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Relationships are messy + delicious. Learn about how Robyn D'Angelo, The Happy Couple Expert uses science to effectively help couples in Orange County, California to master the messiness of relationships while learning how to love + be loved, better.

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Communication Tip #1: Language & Courage

Emily Porta

Hi there! Today I want to talk to you about two really important elements of communication.  I know so many couples come to me (and individuals) saying, "I just need some help with some communication skills."  



So, today I want to share with you two elements that are really important-- language and courage.  Now, that may sound kind of funny, like they don't really go together, but they do!  

Let me just give you an example:  So, a girlfriend and I were texting and having a conversation and I made a point and her next text to me, her response was, "Fair enough."  That's it.  No emojis.  No nothing.  So I didn't really know how to take this.  I didn't understand what that meant to her, but I can tell you for me, I had an internal reaction to that, it wasn't super great.  

It was kind of confusing, so I just paused for a moment and we have a really great relationship so I knew I could get kind of vulnerable with her and find the courage to say to her, "Hey, what did you mean by saying, 'fair enough?’  Was that disapproving? Was that a 'oh hey i never thought of it that way’? Help me understand what that meant."  And her response was immediate: "Oh my goodness, it was ‘thanks for the insight I hadn't thought of it that way.’ Thanks for checking in with me."  

And that just proved to me, how important it is that we find the courage when we are confused or we're triggered or we're upset by something someone has said to us or done to us, or we've experienced from them.  If we're having a reaction to it, instead of just reacting and making it worse, can we pause, find the courage and just get really curious with someone?  

We take in information through our own filters-- we all do this-- but we are also responsible for our own reactions and our responses to things.  So, when you can slow down just long enough to say, "Hey, help me understand."  The person on the other end will truly not only appreciate it, but they have an opportunity to connect deeper with you.  How important is that?  

So, communication-- be sure to listen for language and see if you can find your own courage to get curious and clarify when you're having a response to something.  I hope this has been helpful and I want to hear from you guys-- how are you utilizing this?  How is this showing up in your relationship?  

This week, what are you doing and what did it look like?  And maybe it fell flat!  That’s ok too!  We can work on it! Reach out and let us know!  Alright you guys, I'll talk to you again next week.  Buh-bye!

The "I" in Team

Robyn D'Angelo

Hi, Robyn D'Angelo here, The Happy Couple Expert.  Have you ever heard that saying: "There's no ‘I' in Team?"  Well, I’m here to tell you that there absolutely is an "I" in team and it's a really important role.  

When I think about the "I" in team, I think about this word 'autonomy,' which is hugely important within relationships.  Autonomy is having the free will to make choices according to your wants, needs and desires.  

This is really important to have within a relationship, just as important as to have your partners back, to support your partner, to cheer them on in really encourage them.  There's got to be a sense of self within a relationship.  

Have you ever noticed that when your partner tells you to do something, even if it's something you totally want to do, you have this sense of resistance?  This kind of thought of like, "why are they telling me to do this?" It's because you're sense of being able to make a choice is removed from the situation.  Our brains don't like that!  

I mean, think about it, for decades and decades people have been fighting for freedom.  Our brains are like that too even within relationships.  

There's studies that show dissatisfaction among doctors.  It's not because they have to fill out insurance forms or paperwork- it's when they feel like they don't have control over their day or how many patients they see, about how many breaks they get to take.  That's where their sense of dissatisfaction is.  

So, think about your relationship.  Think about the areas that could be a little bit better.  Is there a space to create some more autonomy?  Or to deepen the autonomy that you already have within your relationship?  

If this is something that you struggle with, reach out, I'd love to work with you and help you and your partner get to a place where the "I" in team can be a really, really fabulous place.  

Alright, talk to you guys soon.  Buh-bye!

Anger, Resentments, & How to Release their Hold on Your Relationships

Emily Porta

Are your resentments taking you for a ride?  Check out this video for a technique that actually works by giving you permission to feel your anger and and see your way through your resentments. 

Today, I want to talk about anger, and specifically, I want to talk about resentments. 

Anger is a very healthy, normal, natural emotion.  We all feel this at times.  And I think where it tends to feel upsetting is when we make choices on how to experience that, or basically, how we deal with our anger.  Resentment is one of those ways. 

Resentment is something that, we tend to have this story in our mind, and it kind of goes round and round.  We spin out, thinking things like,  "How could this person do this?  What were they thinking?  What's their problem?"  And it goes round and round and festers, and keeping us in that victim role and them in the "they're the ones that did this" role, casting the blame onto them. 

One of the ways that I've learned from my dear friend and colleague Michelle Farris, LMFT on ways to deal with resentments when we find ourselves stuck in that loop is totry writing down--completely uncensored--everything that you feel and think about this situation, or even about the person.  Just write it all out. 

Then once you've had a chance to do that, I want you to think about how the resentment impacts you personally.  Does it impact your self-esteem?  Does it impact your emotional kind of security?  Maybe financially?  Does it impact you when you're out in public?  Write this down in detail. 

Then I want you to write out, how do your behaviors and your attitudes, your mood--how does this impact this situation as a whole? 

What happens when we have resentments toward someone is it tends to separate us.  We feel like we can't trust that person.  Maybe we feel like we don't want to apologize because then we have to forgive them.  Right? 

Next, I want you to write out next everything you would say to that person.  Again, completely uncensored, every single thing.  Now, you're not going to give this to that person.  This is entirely for your benefit, to learn to navigate and move through this resentment, in order to see if you can release some of this a little bit.  Because the resentment actually holding you captive. 

There's also very specific ways that you can start to communicate your feelings, your thoughts to the other person involved.  And that's when I recommend that you highly reach out to a trained professional.  Maybe a therapist like myself, maybe a coach, maybe someone in your congregation at a church or something. 

Get some specific help in learning how to communicate your feelings and your thoughts to help release some of these resentments.  And I can guarantee your relationships will begin to shift immediately. 

Leave me any questions you have below and if this is something that you're struggling with and you'd like some help, reach out.  You can call me directly at 714-390-1652.  Or, shoot me an email if you have a specific question.

Relationship Rehab with Robyn: Building Connection

Emily Porta

The bidding war you definitely want to win!

I want to share with you some of my secrets on how to stay connected with your partner and just to enjoy their company.  And, you may not realize this, but throughout the day, you and your partner are constantly trying to connect emotionally.  And this is something that Julie and John Gottman refer to as "bids" and bids can come at us in all different ways.  They can look like requests.  They can look like observations.  They can sound like compliments.  They can even sound like complaining, which we don't love, but bids are an opportunity to connect with your partner.  And this is something that we call sliding door moments.  If you imagine an elevator, when the door opens you have a certain amount of time to get in there before they shut.  You've got a certain amount of time when your partner bids toward you to respond to them in a way that can really enhance your relationship.  So, a few examples of bids are "How does this sweater look?", "Would you mind helping me fill out this form?", "I think I totally bombed my presentation today."  See, these are ways that your partner is just trying to connect with you.  They don't have to ask you these things.  They don't have to share with you.  But it's a way to get your engagement; get you involved.  So, you're not always going to respond to these sliding door moments successfully, but what I want you to do is realize that in this moment, it's up to you to decide what happens next.  So, when your partner has a bid or a request, you may not be able to accommodate that fully, but you are responsible for how you respond to them.  So, if someone asks you to maybe help fill out a form for them or with them, think about, "Do I want to do this right now?  Is there something we could do later?"  How can you respond to your partner so that they still feel connected and heard, instead of just "Can’t you just do it yourself?"  See how different that would make your partner feel, versus "Hey, you know, I'm right in the middle of something.  Do you think we could do it in fifteen minutes when I've got a little bit more time and could really focus with you?"  I can guarantee your partner will feel connected to you, heard, and overall just enjoy being around you.  And that's the goal here.  So, I want to hear from you.  If you're still struggling to really connect emotionally with your partner, or if you found some great, successful ways to do that, email me.  I'd love to hear from you.  You can email me at robyn@counselinglagunahills.com.  

You've Got Questions? We've Got Answers!

Emily Porta

Don’t you wish you wish you could just get a therapist on the phone and ask those burning questions about why your partner does that thing, or why you always get so frustrated & flip out, why you two always have the same fight over and over ... Well, here is your chance!

Rebecca Wong and I are really excited to join forced to bring you a relationship Q and A style webinar. Rebecca is a psychotherapist and connectfulness coach in private practice in New Paltz, NY who specializes in helping parenting couples learn to integrate playfulness into their relationships to deepen their connection and intimacy.

We want you to be a part of the webinar!

So gather all those questions you’ve always wanted to ask a relationship expert, I'm sure there's more there than you think!  Now’s your chance to ask and get advice you can trust.  The webinar is free, all you have to do to join us is share your questions with us HERE by August 24th.

Your most burning questions will fuel this webinar.

We are eager to hear all that stuff you wonder about and help you find your way towards enjoying fun, satisfying, healthy, sustainable relationships that fill you up rather than deplete you. We know you want that, or more of that, or to make sure that continues… (we all do, you're not alone!)

The webinar will be held on August 28th at 11am PST/2pm EST and we invite you to join us, LIVE. And before you ask, yes, we’re planning to record also, so if you can’t be on the call with us we would still love for you to submit your questions! That said, being live with us makes it all so much more fun!

No question is too big or too small.  We want ’em all and we can not wait to hear what you've got for us!!! Matter of fact, we can’t do this without you.

If this relationship Q & A webinar sounds as exciting to you as it does to us, please share, sign up & submit your burning juicy relationship questions to us by August 24th.

We’ll send you more information about how to log on as the date approaches, just sign up and submit your questions to make sure you are on the list!

We can't wait to see you on the 28th!