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Questions about relationships?

JenlehrLMFTJenlehrLMFT Member, Love Wellness Advisor Posts: 179 ✭✭✭
edited September 2019 in Jennifer Lehr

Maybe you are struggling with something in a relationship? Or perhaps you are curious about an aspect of relating? Let me know your questions and I will be happy to answer them. The more detail you give, the better an answer I can provide.

Here are some common relationship issues to get you thinking...

I feel lonely in my marriage.

I don't know why my partner and I keep fighting and I'm not sure what to do.

I have trouble saying no to my partner.

My partner and I have very different sex drives. How do we navigate through this?

I don't like my partner's family, so I don't enjoy spending time with them but my partner wants me to.

Hope these prompts help!


  • taishanycetaishanyce Member Posts: 135 ✭✭✭

    I have trouble saying no to everyone.

  • JenlehrLMFTJenlehrLMFT Member, Love Wellness Advisor Posts: 179 ✭✭✭


    First, I want to let you know that it takes courage to reveal our difficulties like this. So good job on that!

    When I was younger, I was not able to say no to people as well. What I learned to do initially, was make an excuse and say, "no, I can't do that because I have other plans," I had to have an excuse. I could not say no just because I didn't want to do whatever that thing was.

    Later, over time, I learned how to say no because I wanted to say no, and I didn't need to make any excuses.

    First, why is it difficult to say no? Often, and in my case, I wasn't allowed to say no as a child and teenager. Myself and my siblings didn't have the 'right' to say no. We were seen as kids who needed to listen to our parents and were not encouraged to speak our minds. And because my father was violent, it was scary to oppose him. So when a person can't say no, they generally don't believe they have the right to say no. They may feel as if the other person will be mad at them, look down on them, or not like them anymore. It is indicative of low self esteem.

    How to recover from this and develop the ability to say no? First, here is a very short blog post I wrote about learning to say no:

    Practice telling yourself that you have the right to follow your desires and that your desires are more important than what other people want.

    Figure out what you are afraid of - for example, someone won't like you. And begin to tell yourself that you will be okay if that thing happens. Fear can really stop us. But we can develop our courage.

    You might not even have created of believing you don't have to please others. Look in the mirror and say, "I love myself and it is not my job to keep other people happy."

    All of this kind of work is like building a muscle. You have to practice to get better at it. Start saying no with little things that are easier. You might even create a scenario where you invite someone to do something and then you call them and say you are sorry, but you cannot do it. The other person may be disappointed, but they will live.

    Sometimes it helps to do inner child work. One way of doing that is to use your dominant hand to write down a sentence as a good parent and then your non dominant hand to answer. as a child. Something like this. Dominant Hand - I hear that you don't want to go to xyz event with xyz. Non Dominant hand writes back from a child's perspective - No, I have other things I want to do, but I am afraid. What if xyz is mad at me? Dominant hand. You will be okay. I'm here for you. I will help you take care of yourself. Non Dominant hand - You will? Thank you. That makes me feel a little bit better.

    You get the idea. This kind of work isn't for everyone, but I used it for myself years ago. Here is a book about this;

    So now, let's look at self-esteem. How do you feel about yourself? Do you know deep down that you are as good as anybody else?

    When I was growing up, I had a very strong sister. And I was very sensitive and I would say weak. So when my sister wanted to do something, I did it, but underneath I resented it. Eventually we had a big blow up (more than one) in our relationship. I began to do what I wanted. She didn't like it. But I also learned that I was part of the problem because I resented her instead of speaking my mind. This meant she could not trust me. We now have a great relationship. But it was a bit of a rocky road getting there. We are now both strong people who speak our minds. I don't feel bullied by her anymore. She feels as if she can trust me now because I am upfront with what I think and what I am feeling and what I will and will not do.

    I hope this helps you begin to look at and change your ability to say no. Remember, as a child (think terrible twos), when we learn to say no, we are defining ourselves as separate beings who do not have to agree with others or do what they want. While being obedient may keep us safe in an unsupportive or unsafe environment, to function fully as an adult, we have to claim our right to do what feels correct for us.

    Don't be afraid of getting some counseling as it can be a great help in sorting through our fears and raising our self esteem.

    Good luck and thanks for your comment!


  • taishanycetaishanyce Member Posts: 135 ✭✭✭

    @Jenlehr thank you!!!

  • sallygirlsallygirl Member Posts: 2

    what are ways to boost self confidence and really feel connected to the relationship yo have with yourself?

  • melanieeeemelanieeee Member Posts: 1

    Sometimes I feel lonely in my friendships and feel like it's hard for me to connect with people. What can I do to stay open?

  • JenlehrLMFTJenlehrLMFT Member, Love Wellness Advisor Posts: 179 ✭✭✭

    @sallygirl Gaining self confidence is not usually a quick fix. It is a process. 1) So first, commit to the idea that this is something that is worth working for. 2) Look at things you wish you could do, or become better at, but you have some fear or discomfort around. Begin to take steps towards trying these things. 3) Make sure you make time for doing things that you enjoy. 4) Look at why you might not feel that self confident. It helps to read books like The Family by Bradshaw. This will help you understand more about how family dynamics contribute to how you feel about yourself. 5) Generally, creative activities will help you feel more connected to yourself because when you are expressing yourself creatively, you are connecting to yourself. Hope this helps!

  • JenlehrLMFTJenlehrLMFT Member, Love Wellness Advisor Posts: 179 ✭✭✭

    @melanieeee So, I'm imagining you are an introvert? Or shy? Regardless, navigating through relationships can be difficult, especially if it is difficult to share yourself and feel as if you will be supported and that people will like all of you. Sometimes we don't share our deeper selves because we don't know if it is safe to do so, or because we have a history of not being able to share our deeper selves. To stay open, you have to tell yourself that who you are is a valuable contribution to any relationship. And you have to pick people you trust to share with. It is okay to take chances. If they turn out to be untrustworthy (which has happened to everyone at some point or another) then move on. You want friends that you know are there for you and with whom you feel safe enough to share and who listen to you. A feeling of safety is really at the root of being able to be open in a relationship.

    I wrote a blog post about people who feel lonely in their marriages, so its not an exact match to what you are exploring, but it may be helpful.

  • PriscillaHutchPriscillaHutch Member Posts: 6

    Hey this is so important. Heal your inner child, most of my husband and I fights are because of not healing our inner child. Sometimes, for me life is a moment and I ask for things even if the other person is completely rude to me.

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