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Relationship Problems

Yes, You Can Solve The Problems In Your Relationship - And You Can Find The Love You Want!

out, or go to bed early rather than risk talking at all: you can't trust yourself to speak in case you go over the top. Perhaps you are hiding an important issue from your partner and so find it difficult to talk about other matters. Whatever the case, you hope that the feelings will go away or that your partner will guess what is the matter and do something about it. The feelings might go away temporarily but if they are important they will return more strongly. Your partner might guess what the problem is, or likely, might not.

Nagging. Nagging, going on and on about something that you want changed is a common habit of both men and women. When you are doing this, it is possible to convince yourself that you are being positive, saying what you think when you think it. But nagging is always telling someone else what you think should be done: “You never. . .”; “You always…”; “I hate it when you…” and so on. Saying how something makes you feel and why is an important part of communication. Telling someone how to behave is not. Repetition won't get you where you want to be; in fact it will have the opposite effect of making the other “go deaf”. A counsellor can teach you different ways of handling this situation.

Holding forth. This is when you get into the habit of talking about everything that is on your mind without noticing what effect this has on your partner. Talking is a two-way process, and part of it is being aware of the interest and participation of the other.

Changing the subject. This can be a trick that you use whenever the topic of conversation gets too difficult or when you are just not interested in what the other has to say. This can be very frustrating to the person who is raising an

Welcome to this relationship help page. My name is David Lloyd-Hoare and I have been acclaimed as one of the South West's leading relationship counsellors. I provide help for anyone living or working in the South West. You are welcome to come alone or with your partner. Whatever your sexual orientation or your marital status I am here to help.

If just one of these is you, Relationship Counselling can help. You will learn inspiring communication tools and techniques which will enable you to work through conflict effectively.

I will also work with you to restore connection and harmony in your relationship.

I am a just telephone call away. Call me today and you'll immediately feel you've done something positive to begin that change in your life!

Unfortunately all of this is modelled by their children who grow up to repeat similar ineptitude's and patterns. Worse than that, the poor relationship skills of the majority of couples not only leads to their own relationships breaking down, but they are not capable of creating a close enough relationship with their children which in turn leads to unstable families. Family breakdown is a private tragedy but on a wider scale is also a matter for public concern. The breakdown of families contributes to a wide variety of social problems causing distress for individuals, families and communities.

The most influential relationships in families are those between the adults, whether they are together or separated; these affect all family members. I believe that society can gain enormously if support and education is made available for all people in relationships of all kinds.

The fact is, Betty and Bill have been so busy with the responsibilities of their careers and child-rearing that their relationship has not received the attention it deserves.

Research shows that couples who know how to talk out their concerns are less likely to have a breakdown in their relationship.

For instance, a couple may be able to communicate about their day-to-day concerns such as paying the bills and looking after the children. But they are more likely to have a successful relationship if they can also communicate on a deeper level. This means letting each other know they are appreciated, loved, and valued.

Barriers to communication

It often becomes clear to counsellors in the first session with a couple that much of their life together (and their problem) is built on misunderstanding. This can take three main forms: they are not expressing themselves effectively, they are not listening closely to what each other says, or they are not talking much but are making assumptions about what each other thinks or feels.


For many people, communication, or getting your point across, means saying the same things louder and more often. It is the approach some people use with foreigners: shouting words that the foreigner doesn't understand instead of choosing different, simpler, words. Finding ways to make your partner want to listen also means ditching an unhelpful manner of talking such as blaming.

Common habits that get in the way of helpful communication

See if you recognise any of these:

Not saying what you really mean. The most usual example of this is not admitting that something  is bothering you when it is: telling your partner that you don't mind about something when you do, or that you are quite happy when you are not. The trouble with this is that the issue goes on bothering you, but your partner can do nothing about it. She or he either believes you that nothing is the matter or, although sensing that something is wrong, has no idea why or how it can be put right. One likely outcome of not saying what you need to is that feelings build up over months or even years until finally you explode. Having the courage to say what you feel at the time prevents a much larger, more difficult to solve problem later.

Making something else the issue. This is related to the above habit in that you are not talking about whatever it is that’s bothering you. The difference is that to relieve your feelings you start complaining about something else. For instance, one woman focused on her r husband's irritating habit of leaving wet towels on the bathroom floor, when the real issue was that she resented always being the one to clean the house when they were both out at work all day. The trouble with this is that the main problem remains untouched. The longer it does, so the more emotional you will become.


Not talking. This is another way of avoiding an issue that’s upsetting you. Sometimes you retreat into silence, or go

The counselling service I offer for singles will help you transform your perception of love and relationships and enter a relationship with your eyes wide open, develop more clarity about what you want and need.

A Vision for the Future of Relationships

My vision for the future is to contribute to the building of a culture where individuals are self aware enough to relate to one another with love and understanding, and are therefore able to create families that nourish, foster and enable every member to realise their greatest potential. I believe that secure and emotionally literate families are the building blocks of cohesive communities and a fulfilling safe society.

Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of families consist of couples who are unable to communicate effectively, negotiate well or manage conflict successfully either between themselves or with their children. They are also largely unaware of the dynamics being played out in their relationships, they experience thought distortions and use coping mechanisms that they have been using since they were children.

If you have chosen to end the relationship, I will support you in dealing with the implications and complications that will likely emerge from that decision.

 It’s a powerful way of working with, and resolving relationship problems. I can work with you one-to-one in your own personal sessions, in session where you participate as a couple or you can download and work through my book

“Great Relationships and Brilliant Communication”
(See Below)

What is Relationship Counselling?

Being in an intimate relationship can be one of the keenest human joys and one of the greatest sources of pain. Love begins with so much hope: the dream of one day feeling known, accepted to the core; the dream of belonging, of protecting and being safe; the dream of deep passion; the dream of a lasting bond. Sadly however, the reality often brings conflict, anger, resentment and disappointment, and the dream of the perfect relationship is replaced by loneliness and pain.

What makes relationships work? Some say it is the strength of your dream, the strength of your commitment to love itself. Others say it's a matter of luck, the good fortune of finding that most excellent fit. Others say you must have passion, or sharing, or mutual interests or common values.

After exploring hundreds of relationships, I've concluded that the people who make relationships work have certain skills and an understanding of what the nature of a relationship really is. In case after case, relationships that endure and deepen are formed by couples who know what's really going on in their relationship, who are aware that the modern relationship is an evolutionary gift with unique potential for healing our childhood wounds and facilitating our personal growth. These successful couples also practice basic interpersonal skills: listening, clear communication, negotiation, handling anger appropriately, and so on.

That's good news, because you can start to really understand relationships in a way that you never have before, you can also learn new skills.

What do you Provide?

Counselling for people with relationship difficulties - Relationship counselling will help you develop the understanding and polish the skills you need to keep love alive. Sustaining a fulfilling and stable relationship has never been easy. That's why every year thousands of people, irrespective of their marital status, age, ethnicity or sexual orientation come to relationship counselling where there is a safe and confidential place to talk about their relationship.

Counselling for people considering separation or divorce - The ending of a marriage or a long relationship is generally a slow and painful process. Counselling can help people going through this to overcome emotional difficulties and develop the confidence to rebuild their lives.

Counselling for people with sexual problems - Sexual problems can affect many couples and individuals. Sometimes the problem is long standing whilst at other times it is linked to recent events causing stress and unhappiness. I am specifically trained to work with sexual problems in the context of a couple's relationship.

Counselling for Singles - Singles who seek relationship counselling are typically: in-between relationships, single through separation, divorce or spousal  loss, or seeking a first-time relationship built on honesty and trust.

Relationships Revealed

Would you believe that there is a secret to successful relationships that most people don't know?

Would you believe that the majority of couples have no real idea about how their relationships really work?

Well it's true, and I'll reveal the secrets! Click Here

Everyone who falls in love hopes that it will be forever. The truth is that relationships inevitably change, and few things in life cause more distress than when problems develop and communication between partners breaks down.


If immediately addressed, counselling can help to resolve resentments and misunderstandings often before situations get out of hand.

emotional subject, and demoralising if it is clearly a sign that you are bored. Closing the subject is a much more honest and positive way of doing this. Saying, “I find that hard to talk about now”, or “I can't really put my mind to that at the moment”, or even “I can't get very interested in that'” is less offensive than cutting in with another subject without warning.

Being a know-all. Communication becomes a one-way process if one of you takes the attitude that you always know best and are always right. The most delicate area for you to consider yourself an expert, is your partner's thoughts and feelings. While you might have ideas about your partner's motives or deepest feelings, you can’t know for sure. Neither is it up to you to explain what they are.

Disguised criticism. There are ways and ways of saying how you feel. Doing so in a blaming fashion is really criticism. “You make me so sad/angry/depressed!” is making the other person responsible for how you feel. Criticism is never the best way to get the result you want; it puts the other on the defensive and creates extra problems rather than the solutions you hope for.

The way you say it. Manner and tone of voice are very important Sometimes what you say is not the issue, but the way you say it puts your partner's back up. Talking in a lecturing or patronising way can make your partner not want to hear the message. Other tones that make people switch off are anger, coldness, irony and so on.

Listening and hearing

While some people are aware that they have problems with expressing what they want to say, most people give little thought to how effectively they listen. A ' good listener' is someone who lets another person talk, and doesn't interrupt with opinions and criticism. A good listener occasionally gives advice and very rarely does so unasked. These people are easy to talk to because you don't feel as if you are being laughed at, despised or disliked. A good listener makes you feel what you have to say is worth listening to, that you are respected, accepted and interesting. These are some common ways in which people fail to listen properly:

Switching off. This is the tactic often used by people that complain that their partners nag. While the other person is putting a lot of energy and passion into talking they let their minds wander elsewhere. Other people do this when their partners become very emotional. Sometimes they are not even conscious they have switched off. For instance, a man whose mother used to weep a lot when he was a child might therefore find displays of unhappy emotion distressing and switch off in panic when his wife becomes upset.

Half-listening. This is even more common: listening with half your attention. Your minds is on the television or the newspaper, or occupied with private thoughts of your own, but you keep just enough of it open to what is being said so that you can make the occasional comment. Your partner feels discounted when this happens.

Interrupting. Not allowing someone to finish what they are saying is the opposite of good listening. It is always a sign of wanting your own point of view to prevail and not being prepared to give consideration to the other person's opinion. Important issues and bad feelings can't be resolved until the pattern is broken.

Mind reading. Mind reading is built on assumptions. Your partner is the person you believe you know best in the world, and that often includes believing you know what he or she thinks and feels. Mind reading makes it difficult to listen: because you think you know what your partner means, and you don't make a real effort to hear what is being said. This becomes even more pronounced when your relationship is in trouble. When you are at each other's throats you need to believe that you are right and your partner is wrong. Quite often you don’t want to hear what the other says, unless it is what you are expecting that means you only listen to what is said when it proves your own theory.

Proving your point. This is similar to mind reading. It involves selective listening, waiting only for the words and phrases that prove your point, ignoring anything else your partner says that does not fit. This means that you can quite literally listen without hearing. Some people also listen selectively when they cannot bear their partners to have certain feelings or ideas. A woman who needs her husband to be strong and protective will not listen properly at the moments when he is talking about weakness or fear. Instead she is listening out for the moment when his tone changes and he sounds confident again, allowing her to forget the other conversation.

Blocking. Blocking what your partner says is an effective technique for avoiding listening. The harder a subject is for your partner to talk about, the easier it is to shut him or her up by criticising, sounding shocked, correcting, laughing, changing the subject, arguing, weeping, shouting, and any other ploy you can think of rather than listening. Talking about difficult and emotional matters takes courage and needs a sympathetic listener. Without this it seems safer to give up trying.

Ways to Improve Communication

What can couples do to improve communication with each other?

Learn to accept your differences. This involves the realisation that often what is gained from talking it out is an understanding of your partner, instead of agreement on an issue. If a person feels threatened by differences of opinion, he or she will usually close the book on a subject and not discuss it. When this happens, part of a person is not accessible, and alienation results. Then, the couple feels that they do not know each other and perhaps not understand.

Talk it out from a position of equality. This simply means that one of the partners should not be in command and assume the attitude, I know what is best, you do what I say. Wait to give an opinion.

Don't start blaming. Blaming is an aggressive style of communication and will close the avenues of communication, instead of opening them. Use self-responsible statements. (e.g. “I feel that ...” rather than “You made me feel”.)

Respect your partner's need for privacy. Sometimes people hold back a little in their communications. In other words, they are not as sharing as their partners. It is important to realize that what is at issue here is not honesty. Usually, it is simply a need for privacy. People have different comfort levels for intimacy, and that is normal. For example, it is important for people to understand that it is normal to have different levels of comfort with intimacy.

Be an attentive listener. Many of us do not listen to our partners' problems because we feel we have to accept the burden of solving them. We must realise that what most people want is to be heard and understood, so that their pain and hurt can be acknowledged. Check that you are understanding, ask for clarification. Counsellors will teach you techniques to do this.

Recognise the fact that you cannot be all things to all people. In other words, there may be times when you or your partner may have to turn to friends for the support you need. For instance, a woman who is grieving over her mother's death may find that her husband does not want to talk about her loss, because it brings back painful memories of his mother's death.

Give positive verbal strokes to each other. Instead of pointing out your spouse's faults, try complimenting him or her. Everyone has strengths and everyone likes to be validated.

Watch your nonverbal communication. For example, a person who reads the newspaper or watches TV while his or her partner is trying to talk is conveying the message, "I'm not interested in what you are saying at this moment. My needs are different at this time."

When it is a question of how to achieve a more harmonious relationship, the answers start with better communication There are many more facets of relationship, and many more techniques  a counsellor will teach you, to improve your relationship.

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What happens in Couple Counselling

Sometimes it is best for a couple to come together, rather than separately, for counselling or therapy. This will particularly be the case where one partner blames the other for his or her problems. The couple may be married or unmarried, homosexual or heterosexual, and may have been together for a few months or many years.

Couple counselling tends to focus on the area of communication; what do the partners communicate, and how do they communicate it? Often the problem is simply lack of communication (see above), the partners don't know how to listen to each other, and sometimes don't even know how to talk to each other. So quite often it is a matter of teaching the skills of communication.

Between men and women, there are often quite specific mistakes which each gender makes about the other, and these have been much studied in recent years. Men, for example, often want to solve problems as quickly as possible, while women want to explore them from all angles. Both of these approaches, of course, are appropriate at different times, and it is a pity to get locked in to just one type of response.

Relationships Revealed

Would you believe that there is a secret to successful relationships that most people don't know?

Would you believe that the majority of couples have no real idea about how their relationships really work?

Well it's true, and I'll reveal the secrets! Click Here

But when couples do communicate, it is often in ways which produce the opposite effect from that intended. He tells her how to be a better person; she hears it as a put-down. She tells him how to improve; he hears it as an attack. Once a fight starts, it is often the case that the parties don't fight fair, and they can be taught the skills of fair fighting. So this is one level, and surprisingly much can be achieved simply by dealing with these superficial matters.

The imagination is very powerful, and it is always worth looking at the question of what each partner imagines about the other. What is the visual or other image which comes to mind as they look at the partner? It is often the case that the person is relating to this image, and not to the real partner at all.

Emotional issues are also very important, and may come out through a more childish part of each person. If each person has an inner child who needs to be looked after from time to time, that works fine if partners take it in turns. The trouble comes when both inner children need looking after at the same time: neither of them can get what they need from the other. Once this is understood, however, something can be done about this situation.

At a deeper level, we may start looking for the more hidden questions. It may turn out that the partner has all the necessary skills to communicate well, but still doesn't do it. They may have quite positive and appropriate images of the partner. But it is as if there were a compulsion to get it wrong. This very often has to do with the question of control. Here it may be best to move to some individual sessions with the individual concerned, to find out where this compulsion comes from. Now that it has come out so clearly as a problem, the person may be willing to work on it. This can be a political question as well as an individual one, and some political awareness is important here for the therapist. It is important not to reinforce stereotypes in an unaware fashion.

Sexual issues may of course be important, though it is often the case that these are a symptom rather than a cause of the couple's problems. Once there is clear communication between the partners, the sexual problems may be quite easy to solve. It is possible, in cases where difficulties still remain, to give exercises and homework which can deal with them quite quickly.

It is not the function of the couple counsellor to keep the couple together at all costs. A good ending to the relationship may be just as valuable as a good continuation of it. Either is better than a bad continuation. Of course, in some cases there will be children to complicate the issue of separation. In such cases my approach is often to involve the children if at all possible, so that they can express their own point of view and be heard.

I imagine that you would not be looking at my website right now unless you had some thought or idea that you would like to have some changes in your relationship:

Now's the time to do something about it before it’s too late.

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Helping You To Help Yourself

Talking it through

Jenny and David have been married six months. Jenny is still caught up in the euphoria of romantic love. In fact, she tends to have unreal expectations of marriage. Because they have such a close relationship, Jenny thinks David should know all the little things that are important to her, such as her favourite songs and chocolates on Valentine's Day. Jenny fails to realise that David is not a mind reader.

Betty and Bill have been together twenty years. Betty often says to her closest friend, "Bill and I don't seem to be on the same wavelength any more." And if you were to ask Bill about their relationship, he'd probably admit, "We just can't communicate." Their breakdown in communication has not occurred overnight; it has been a subtle drifting apart over the years.

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