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 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

Three exercises for noticing small emotions

Historically, I wasn’t very good at noticing emotions when they are small. In fact, for the longest time I really only noticed emotions when they became too overwhelming to ignore. This was not an effective strategy. It led to really painful interpersonal conflict and meant I spent a lot of time running away from emotional … Continue reading Three exercises for noticing small emotions

Working with emotional activation

In the last post, I talked about taking your emotional temperature, which is something I try to practice most days because it isn’t something that comes naturally to me. Nevertheless, I find it invaluable in helping me to notice and work with my emotions. As I have practised noticing my levels of emotional activation, I … Continue reading Working with emotional activation

Taking your emotional temperature

So, I’ve been spending more and more time feeling into my emotions, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the way I was taught to understand emotions as a younger person was dangerously wrong. You see, I was taught that emotions could be understood on a scale from sad to happy (and that you should … Continue reading Taking your emotional temperature

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)