Dr. Barbara Fontana, PhD
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"Relationships & How to Make Them Work"

Barbara Fontana, Ph.D
45 Route 25A
Shoreham, NY 11786
Ph: 631-821-1880
Fax: 631-821-4750

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the Week
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Barbara Fontana, PhD - Psychologist & Imago Relationship Therapist
Suffolk County, Long Island, New York - Couples Therapy

Tips of the Week for Couples

  • Another study by Jesper Aagaard found that with an increase in telecommunication has come changes in the way people communicate in person.

Specifically their communication had delayed responses, mechanical intonation and a lack of eye contact. This created misattunement between the couples and a feeling of apathy which led to both partners responding less and less to the other. Try to 'tune in' to your partner, make eye contact, pay attention, be engaged, try to show him/her that you are interested or curious and want to know more.

  • Intimacy is only possible in a context of pleasure and safety (tweet from Harville and Helen, 9/17/16).

Try to work on both to enhance your relationship: plan pleasurable activities; be a source of emotional safety by respecting their thoughts and feelings even when you see things differently.

  • How you respond to each other can have a positive or negative effect on sexual desire.

When your partner tries to talk to you, you can kill desire by frequently being adversarial, by being defensive, by shutting down and refusing to talk. Being a good listener, being engaged, being curious about how the other person sees things, being willing to dialogue all have a positive effect on emotional safety between partners and sexual desire.

  • Your touch is powerful.

Studies using fMRI's have show that when partners hold hands, their brains calm down, there is less emotional responding in the brain, they feel soothed and calmer. Try sitting face to face while holding hands and breathe, let your partner's touch calm you and watch the change in him or her too. Try doing this every day for a week and see what happens or try doing it when you have a difficult topic to discuss.

  • It's easier to stay late at work than to tell your partner that you feel unhappy every time you walk in the front door (tweet from Harville and Helen, 9/6/16).

Try to tell your partner how you feel rather than "exit" the relationship by working late.

  • What happens when one person tries to initiate sex and the other person is not interested can affect your sexual relationship in a positive or negative way.

If you are not interested, try being kind and considerate of the other person's feelings. If you are the initiator and your partner says no, try not to say "Fine" - a common response that's often said in a tone that's dismissive, that says "I don't need you" or "I don't care" (another finding from Dr. John Gottman). Instead, try to be kind and understanding of the other person's feelings.

  • The first & foremost instinct in humans is neither sex nor aggression.

It is to seek contact & comforting connection (tweet from Dr. Sue Johnson, 10/2/16). Try to foster connection by your words and behaviors; be a source of comfort for each other.

  • Several Pew polls have found that respondents thought sharing household tasks was very important for a successful marriage (Psychology Today, July/August 2014).

Do you and your partner share housework and other chores? If not, try making some changes so you both feel like you're a team.

Psychologist Shoreham, Long Island | (631) 821-1880