How to Put a Little Romance Back Into Your Life


No matter who you are or how long you’ve been with your partner, it’s always a good idea to make a keeping the excitement alive in your relationship. Of course, the longer you’ve been with your partner, the harder it can be to come up with new, original ideas for exciting date nights and romantic ideas. The best way to surprise your partner with something romantic and special is to think about what makes your partner unique. When you think of things your partner loves, how are those things just so him/her? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
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Go Old School

Is your partner a total romantic? The type who loves old romance movies and wanted a big, glamorous wedding? For the romantic partner, make little statements of love and romance a regular part of your routine. Bring home rose bouquets on Tuesday nights. Surprise her with a new piece of jewelry on your next date. Send candy or flowers to her work for no reason. Even if your partner isn’t the traditional romantic type, he or she is bound to love these kinds of romantic gestures.

Recreate Your Wedding or First Date

This would be a great thing to do for a wedding anniversary, the anniversary of your engagement, or the anniversary of your first date.  You could even combine all three if you were really feeling ambitious! Take your partner on a trip to visit all of the locations that have been significant for your relationship: the bridge where you had your first kiss, the restaurant where you proposed, etc. If you had a destination wedding and can’t easily revisit, recreate the look and feel of the wedding in your own home. Try and reimagine the decorations on a smaller scale and cook a meal that is similar to your wedding dinner. Get out your wedding vows and read them to each other or watch your old wedding videos. You should also make general date nights a mandatory and weekly event for your marriage when possible!

Take Some “Us” Time

One of the worst things you can do in a relationship is to forget to give yourselves time for just the two of you. If you find that you’re both too exhausted at the end of the work day to do couple-y things, it may help you to actually schedule in time where you will do things one on one. This may take some getting used to, but you will be glad you took the time and effort to spend time together once you realize the positive effects on your relationship.

It can be difficult to keep the sparks flying when you have kids, so scheduling mandatory date nights is especially important. Hire a sitter and try out a new restaurant, go to a concert, or go wine tasting. A little time away from the kids will help you rekindle the flame and remember why you are together in the first place!

It may be helpful for you to plan to do specific things together. For example, plan to go to a specific restaurant on Friday night. Plan to go for a picnic on Saturday and actually buy the ingredients for your picnic lunch in advance so you will be sure to actually do it. This may not be the kind of spontaneity that you would hope for in a relationship, but it’s a much better option than failing to do stuff together because you’re both too tired all the time!

If spontaneity is what you really want but it’s just not going to work with your partner, try to find a way to compromise. If you’d love to be able to just swing by in the middle of the day and take your partner out to lunch just for fun, instead try letting your partner know in advance that you would like to take him or her out to lunch on a specific day. This way, you will get to have a nice lunch together as a break from routine, but you won’t be disappointed when your partner is unable to get away in the middle of the work day without advanced notice.

Do New Things

Psychologists suggest that couples who try new things together are better able to recreate the brain chemistry of the early days of their romance. All the fun and excitement of breaking routine, trying something new, and maybe even trying something a bit scary will make you feel closer. So if you’ve had something you’ve been wanting to try like painting or rock climbing, tell your partner you’d like to take him or her on a date to try something new. Before you try the new activity, surprise them with their very own paintbrushes or rock climbing shoes to get them even more excited. It’s up to you if you think it’s better to keep the activity a surprise or give them some advanced warning, though most people probably wouldn’t be too thrilled about being pressured into something too scary!

If you can’t think of anything you’ve been wanting to try, pick something you’d never think you would enjoy and just give it a shot! If you’re doing it together, it’s bound to be fun.

Make Romance a Habit

The best long-term strategy for keeping your relationship interesting is to make romance into a long-term habit. So instead of trying something once and then dropping it, make sure you do something special for your partner every week, even if it’s something as small as doing a chore for them before they ask you to do it or picking up that new paperback they’ve been wanting to read. Just taking a little time and giving a little thought will work wonders for your relationship.

20 Creative Ways to Create Fun With your Partner


Fun?  Now you’re probably thinking, who has time for that?  However, playing and having fun with your partner not only strengthens your bond, it also increases your level of satisfaction with the relationship.  While it’s normal for you to get comfortable as the relationship carries on and fall into a mundane daily routine, you want to continue adding spice to your relationship in order to keep things fresh and – well – fun!  Think about it, when was the last time you took time to enjoy one another’s company?  If you and your partner are feeling more like roommates than lovers, it might just be time to reintroduce a little play back into the relationship.

Check out the list below for ideas on how to add a little playfulness to your partnership.  Can’t find a babysitter for the night?  No problem.  Some of these ideas are great for the whole family.

20 Ways to Create Fun With Your Partner and Family

Join a league
Whether it’s soccer, bowling, or volleyball, joining a league gives you and your partner a weekly activity to engage in together.  Bonus: you can meet new people.

Go for a drive
Drive to a new town or no place in particular.  Going for a drive gives you uninterrupted time together.  Take along a list of questions or car games to engage one another.

Take a class
Maybe you’ve always wanted to moonlight as a chef or bartender.  If you and your partner have a weekend free, you could take a cooking class, learn to make cheese, discover the process of home brewing, or attend a do-it-yourself workshop at Home Depot.

Do something spontaneous
Try skydiving, going for a hot air balloon ride, or braving the zip line.  When you wake up in the morning, decide on an activity and go!

Try something new
Maybe it’s a new food, a new style of music, or activity.  When you and your partner try something new together, it can become a fun onetime thing or your new thing!

Read a book
Pick out a book and take turns reading to one another and discussing the plot.

Have a pillow fight
As you’re taking all the pillows off to turn down the bed, toss one playfully at your partner.  Your silly pillow fight might just end in some kissing and canoodling.

Move the couch and dance
Have a dance off in your living room.  You can really get crazy because no one is watching.  Try channeling your inner Baby and Johnny and recreate a scene from Dirty Dancing.

Binge watch your favorite show
Take a few hours or the weekend – no judgments – to catch up on your favorite show together or introduce your partner to a new show you discovered.  Just remember to binge responsibly.

Introduce a little healthy competition
Challenge each other!  See who can fold the laundry or win the race around the park.  Adding a little competition to anything you do will make it that much more fun.  Have prizes for a bonus.

Play strip poker
If cards aren’t your thing, any game will work.  Just mix up the rules and you and your partner are off to an intimate evening together.

Create a fort and camp in the living room
Forts aren’t just for kids.  Pull out all the blankets and pillows and create a cozy place to snuggle up for the night.

Buy a Groupon and give it a try
For those on a budget, Groupons are such a great way to get out of the house.  You can try a restaurant or activity for about half the original cost!

Try a new restaurant
Always wanted to try Ethiopian food but never gave it a go?  You and your partner can try a new food or restaurant to expand your palates.

Play a prank on one another
As long at it’s not over the top, pranks can add a little fun to the day.  Change the language setting on his cell phone or leave her a ransom note for her running shoes.

Picnic in the park
Spread out a blanket and some tapas.  Voila!

Go to a game
Cheap seats, sun, and your partner; does it get any better?  Checking out a baseball game this summer will give you the chance to get your tan on and catch up with your partner.

A canvas, a wall, or one another; painting allows you to unleash your creative side and your inner child for a little fun.  Hang your art in the bedroom for a reminder.

Give each other a massage
Light candles and pick up some body oil.  Take turns giving each other back or head massages to help release some of the tension from the day.

Plan your dream vacation
Whether or not you can afford to take a vacation right now, planning a dream vacation with your partner can be fun and give you a common goal to work toward together.

With summer already here, these 20 things will give you plenty of things to do during your downtime to make your summer more fun and more creative than ever!

Lori Dougherty is a Marriage and Family Counselor at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. As a marriage and family counselor, she helps couples navigate the many difficulties that arise in their relationship. She also helps couples rebuild happiness together so they can have the fulfilling relationship with their partner they've always wanted.

Do You Really Want to Divorce?


Are you really ready to file for divorce? If you’re like many folks, you want out NOW! You may have tried everything to make your marriage work. You pleaded with your spouse to go to therapy, maybe you even went for a while but it just didn’t work. You’ve read books and surfed the internet for ways to bring back the romance; you even tried NOT pleading, but now it’s OVER! Really!

Of course your friends and family may be tired of hearing that because every time you’ve told them the latest chapter in the saga of “My Dreadful Marriage” you’ve gone back to your spouse and probably for good reason: you’re just not ready to leave! How will you survive financially? How will the kids handle living in two places? Who gets the dog? There is a lot to figure out! Before ever filing for divorce there are somethings you need to know and do first.

Ready for Divorce? Put First Things First

First things first, you’ve got to work on yourself. What many find when getting into a new relationship is that all the things that were wrong in the marriage are also present in the new relationship! Oh, for a while it is wonderful and you feel like a totally new person but then those
If your knee jerk reaction is to scream, leave, or binge watch Netflix while eating mint chocolate chip ice cream, YOU'VE got a problem!
same issues come glaring to the forefront. Jealousy, anger, arguments over money or kids begin and you find yourself right where you left off in the last relationship. Because of this, It is imperative that you resolve your own issues before even thinking of leaving. If your knee jerk reaction is to scream or leave or hunker down and binge watch Netflix while eating mint chocolate chip ice cream, YOU’VE got a problem. By seriously looking at what you did in your marriage that was hurtful is a must. Know your own issues and resolve them. It is easy to blame your spouse's spending or drinking but you have a part too. You are no longer invested in getting your spouse to change; what you need to do now is change yourself. You need to do everything you can do to be the person you want to be.

Before you leave, get your financial ducks in a row! Many couples can barely make their bills supporting one household, much less two! Take an honest look at how you will support yourself and your children (and possibly your ex-spouse for a while!). If you need to gain more education or work experience to get a higher paying job then do it NOW! Don’t wait until you’re out on your own, it might be too late. Consider the financial hit you will take by leaving. Most folks find that their credit nosedives and their assets are split in half. By getting your finances in order now you will be one step closer to freedom.

Ready for Divorce? Start Grieving

Even if you are sure it is OVER, there is a lot of grieving that will need to take place! Begin the grieving process now. You had dreams with this person that are no longer a reality. Even if you are the one leaving there will be many things that you will miss. It could be as simple as the way you shop for a Christmas tree together or how you both play monkey-in-the-middle with the dog! You have created many good memories too. Go through the love notes, re-read your vows, look at your wedding photos, and remember the good times! You did have dreams and hope for a future together. Spend time and attention recognizing what you WILL miss when your marriage is over.

Ready for Divorce? Live Like You're Single

Live like you’re already single! That does NOT mean starting a new relationship or partying until the wee hours of the morning, it means figuring out what would give your life meaning as a single person. You may have been trying for a long time to get your partner to give you what you needed to be happy. Now is the time, inside the marriage, to find out how to create the life you want. You may have declined invitations to book clubs or bowling leagues because your spouse just wasn’t into that kind of thing. Now is the time to figure out what YOUR thing is. Do some soul searching and find out what your gifts are and how you can begin to be responsible for your own happiness. From now on you need not look toward your spouse to meet your needs, you’ve got it from here!

After you have gotten to the place of emotional, economic and physical health decide if leaving is worth it! Many people have a romantic notion of what being single will be like, and when they are finally there it is not all it’s cracked up to be. You may have been blaming your spouse for your own unhappiness. Once you are happy, inside the marriage, you have a much better vantage point to decide if leaving will be a good option for you (and your children if you have them). When you no longer NEED your spouse financially or emotionally anymore, you may find that leaving may not actually be the best option. The good thing is that finally you can make a decision based on strength rather than on reactivity!

Roxanne Bamond, Ph.D., is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. She specializes in helping individuals and couples to create healthy relationships. She also assists and helps individuals through transitional difficulties such as a divorce, separation, or life crisis.

The Critical Danger of Criticism in Marriage


Always and Never are two of the main words I see in practice. To be perfectly honest, I personally get pissed off if someone looks at me and says “you always….!” Really…I always do that?!?! When I’m told something I never or always do I begin to believe there is something wrong with me, it’s all my fault, or I’m defective. And I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Criticism Can be Harmful

Criticism can be incredibly toxic and painful in a relationship. In fact, Drs John and Julie Gottman found that it’s one of the top four predictors of divorce. There is nothing more harmful than your partner exaggerating and berating you with critical comments. As I mentioned, they lead to feelings of disapproval, mistake, blame, and defectiveness. These leave long term and painful wounds in your relationship. They bring about a sense of distrust towards yourself and your partner

Talking to your partner is and can be tough, especially if you’re going to critique them. It always runs the risk of them taking it the wrong way and getting upset. As a counselor, I personally believe it is perfectly fine to talk about the toughest of tough subjects with your partner. I’m fully aware that not all therapists believe divulging critical or negative information between a couple is necessary. However, I believe once safety and understanding are established, couples should have the strength and ability to talk about even the toughest and most critical topics. But how you talk about these topics is what makes the difference.

How You Bring Up Criticisms Makes All the Difference

Criticism is not always a bad thing, and can be a tool to inspire acknowledgement, growth, responsibility and appreciation. If you take the word criticism and switch it with critique, evaluation, or comment the word loses some of its power. Now when you use an “I statement” – I feel, I believe, I need, etc…the criticism loses all power – and it loses a lot of possibility to hurt.

Taking a relatively harsh form of communication and finding growth, connection and understanding takes change and commitment. You can start simply by changing ‘you never’ or ‘you always’ statements. Partners should want to make this change; each of you should want the most optimal forms of communication and connecting.

Gentle Startup Fixes Criticisms

The Gottman’s state, if you use a ‘gentle startup’ towards your partner you can work through the critical conflict. This is simply begins with using an I statement (I feel left out when you hang out with your friends on the weekend) and putting your need (I would appreciate it if we could spend some time together this weekend before or after you see your friends) out there to your partner. The partner’s responsibility is to hear the statement, acknowledge what their partner is feeling and then assess the need and compromise how the need can be met.

This is simple people! Give it a try. You won’t believe how easy it is to talk about differences or issues without criticism. You can talk to each other without hurting or damaging your partner or relationship.

Tristan Beymer is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and marriage and family counselor at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. She specializes in helping couples rebuild their relationship to be strong, healthy and passionate. She also works with individuals to overcome difficulties related to trauma and addictions.

5 Reasons You're Still Single


I recently had a conversation with three amazing woman – the epitome of Destiny’s Child’s
Independent Women – however, they all had the same question: Why am I still single?  Now it doesn’t take a math genius, or a counselor, to point out the common denominator.  However, it goes so much deeper than just choosing the wrong partner and recognizing the pattern among those partners.  If any of the following resonate with you, you just might not be ready for partnership you are actually seeking.  

You’re Closed Off

If you’ve put up walls, more than likely you are subconsciously going to continue choosing an ill-fitting partner or completely avoid meeting new people.  This rigid boundary has been put in place for one reason; to protect you.  When your heart is on guard, you are not open to being vulnerable with another person and will continue to choose someone who won’t ask that of you.  Consider this, if you want to be in a lasting, loving relationship, why do you continue to choose someone you do not see a future with or someone who is emotionally unavailable?

You’re Emotionally Unavailable 

Although you would like to think you are, for lack of a better term, emotionally available, you might want to start getting really honest with yourself.  If you are consistently choosing emotionally unavailable partners – those who place other priorities above the relationship, addicts, or those lacking emotional intelligence – chances are you are also emotionally unavailable and, for one or more reasons, not ready for a committed, loving relationship.  So, if you see a pattern of choosing partners who aren’t able to connect and commit, it’s time to take a closer look in the mirror and decide if you are even ready for that level of intimacy.

You’re Convinced You’re Not Good Enough 

If you’ve convinced yourself that you’re not good enough for a relationship, you will carry yourself differently.  Following a break up, I often hear people question, “What’s wrong with me?”  While there isn’t anything wrong with you, you still hold tightly to this belief and it rears its ugly head in everything you do, especially in intimate relationships.  If you don’t think you’re good enough, you will non-verbally communicate that message to a potential partner.  Yes, we’ve all been burned in the past, but if you fear relationships because you don’t feel worthy of one, it’s time to question why you don’t think you’re good enough.

You’re Too Picky

Call it what you will, picky or knowing what you want.  Either way, if you have a laundry list of qualities your partner must have, consider the root of your unrealistic expectations.  Chances are you are never going to find a partner who meets all your criteria, but if you’re holding out for that person, you’re actually holding yourself back from finding a partner.  If you’ve become too picky, more than likely you’re actually trying to protect yourself because it’s easier to say you’re waiting for the right person instead of allowing yourself to be vulnerable with someone.

You’re Comfortable

Believe it or not, there is a sense of comfort in the freedom that comes with being single.  You don’t answer to anyone, you get to choose how to spend your time, there aren’t arguments about how the towels should be folded, and you have personal space.  Being single affords you the independence to do as you please.  So, if the thought of having to share some of your time makes your cringe, you probably aren’t ready for the closeness you say you desire.

Whether any or all of these statements resonate with you, the underlying issue is the same: You are fearful of love.   You are the only person standing in your way of finding a partner, so it’s time to have an honest conversation as to why you’re holding yourself back.  If you truly want to find a loving, committed partner, it will be beneficial for you to explore the real reason why you’re still single.  

Lori Dougherty is a Marriage and Family Counselor at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. As a marriage and family counselor, she helps couples navigate the many difficulties that arise in their relationship. She also helps couples rebuild happiness together so they can have the fulfilling relationship with their partner they've always wanted.

He Said/She Said: Am I Too Young to Get Married?


Dear Aaron and Rachel,

As I’m sure you both already know, wedding season is coming up soon. My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost a year and we’ve been talking a lot about get married. We’ve even gone ring shopping together. We’re going on a big trip for graduation (we’re both finishing college next month) and I have a feeling he’s going to propose then.  I tell my friends and family that I think he’s going to propose but everyone keeps making comments about how young we both are (I’m 21 and he’s 22).

I’m really excited to get married but why is everyone so worried about our ages? Do they know something we don’t? I mean we will both be graduated from college and he’s already got a good job that he sees himself staying at for a long time. We know we’re going to be broke for the first couple years but neither of us really mind because both of our families don’t have a lot of money, anyway, so we’re not really used to it. I want to be ready and make sure I’m not jumping in to things. What makes someone “too young” to get married?

She Said

Congratulations on being in a happy relationship that you think can go the distance for the long term! I understand it can be a bummer to get all this negativity from friends and family, though their concerns are valid. Studies show that delaying the age of marriage is beneficial, as it decreases the likelihood of divorce.

The thing about getting married young is there is a strong likelihood you will grow apart instead of growing together. The popular belief is that people don't really even know who they are in their early twenties, and that they need more time to find themselves and establish their careers before marriage. Also, a lot of people in their twenties do not have enough dating and relationship experience to know what they really want or need in a marriage partner. There is the thought that young couples should have more relationship and sexual experiences before marrying so there isn't as much of the temptation to stray and wonder if their partner is really best for them. This can all sound discouraging, but keep in mind: There are plenty of people your age who may be capable of making a lifelong commitment.

He Said 

I got married young myself. I was 23 and my wife was 21. Having been there and done that, I can tell you personally that there's no need to get married so young. People are living longer and longer and you'll have plenty of years to be married. So live while you're young. There's a lot of life to experience and it's a lot harder to experience it when you're married. Once you're married you still experience life but it's married life - which is still good, it's just a LOT different.

To answer your question about what makes someone too young to get married, the answer is their maturity level. Research shows that a person's personality develops rapidly through adolescence and even somewhat rapidly through  age 25 and then it slows down in mid adulthood. Because your personality is still developing (and so is your partner's) it runs the risk of both of you developing separately (people call this growing apart). Waiting to get married ensures that your personalities have more thoroughly developed and that you'll still love each other even after all the changing.

 There are a lot of people who have more life experience than others in their early twenties. This helps you mature earlier. If you feel like this is you and you've already matured past your peers, then you have a lot better chance of success. But, seriously, what's the rush? Especially if you're going to spend a lifetime together, anyway.

About Rachel:  Rachel Russo is a Dating, Relationship, & Image Coach who works with marriage-minded singles and couples in NYC and throughout the US. Checkout her website at

About Aaron: Aaron Anderson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, owner of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, Colorado and writer for various websites on marriage and relationships.

Maximize Screen Free Week


Today, May 4th, marks the kickoff of screen free week! This year, May 4-10, families around the country will be taking intentional steps to unplug and reconnect with friends and family.  What does this mean to you and how can this help your family? While some screen time can be educational, too much screen time has been associated with violent behavior, sleep disturbances,and poor school performance. Taking a week to unplug can help you assess how screen time affects your family and ways that it is impacting your kids. It can also be a great time to be intentional about re-connecting with each other and spending some quality time together. Here’s some tips on how to get the most out of screen free week:

Get the Most out of Screen Free Week

1) Commit as a family. As parents, it’s easy to create rules for our children and expect them to follow them. It can be harder to follow those rules ourselves. Try committing this week to the same expectations you set for your children in regards to screen free time. Set the rules at the beginning of the week for what is realistic for you. “Screens” can include a lot of devices including phones, TVs, and computers. The point of this week is not to be so restrictive that it’s too hard to follow, but limit in a way that is realistic and beneficial for your family. This will not only give your kids an example to follow but show them that this is important to you too!

2) Replace the action. It can be surprising how much time we spend on our “screens”. Watching TV at night, catching up on work on the computer, and checking Facebook on our phones during downtime can all add up. What will you do with all of this new time? Plan some fun activities this week with your kids. Families might choose to take a walk, play a game, or just talk about their days. Being intentional with this new found time and using it to connect as a family will benefit you not only this week but in the long run too. Brainstorm ideas together and make a list that you can pull from if you need it.

3) Make a plan. Screen free week is all about learning how it can make a difference for you and your family. At the end of the week, re-assess what “screen time” means to your family and what you’d like it to look like moving forward. Did you notice a positive difference in yourself and your kids? Did you find some new ways to have fun together? Talk with your children about the differences it made for you and how you can continue to incorporate the good things moving forward. Maybe it means choosing less screen time or having one day a week “screen free”. Work together to find something that works best for all of you.

Get creative and work with your family to figure out how screen free week can make a difference in your lives. Enjoy this week as you re-connect!

Amanda Regalia, M.A. is a marriage and family counselor and clinician for The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. Amanda specializes in working with families and children ages 5 and up. She is passionate about helping people to create practical solutions that support them in achieving their goals and improving their relationships and life.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?


So, you’ve found that you and your partner have gone from “I love you” and “I miss you” to barely communicating and now you're spending less time together, too.  Maybe he wants to date other people or she is just preoccupied with work; either way, it’s clear this relationship is not working out.

While it’s true that not every relationship is meant to be – you’ll kiss a lot of frogs before you find that one – it’s also not always easy to end things.  You two share history, friends, maybe even a house and pets.  Often people will stay in a dying relationship out of comfort or fear of hurting their partner.  However, if you decided that you’re in the wrong relationship and you’re staying despite what your gut is telling you, it may be time to consider what’s right for you.

Are you being asked to compromise too much?

Ah, compromise.  It’s that dirty little word we all throw around; it feels a lot like not getting exactly what you wanted for Christmas, but still getting something pretty great.  Compromising in relationships is a must.  However, when you’re not 100% willing to meet your partner’s needs because your boundary would be crossed, it’s time to decide if this is the right relationship for you.  Now, I’m not talking about where to have dinner or what movie to see, I’m saying the big things: children, marriage, or opening your currently closed relationship.  If you’re not comfortable with these things, and don't think you ever will be, it’s probably time to move on.

Who do you love more?

This is a simple question and while the answer should be simple, sometimes it’s not.  If you love the relationship more, you probably love the companionship more than your partner.  If you love your partner more than yourself, you’ve put that person on a pedestal and created an imbalance in your relationship.  However, if you love yourself you will not only respect yourself, but also your partner.  In this situation, it will be easier to separate your rational thoughts from the emotions that are clouding the situation.  So, consider this, if it doesn’t feel right, why are you actually staying?  It might just be that you’ve placed more value on your partner or the relationship than yourself.

Do you know your worth?

I know some pretty amazing individuals who left long-term relationships because they felt like they were being taken for granted.  The difference between these people and someone who stays in a “bad relationship” is that they know their worth and value themselves.  We’re all amazing in our own way, but unless you own that, your partner will continue pushing the boundaries of your relationship to get exactly what he or she wants, all the while compromising your wants and needs.  Think about it, what’s your value and does your partner see that?  If your partner doesn’t see you for the amazing person you are, do you really want to continue this relationship?

Are you playing games?

Your heart isn’t a toy, so if you find yourself playing games, take a step back and reevaluate the relationship.  If your partner is needy and likes to feel wanted, he or she may start distancing, leaving you to pursue.  Or maybe the script is flipped.  Whatever it is, if you and your partner are using Jedi mind-tricks to get the other’s attention, reconsider your worth.  Are you really that desperate to be in a relationship with someone who, instead of clearly communicating his or her needs, finds it necessary to put your emotions through the ringer?  If you love, respect, and value yourself, the answer should be “no.”

Now, I’m not saying that if you love, respect, and value yourself, it will make the pain of the breakup disappear, that is, if you decided to move forward with it.  However, it will make it much easier to separate those intertwined thoughts and emotions and see your relationship for what it really is.  When the fog lifts, if you don’t like what you see, it might just be time to move on.

Lori Dougherty is a Marriage and Family Counselor at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. As a marriage and family counselor, she helps couples navigate the many difficulties that arise in their relationship. She also helps couples rebuild happiness together so they can have the fulfilling relationship with their partner they've always wanted.

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