De-escalating your distress during a break

We take breaks when we are very upset to down-regulate our emotions. The whole purpose of the break is to reduce the intensity of your emotional activation because that makes it much more likely that you can have a constructive conflict with the other person. Unfortunately, lots of us weren’t taught how to do this … Continue reading De-escalating your distress during a break

Communicating around breaks – Part 2 – Initiating a break in conflict

When you initiate a break in conflict it is usually most effective to focus on the fact that you are initiating it for your own benefit, rather than making observations about someone else's emotions or needs. We are the experts in our own emotional state and our own emotional needs. When we express those it … Continue reading Communicating around breaks – Part 2 – Initiating a break in conflict

Communicating around breaks – Part 1 – making agreements about breaks in conflict

As I said in the first post, breaks are a controversial topic. That means that lots of people have really different views on whether or not breaks in conflict are even an OK thing to do. That means that there are two parts to communicating around breaks – the first is about having conversations that … Continue reading Communicating around breaks – Part 1 – making agreements about breaks in conflict

How do I notice whether I need a break?

I’ve already admitted that this is one of the relationship skills I struggle most with, but on the plus side that means it is one I’ve given a lot of thought to. We all have a default when it comes to breaks in conflict. Some of us default to thinking that breaks are an excellent … Continue reading How do I notice whether I need a break?

Conflict skills: Taking breaks in conflict

There are few subjects more fraught than whether or not it is a good idea to take a break in a conflict. People have very strong opinions on both sides. Some people see taking a break as essential to their mental health, their ability to calm down and hear the other person, or their ability … Continue reading Conflict skills: Taking breaks in conflict

Negotiating sex (and kink): map your erotic values

I love to find different ways of exploring my sexuality because each new approach seems to bring up new desires, new perspectives or new ways of talking about what I want with people I enjoy sex with. I delight in that exploration, especially when it increases my connection with the people I love. This approach … Continue reading Negotiating sex (and kink): map your erotic values

Transition planning

You might have seen several of my past posts about breakup planning, but I've not gone back to talk in more details about transition planning. The reality is that many of our relationships undergo transitions from time to time. These are rarely traumatic when they are moving towards deeper intimacy, in fact, they frequently involve … Continue reading Transition planning

5 reasons comet relationships are awesome for self-consent (Comets Part 2)

The last post gave an overview of comet relationships, so you might want to go back and read that if you haven’t already. Here I am talking about how comet relationships help with self-consent, so I’ll start with a working definition of comet relationships: “A comet is a person that passes through your life repeatedly … Continue reading 5 reasons comet relationships are awesome for self-consent (Comets Part 2)

5 reasons to get a breakup buddy (or two)

Even amicable breakups are difficult for most people. When a relationship ends there is an emotional and practical disentanglement from someone that has been important to you, perhaps even your most important person. Lots of people experience distress, loneliness, relief, longing, sadness, guilt and even shame. There is a person-sized hole in your life. There … Continue reading 5 reasons to get a breakup buddy (or two)

Boundaries: From the broken house to the fortress of solitude

When I was thinking about writing this piece I recalled a session that I went to on Boundaries at South West Love Fest in Tuscon last year. At that session, Diana Ryan talked about boundaries in terms of what a home would look like depending on how your boundaries were maintained. This was such a … Continue reading Boundaries: From the broken house to the fortress of solitude