Maintaining Relationship Wellness in Your life. Michelle Montero, Psy.D.

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1 Maintaining Relationship Wellness in Your life Michelle Montero, Psy.D.

2 To begin, why relationships? Relationships help us to buffer from stress Relationships offer us a sense of purpose We become more self-aware through relationships with others Positive impact on physical health Promote emotional health Increased self-esteem

3 Relationships + Graduate/Professional School Maintaining a committed relationship in school can be challenging: Relationships can be a huge source of support Relationships can be a source of demanding responsibility The tension of opposites can present threats to the survival of the relationship

4 Establishing + Re-establishing a Healthy Relationship - Be aware of what you both want for self and relationship. - Let one another know what your needs are. - One person will not fulfill all needs. - Negotiate and compromise. - Be flexible - Accept the differences between ideal and reality. - Perspective: two sides to each story.

5 Elements of a Healthy Relationship Honesty Be aware of what you both want for self and relationship. Let one another know what your needs are. Be realistic Realize the other person will not be able to meet all of your needs. Work to accept the differences between ideal (how you would like things to be) and reality (how they really are). Fairness Your wants and needs are just as valid as your partner s. You have to work and compromise together.

6 Elements of a Healthy Relationship Mutual Respect Do not demand that the other person change to meet all your expectations. Find ways to appreciate them for who they are. Good communication Try to see from others point of view. You don t have to agree to respect and understand differences. When differences come up, try to work through them. Don t forget to laugh.

7 Maintenance + Mitigation Self-awareness Communication: Open, Honest, Planned Set Boundaries Assess, Negotiate, Re-Assess, Re-Negotiate Provide attention, affection, and support Share/listen to one another s fears and insecurities Quality time vs Quantity

8 Elements of Communication Verbal Communication The message Influenced by culture and values Non-Verbal Communication Facial Expressions Eye Contact Vocal cues Body Language Physical Space

9 The Key: Communication Communication DO s - Listen to understand, not to form your argument. - Stay on one topic at a time. - Suspend judgments and comments so that you can hear message. - Know that you have a right to your feelings as others do. - Be respectful. - Look for ways to compromise. - Ask questions to clarify.

10 The Key: Communication Communication DON Ts - Don t blame other person for all the problems between you. - Don t bring up past issues. - Don t mind read or jump to conclusions - Don t make generalizations (you always, you never). - Don t name call, interrupt the other person or belittle them in the conversation.

11 Setting Healthy Boundaries - Be aware of your emotions. If you find yourself feeling frustrated, tired, used or angry, you may have allowed a boundary to be violated. Stop and check in with yourself. - When you need to set a boundary, do it clearly, using as few words as possible. - Remember that No is a complete sentence.

12 Setting Healthy Boundaries - Your boundaries will be tested. You may have to repeat No several times before they hear you. - Don t expect others to like the changes in your limits. They may prefer you to keep behaving in the old way. - Avoid feeling guilty for setting the boundary.

13 Common Relationship Problems - Emotional support vs. emotional demands - Time spent together vs. apart - Changing expectations of the relationship - Dealing with other friends and their families - Handling money

14 When to say goodbye? Your physical safety is being threatened. You are afraid. You are being beaten down intellectually or emotionally. Your sense of self has diminished in the relationship. You are ashamed of the way you are being treated. The person you have a relationship with is unable to take responsibility for his or her actions. The person you are in a relationship with has a substance use problem which might prevent them from thinking rationally. You don t want to be in the relationship anymore.

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