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Intimacy doesn't happen by magic. You must work to build it up over time.
Some couples find it difficult to achieve intimacy in their relationship. Others can find that, after achieving intimacy, it seems to slip away. There are many reasons for such difficulties, and each couple's story is unique. There are, however, some common themes.
Lack of communication
This is a common problem.... Read more
The birth of a first child and the process of becoming parents is a major turning point for most relationships.
The birth of your first child will cause major changes to you and your partners' lives. You can prepare for this change in several ways, such as:
learning about childbirth and about being the parent of a young baby
making practical arrangements for when your baby comes home... Read more
Developing and maintaining relationships is a life-long commitment. After a time, we too easily assume that we know our partner, their thoughts and their intentions. Our knowledge of our partner is rarely complete. Allow yourself the honesty to accept this incompleteness.
Whatever your age or experience your relationships will present you with new and demanding challenges.
To help you meet... Read more
Why communication is so important in relationships.
Relationships have many different aspects. For example:
companionship - sharing interests and concerns, showing affection, admiration
intimacy - being able to be close to each other, to comfort and be comforted, and to be open and honest with each other
organising a shared home and a shared life and making decisions about issues... Read more
Parenting is a challenging experience that can put a great deal of pressure on relationships
Whilst bringing up children can be a wonderful experience, it can also be very trying at times. Parenting can place enormous pressure on your relationship with your partner. Yet a loving and supportive relationship is exactly what you and your partner need most when you are facing the challenges of... Read more
Sometimes unexpected events have a big impact on a relationship.
Nobody knows what the future holds. Many couples find themselves faced with unexpected changes in their lives that present a challenge or threat to their relationship.
Common examples are migration, an inheritance or business failure that has a big impact on the financial situation or a serious illness or death, perhaps of a... Read more
Open and clear communication can be learned.
Communication can be improved. Start by asking these questions:
What things cause upsets between you and you partner? Are they because you are not listening to each other?
What things cause you disappointment and pain? What things don't you talk about and what stops you talking about them?
How would you like your communication with your... Read more
Learn about how to make changes to improve your relationship.
In long-term relationships, we often assume we know all there is to know about our partners. But people change. It is very easy to lose that connection, and not know where our partner is at now, or who they are now. In order to maintain a connection or to re-establish one, with your partner, you could:
take time to care for... Read more
Some conflict in relationships is inevitable, but there are ways to handle conflict so that it is not destructive to you individually or as a couple.
Marriage and living together involves two people being together in a relationship for up to seven days a week, twenty four hours a day, year in, year out. There is a great deal of physical closeness as they eat, sleep and share the same house... Read more
All relationships have a series of turning points that couples must negotiate.
Whilst couples are working out how to be together and yet still be two individuals, other changes will also be demanding their attention. All relationships have a series of turning points and hurdles they must get over. At each of these turning points practical changes in the couple's lifestyle will need to be made... Read more
Some relationships involve behaviour that is very damaging to the other partner and, in some cases, may be criminal.
Any good relationship should be based on equality and respect between partners.
When one partner uses tactics to control the other partner, it can be very damaging. This control or power imbalance can take many forms, including threats, 'stalking' behaviour, and physical... Read more
The Internet provides us with new ways of connecting and relating to people.
The Internet allows users to make many new and different connections with people, some just down the street and others on the other side of the world. Stories abound with the sophisticated ways that people have met and forged new relationships on the Internet.
The type of example which gives people hope is that of... Read more
Being able to handle conflict and deal with differences is important in maintaining healthy relationships.
Everyone who is in a relationship or cares about their relationships may need assistance at some time to:
help them deal with problems or difficulties in a relationship
learn how to form or improve relationships
cope with a relationship that has broken down
help to change a... Read more
Even healthy relationships need help from time to time.
Has your relationship lost the spark that it had when you first met? Do you daydream about that romantic relationship with the person of your dreams and yet it never seems to come true? Or is your relationship a bit humdrum? There aren't problems. It's just that there is no excitement to make you want to rush out on a Friday evening.... Read more
Relationships at home and in the workplace can impact on each other.
The relationships we have in the workplace are a major part of our work. Not only do we go to work to earn a living and to take care of our homes and families, we also go to work for the social aspects of relating with people.
When our relationships at home and work are going well for us we feel invigorated and alive: we... Read more
Moving to a new country is a big change, and has an impact on our old relationships, as well as the new ones we form.
Australia's history is steeped in the migrants who have sought a new life in the "lucky country". Many have come, bringing their own distinct customs, values and ways of living. Australia's culture has been enriched by this diverse and colourful contribution.
New migrants... Read more
Relationships in rural and remote areas have a unique set of pressures and challenges.
Australia is a very large country. The majority of the population lives along our coastline, in large cities or towns. The rest of the population is spread across the country in many rural cities, towns, and remote communities.
Men, women, children and young people living in rural and regional communities... Read more
It's important to make time to talk to your partner about how your relationship is going.
Ask yourselves these questions then check your answers with your partner:
How well do you think your partner understands you - how you think, how you feel, what's important to you? Do you tell him or her?
How well can the two of you discuss a difficult issue?
How often do you argue? If you have... Read more
All relationships change over time, but some life events can have a major impact on a couple's relationship.
The Phases of Relationships
All people change over time. We are familiar with the way children change through their physical growth and the development of their personality. We are, however, less aware of the ways adults change. These changes are less visible and less obvious.
If... Read more
Successful relationships need a balance between the conflicting needs of independence and togetherness.
People generally seem to have two conflicting needs in relationships. We want a sense of space and autonomy, of being allowed to do our own thing. Our independence is important to us.
We also want to be close to someone else, to know that we are loved and accepted for who we are, despite... Read more
Any form of violence and abuse in a relationship is a serious statement that things are not all right.
Do you ever have trouble keeping your cool?
Do you ever lash out verbally or physically?
Do you ever use violence or abuse towards people you love?
Are you a victim of violence or abuse?
Can you recognise and admit there is a problem?
Do you want to change?
Do you want to have... Read more
Defining what makes a fulfilling, intimate relationship.
A 'good adult relationship' means different things to different people. And there are many different kinds of relationships. The couple relationship may be the most important one in our society. It is often the main relationship in people's lives; it is the basis of a family (and this is the place where most of us learn about adult love... Read more
An example of a couple who find it hard to communicate.
Some people are better communicators than others. This does not mean that people who find communication difficult can manage without it. John and Louise were typical of a couple who found communication difficult.
John was a quiet man, who found it difficult to let anyone know what he was thinking or feeling. Louise was more open and... Read more