This week’s Ask An Expert features Relationship Coach Matt Hilliard-Forde and three questions from our viewers.
1. How do I get out of a toxic relationship?
Relationships can have a gravitational pull on us, and it can be a struggle to leave the orbit of a toxic one. When I was struggling to leave a toxic relationship, I found it really helpful to write a list of all the benefits of leaving. Think about all areas of your life – health, finances, family, friends, career, spiritual. Come up with at least 20 benefits – with this relationship behind you, what will your life look like, how will you feel, what will you have time for? Put the list on your phone or stick it in your journal, or both, and refer to it frequently, especially when motivation is low and fear is high. Also, think about what kind of support you might need as you’re leaving and once you’ve left, and ask one or two of your closest friends if they can support you.
2. How do couples make a long distance relationship work – what do they do?
LDRs can be challenging. The great thing about the era we live in is that technology is on our side. Set a time to discuss what type of connection (phone call, video call, text, voice msg), and what frequency of connection in an average day and week feels good to you both and, create a plan, do the plan, and tweak it as you go. A plan might look like: we leave a voice msg for each other in the morning, text at midday, and chat for 20 mins each evening. (I offer a one-off session to help couples to do this – Create Instant Connection).
3. How is trust built in a relationship?
By actions matching words, consistently over time. Assume the best of your partner but notice if their actions don’t match their words, for example if they don’t follow through on what they say. This isn’t necessarily a reason to end the relationship, but can be an opportunity to say ‘hey, I noticed you said you’d do this thing and you didn’t, and it mades me trust you a bit less – can we talk about what happened because trust is really important to me?’ Oh, and make sure your actions match your words consistently over time.
Do you have a question about relationships? Send your question to [email protected] and we’ll ask our expert and feature your question in an upcoming post.