Relationship Rut

6 Signs You’re Stuck In A Relationship Rut (And How To Get Past It)

Couple

Couples Therapists Reveal the Ingredients that Make the Biggest Impact on Your Relationship

I contributed to the following to a PsychCentral article about ingredients that make the biggest impact on relationships:

“Danielle Kepler LCPC, who specializes in couples counseling, also said that repairing before, during and after an argument is vital. It helps you have productive conversations and reduces the tendency of being critical or defensive. “When people feel like their partner is attacking them, they physiologically are unable to take in what the other person is saying due to perceiving their partner as a threat.”

Repairing during an argument might be saying, “I’m feeling really defensive right now, can you reword that last part?” Repairing after an argument includes reflecting on your own. You might think about what happened during the argument to trigger you—exploring whether you’ve felt this way before, as a child or in past relationships.

Then you and your partner process the argument together. Both of you talk about the mistakes you made, and genuinely apologize (by fully understanding and acknowledging how each of you hurt the other). Doing so helps “to wipe the slate clean and not hold onto negative feelings towards one another,” Kepler said.”

Read the entire article here.

Couple

Huffington Post Stonewalling

This Marital Behavior Is Not Only Annoying, It’s A Sign You Might Divorce

I contributed the following to a Huffington Post article about stonewalling, one of Joh Gottman’s Four Horsemen:

“2. Be aware of the physical reaction you have before you stonewall.

“If you’re a stonewaller, you usually have an internal physiological reaction (increased heart-rate or rapid breathing, for instance) and an external reaction right before you close up: Maybe you physically turn away from your partner or close your eyes and deeply sigh. These are all signs your partner needs to start paying attention to. Discuss what you do during times of distress so you both can recognize the stonewalling warning signs.” ― Danielle Kepler, a therapist in Chicago, Illinois”

You can read the full article here.

Feeling Lost

When You Feel Lost

I contributed the following to a PsychCentral article about feeling lost and ways out.

“You also might feel like you’ve lost sight of the person you want to be, said Danielle Kepler, LCPC, a clinical therapist based in Chicago, Ill., specializing in adults who are struggling with anxiety, depression, and life transitions, as well as couples with relationship issues.

It also can feel like you’ve always felt this lost, and you always will, Kepler said. “You might struggle to remember a time when you felt like your ‘old self.’” You may “see no way out of it.”

Thankfully, there is a way out. There are many ways. Consider giving these a try.

Reflect on your values. What matters to you? What’s important? Ferreira suggested working through a values worksheet (which you can find online). “Pick one or two values that resonate with you and do something that is in line with that.” She shared this example: One of your values is justice, so you start volunteering at a local non-profit.

Kepler suggests clients think of someone they greatly admire. This might be a mentor, colleague, or friend. She asks them to identify the specific qualities they admire. For instance, maybe you admire your colleague’s friendliness and kindness and ability to assert themselves, she said. “These are often values that the client themselves feel are important; it’s just somewhat easier to identify them in other people than themselves.”

Read the entire article here.

Huffington Post Contribution

6 Signs You’re In A Band-Aid Relationship (And What To Do About It)

I contributed the following to a Huffington Post article about signs you may be in a relationship that you might not really see going anywhere and that you are just staying in it due to comfort.

“Below, experts offer six signs you may be in a Band-Aid relationship and what to do about it.

1. You stop trying to fix the relationship.

You used to try to work on the relationship. These days, though, you’re more inclined to shrug off your problems; your requests have fallen on deaf ears so often, you figure, why bring it up again? That’s a huge red flag, said Danielle Kepler, a therapist in Chicago, Illinois.

“It might seem like you’re just compromising by not bringing it up, but when you don’t express your wants and needs to your partner, you are creating a win-lose situation,” Kepler told us. “It will slowly build up resentment between you two.”

If you’re in a Band-Aid relationship, ask yourself these questions before making any serious decisions.

2. If you were trapped on a deserted island and got to bring someone with you, would your partner be your first choice?

It may sound like a silly hypothetical question, but your answer says a lot about the state of your relationship, Kepler said.

“Who you choose should be someone that you genuinely want to spend time with and care about, someone that you can spend days on end with, comfortably,” she said. “If your ‘desert island person’ isn’t your partner,  you might want to consider how strong your bond is right now.”

Read the entire article here.

Huffington Post Contribution

10 Ways To Ruin Your Marriage Right Before Bed

I contributed to the following article for the Huffington Post about ways couples ruin their marriage right before bed:

Huffington Post Contribution“7. You tell your partner to sleep on the couch.

“Ever get angry at your partner and say to them ‘I don’t want you to sleep in the bed tonight. You have to sleep on the couch’? Regardless of the argument, you want to be able to say to your partner (through words or actions) that you still love them despite your problems. This can be as simple as both going to bed in your shared bed or holding hands as you fall asleep. By taking ownership of the bed and kicking your partner out to the couch, you’re turning away and creating physical and emotional distance between both of you.” ― Danielle Kepler, a therapist in Chicago, Illinois”

Read the entire article here.

Signs Couples Should Go To Therapy

There’s Only One Sign A Couple Should Go To Therapy

I contributed to the following article for the Huffington Post about the signs a couple should consider going to therapy:

Signs Couples Should Go To Therapy

Image by Huffington Post

“It gives you a safe, open space to address complaints you haven’t voiced to your partner.

“Take a behavior that six months ago was slightly annoying to you, such as your partner forgetting to turn off the lights before leaving the house. At some point, you might start to think, ‘I bet other people’s spouses remember to turn off the lights and aren’t so wasteful.’ Seek out couples therapy before you get to the point. You never want to unfavorably judge your partner’s behavior and compare it with real or imagined alternatives.” ― Danielle Kepler, a therapist in Chicago, Illinois”

Read the entire article here.

Huffington Post Contribution

Your Marriage Could Be In Trouble If You Resort To This During Arguments

I contributed to the following article for the Huffington Post about ways to reduce your defensiveness in arguments with your partner:

“3. Instead of planning your next counterargument, actively listen to what your partner is saying.

“When someone is ranting and raving, it’s easy to plan your mental counter attack, but when you do that you are no longer listening to them and the message they’re trying to get across might get lost. Try to postpone your agenda and listen for points that make sense to you. Then let them know what makes sense. “ ― Danielle Kepler, a couples counselor in Chicago, Illinois”

 

Read the entire article here.