people at best, looking back, seemed hostile. [Read more...]

Why is it so difficult for couples to fix their relationship problems?

What I’m going to share today is critical to understand if you want to make lasting changes in your relationship. I have not spoken about this before on this blog so it’s important to understand.

Very few couples do this automatically and this is one of the major factors to why there are so many single parents, broken families, affairs, separations and divorces.

By understanding and helping couples understand what is important to know in their relationship  is one of the key factors to the success in all my relationship clinics.

If you have been following my posts you will have learnt that couples “presenting problems” such as arguments, loss of passion, lack of trust, etc, are not the real problems in a couples relationship. Although with no other logical knowledge this will be their incorrect assumption. [Read more...]

Why do so many couples break up?

Couples all over the world are breaking up, tearing families apart, hurting those they promised to love and care for. The question is why and what can we do about it?

What is it that really makes the difference? What is it that couples are doing, or not doing to enable this massive tidal wave of destruction especially to those that have children.

What I have seen first hand that makes the difference is the following:

  • Understand why you are together and what is your purpose. Many couples have no idea and love is not a strong enough reason on it’s own.
  • Who are you really and what impact has your life had on you so far. The past will come back to bite you if you don’t deal with it.
  • How should your future life and relationship be for you? Don’t assume your partners’ is the same.
  • Understand your own critical needs and what is really important to you and why.
  • Making a plan so you share a vision for a future you can both work towards.
  • Never judge your partner, because your not qualified
  • Never making them wrong, because it could be your assumption that they are.
  • Understand how you will both deal with conflicts when they strike, because they will.

The thing is if you don’t know who you really are, then how can you communicate that to your partner. If you don’t communicate how you see your future then how will your partner know if it fits with their vision. If you don’t know what you really need to be happy then how can your partner know?

Many people tell me they have no idea what they want their future to be like. If this is the case how can they commit their undefined lives to someone else. It is a blind commitment with costly consequences if it goes wrong which a crossed figher strategy is likely to create.

One of the biggest problems I come across is the lack of team work in relationships, they agree to do all the perceived big things such as get married, buy a house have kids. But they do this with no real planning in fact for many that is the plan.

So is it little wonder why so many people become depressed after these big events, the working together comes to a grinding halt! The relationship now has no direction and it’s not long before the couple feel it. Boredom, stale, passionless, groundhog day relationships are created as the relationship stops meeting their needs, and more and more external forces starts to take the place of the relationship.

Many think that relationships are natural things out of their control and so they go with the flow of how they feel, not understanding that they have to actually do something.

The bottom line is for you to live the life you want you have to be YOU. From dating to long-term relationships.

There are more problems: Many people don’t know that their life conditions and experiences can create very different version of their true selves, selves that they designed to cope with past highly charged emotional events.

If this version of themselves worked for them at the time, they could use this as a coping strategy for other times in their lives that present similar pressures. This becomes them and can destroy their lives as they live in fear, but to them that is normal.

So those looking for a relationship who fear something in relationships will present that fearful version to those they are trying to attract and consequently will attract those who like the fearful version of them. So the relationship has started on a distortion, or individuals can become fearful when in a relationship and create the very thing they fear through distorted behaviours.

All of the above is applicable from those in search of someone to share their lives with to couples in long-term relationships.

Understand how you and relationships work is critical to lasting love, don’t leave your relationship to chance the cost is too high.

Couples Communication Problems

In nearly all my couples session there is one consistent problem couples experience and that is the couple communicate to each other as if their genders and their differences do not exist. If you understand the differences you will save your relationship.

So a man will listen to his wife as if she is a man talking to him. A woman will listen to her husband as if he is a woman talking her.

When this happens neither person in the relationship will feel heard or understood and over time this will build high levels of frustration and potential proof that the relationship is no longer working.

When the couple do this the meanings behind their words are never understood and so conflict is never far away.

The couple have failed to understand each other and when this happen critical needs stop being met and the relationship slowly starts to die.

The relationship can be saved as soon as the couple understand the gender differences and see their partners  intentions were not destructive they were simple receiving the wrong message.

Men and women are totally different

The truth is men and women communicate in totally different ways, men are very direct in their approach and women use indirect language.

For example: If two women were talking about going to a party and one brought up the thought of another woman wearing the same dress as her. See might say “…if that happened I would just die!”

To a man this is ridiculous, “…of course you won’t die!”

If a man dating a woman says I can’t see you Saturday. What he means is I can’t see you Saturday! And that’s all he means. A woman will hear a thousand possible reasons behind his words. He’s going off me, I’m too fat, he likes someone else… etc, etc.

  • Understand there are differences and you’ll start be open to explore how to be successful.

So in a conflict situation when she is making him responsible for everything wrong in her life she is actually crying for help because on some level she feels unsafe and she wants him to make her safe again. So she will test him to see if he will look after her. Men at this point have a tendency to run away either physically or mentally, now she feels really unsafe with him.

When he shuts down or runs away, he is stuck, frustrated, hurt not knowing what to do.

Be under no illusion he wants with all of his heart to make his woman happy and she wants to feel safe. They both want the same things it’s just confusion that creates the conflicts that ultimately leads to the couples separation.

The goal is to discover how to help each other to be successful by understanding the intent behind each others words and not making them wrong in their approach.