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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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VIDEO TIP: How to Love Your Stressed Out Partner

Emily Porta

Thank you so much for joining me in our seventh edition of the How To Love Your Partner series.  Today, I'm going to talk to you about how to love your stressed out partner.  I felt like this was appropriate for the holiday season.  Check out this week's videofor three quick tips.

Often times, the holidays can reek havoc on our relationships.  So, I'm going to give you three simple ways to learn to love your partner just a little bit more when they're extremely stressed out. 

I call these the "Three Rs" and they're really simple. 

1.  Review your ROLES.  Take a look at how do you and your partner show up in your day-to-day.  Are you typically the one who is out getting things ready for holiday parties?  Are you sending invitations?  Are the one sending out cards, getting presents together, coordinating each other's schedules?  Or is that your partner?  Review in your mind your role compared to your partner's, and how you both contribute.

2.  Make a REQUEST.  Go to your partner and say, "I want to sit down and take a look at what's coming up in the next couple of weeks.  Let's take a look at our schedules. Let's look at holiday parties, shopping, all of these things.  And let me know how I be a support to you."  It's that simple.  Ask: "Do you need help with certain things?  Give me things to do.  Let's delegate.  Let's split these up, divide and conquer."  This really tells your partner, "We're a team.  And I want to help you get through this.  I also understand how stressful this can be and I'm here to help." 

3.  REJOICE.  Celebrate together.  Celebrate those things that your partner has entrusted in you and verbalize that to your partner.  Let them know how much you appreciate them being able to confide in you, being able to depend on you. It says a lot when you can go to your partner and say, "Thank you so much for being able to receive my help and support, and for being able to depend on me."  Because that adds value to a relationship.  This is also positive reinforcement.  You're telling your partner, "This is really good.  This feels good. Thank you."  And your partner's brain loves that, whether they know it or not. 

I hope this has been helpful, but if you still want more tips and tools on how to really love your stressed out partner, especially during the holidays, feel free to contact me directly at 714-390-1652. 

VIDEO TIP: How to Love your Overcommitted Partner

Emily Porta

Are you in a relationship with someone who tends to overbook themselves? Who tends to overextend their yes's to things and requests from other people?  If so, then this week's video is for you.

I'm going to give you a couple of ways you can just love your partner a little bit more and hopefully benefit your relationship.  Because often when you have an overcommitted partner, it's not just your partner being overstretched.  It also probably means you are feeling neglected. 

So here's what you can do. 

1. Tell your partner how much you love and appreciate them and all their effort to stay connected with friends and close people that matter to them.  In essence, this is what overcommitting is, right?  Saying yes to far too many things and overbooking their calendar because they typically want to stay connected, or want a sense of importance, or want to maintain this perception that "I've got my stuff together and I can do it all."  So, start by just letting them know that you love them. 

2. Share with them really gently and free of any criticism or judgment what you observe.  If you notice that they're extra tired in the morning and they're hitting snooze a couple extra times, say so.  You could say, "I notice we're getting to bed really late each night this week, or each night this month.  And you're hitting snooze like five or six times in the morning.  I can see this is really impacting you."  Again, gently and free of judgment, talk about what you observe.  And then I want you to again remind them how much you love them and appreciate their effort to stay connected...and that you're also seeing it impact them. 

3. Talk about what it's doing to the relationship and to you in particular.  Talk about what you need.  If you're feeling a little bit neglected and you just want some more time with your partner, say that to them.  Let them know, "I want to find a way that we can spend a little bit more time together."  Maybe it's an issue ofquality time over quantity.  You might say, "We need time with your phone away, when you're not checking to-do lists."  Maybe you just need your partner to be present when they're with you.  Talk to them about that. 

4. Ask them what they need.  Ask them if there's a way to make their needs an actual reality without overextending themselves. Are there things that you can maybe help them do?  Do they need help saying no?  Find out what it is that they need, so that overcommitting themselves doesn't have to be an everyday occurrence (or, an every holiday occurrence, as the current circumstance might be). 

Give these tips a try the next time you want to communicate your thoughts on the matter and see if anything changes in you, in your partner, or in the relationship.  I'd love to hear how it goes for you.

If this has been helpful, please leave a comment.  I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

But if you need a little bit more help learning how to love your overcommitted partner or you just want some help talking to them, direct message me or give me a call at 714-390-1652. And let's see how I can help you guys start loving your overcommitted partners just a little bit more. 

VIDEO TIP: How to Love Your Stubborn Partner

Emily Porta

Thank you so much for joining me for the sixth edition of my How To Love Your Partner series.  Today, I'm going to talk to you about how to love your stubborn partner.  Check out this week's video.

Often times, what happens is either we or our partners just get stuck or just can't move past something about a situation or topic.  Maybe they don't even want to talk about it. 

I'm going to give you three tips on how to love your stubborn partner just a little bit more.  See if these can help you move through some of those difficult topics: 

1.  Be really selective and thoughtful when asking your partner to talk. 

Think about setting up a time.  Ask them, "Hey, can you check your schedule?  I'd love to sit down and talk to you about something.  There's something really important that we need to discuss.  Let's make it a priority, put it on the calendar."  That way, it even gives your partner some time to think about and mentally prepare. 

What it also says is you respect the fact that there's something about the topic that's hard for them and you're giving them some time--and yourself--to come at this in a really thoughtful way. 

So, that's the first tip:  be thoughtful and selective about when you talk about the issue. 

2.  Try to understand your partner and whatever their stubbornness means. 

What is it about a certain topic they're resisting that makes them uncomfortable, that makes them upset?  The best you can do is get curious.  And here's like the golden question to say to your partner:  "Help me understand." 

So, you're not saying, "What's wrong with you?  What's your deal?  Why is this so hard?"  You're just simply saying, "Help me understand.  Share with me."  This can bring your partner's defenses way down.  Then they're much more likely to be vulnerable with you and share with you what is really going on around this topic. 

So, ask them to help you understand what's going on. 

3.  Appreciate them. 

Appreciate any small piece that they can do differently, whether it's sharing what's been bothering them, whether they're saying "OK, yeah, I can put this in my calendar and we can make a time to talk about this." 

Try to verbalize to them what you appreciate about how they respond to your requests, how they move through what typically could be something they get stuck with, and just share that with them. 

So, there you have it.  Three simple tips on how to love your stubborn partner.  Select a time that is thoughtful.  Ask them to help you understand their process.  And just appreciate them for their effort. 

If this has been helpful, reach out and let me know

But if this is something that you continue to struggle with and you would like more help, maybe some one on one help, give me a call.  I'd love to talk to you about working together and helping you figure out ways to love your stubborn partner even more.  You can call me directly at 714-390-1652.

VIDEO TIP: How to Love Your Ungrateful Partner

Emily Porta

Thank you so much for joining me for our fifth edition of the "How to Love your Partner" series. And, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'm going to be talking to you today about how to love your ungrateful partner. Because, especially around the holidays, sometimes it can seem like our partners are just being flat-out ungrateful.  Check out this week's video tip.

To start, what is the definition of gratitude? I looked this up, and I was really surprised to see that there's two main parts to this: First of all, it is the quality of being thankful. But, it's also the readiness to show our appreciation.

I want you to think about this for a minute, because sometimes when our partners appear to us as being ungrateful, maybe it's just because they've really struggled to show appreciation.So, just keep that in mind.

And, typically what I would do in these videos is I'd give you ways to maybe talk to your partner and have conversations about these different topics that you are struggling with. Not today.

What I'm going to do today is I am going to give you tips that you can do on your own to try to love your ungrateful partner a little bit more:

1.  Maintain the 5:1 Ratio

I want you to think about your interactions with your partner. According to John Gottman's research, it's the happiest couples that maintain this ratio of 5 to 1 interactions.  This refers to five positive interactions to every one negative interaction. And, so five positive interactions, those can be anything from just a "Hello",  to a kiss on the cheek, to a "How's your day today?", anything that feels positive to your partner for every one negative interaction. So, really try to maintain that high ratio. What it does is it helps you to actually become more grateful for your partner and appreciate them more.

2.  Trick Your Brain with "Simulated Joy"

OK, I know how that sounds.  Stick with me.  Test this out:  I want you to find photos of the two of you.  These can be in photo albums (Remember back in the day, when we actually printed out photos?) or pictures on your phone.  Take your time and look through those.

You know that our brains react to real danger and perceived danger the same way, right? What happens is it will release cortisol and adrenaline--even if there isn't actual danger around, but it perceives that there's danger.  This means that our brains will also react to perceived love and joy or real love and joy indiscriminately too. 

So, when you're looking at these photos, these positive memories of your partner, and you're really focusing on this, you're actually creating the circumstances to cause your brain to secrete serotonin. And, serotonin is what's called our cuddle drug, because it just makes you feel good and makes you want to cuddle.

While you're looking at some photos, you might want to involve your partner in that and see if that can shift their level of gratitude too.  Pull them in, look at photos together, see what happens.

If you're still struggling with this and you feel like you'd like some extra help with learning how to love your ungrateful partner, I'd love to hear from you. I'd love to work with you and help you learn how to love your ungrateful partner just a little bit more this year.

VIDEO TIP: How to Love Your Exhausted Partner

Emily Porta

Back at it again for the third round of my "How To Love Your Partner" video series.  Today, I'm talking about how to love your exhausted partner.  And, this is specifically for those of you with children.  Watch the video for my quick tips:

We're all busy people, right?  And so, we all are susceptible to feeling utterly exhausted at different phases of our lives.  But if you're a parent, you understand a whole new kind of exhaustion.  I get it.  I've gotten so many requests from parents out there saying, "Robyn, we're exhausted and we're struggling.  Please help us.  How do we do this?  What are some little things we can do?"  And I'm so glad you're here. 

My first tip is to create a routine.  Create something where you guys are doing this every day if possible.  Or, every other day--whatever it is, it's a routine and you know when to expect it.  So, what this looks like is, can you show up for your partner in ways that support them and give them little breaks?  If you're the partner who is maybe not at home all day with the children, can you come home at lunch time?  Can you come home during your day and maybe give the other partner a thirty-minute break so they can at least shower?  Or they maybe throw in a load of laundry.  Just having a thirty-minute break and expecting it can change chemicals in our brains.  We'll actually look forward to that, we'll perk up a little bit, and we'll be able to get through those couple hours in our day. 

The next thing I want you to think about within routine is, when children are napping, or if there's just downtime, can you make it to where everyone in the family does the same thing?  That's right.  You guys--parents--can you take a nap at the same time?  Or, can you guys just relax and let your bodies rest?  It's so important to create a routine around this.  And it will change the way you show up for your children, as well as one another. 

The second thing I want you to think about is, how are you nurturing your bodies?  And I'm talking about food and beverages, liquids.  Are you getting enough to drink?  Are you hydrated?  Research shows us that when we are not hydrated and when we are not well-nutritioned, it impacts our moods. It makes it harder to make decisions.  You may find that you or your partner who is exhausted and hungry or dehydrated--you're a little bit short.  Your temper, you kind of snap like that.  Make sure that you are feeding yourselves.  It sounds basic, but we tend to neglect ourselves when we are exhausted.  Can you make your partner maybe a lunch for the next day?  Whoever wakes up first, can you maybe put on a pot of coffee, make a little bit of breakfast, so that it's already there and easy for that person who has, you know, a full day ahead of them with kids.  So, showing up for your partner and helping them to nourish their bodies. 

And the last thing I want you to remember is it's temporary.  It's totally temporary.  This is not going to last forever.  Can you on numerous occasions throughout your day try to lovingly remind yourself and your partner of that?  You can do this by just looking at one another and connecting.  It can be as simple as a look from across the room that says "I love you.  I know this is hard.  You've got this. I've got your back."  It's so imperative that you take time no matter how tired you are to look at your partner and say, "We've got this." 

So, my challenge to you for this week is to:

1.  See if you can come up with a routine. 

2.  See if you can find ways to ensure that you guys are nourishing each other with good food and liquids.

3.  Stay connected.  Find a new way this week to connect with your partner and let them know that you've got their back. 

Thanks for joining me and I'll see you guys next week.

How have you found ways to beat exhaustion and stay connected while in the throes of parenting?  Or, what new challenges has parenting and exhaustion presented to you?  I want to hear about it!  Share your tips in the comments or reach out to me directly

VIDEO TIP: How to Love Your Successful Partner

Emily Porta

Today, we're talking about how to love your successful partner.  And for many of you, you may think, "Well, how could this possibly be a bad thing if you have a partner who is successful?"  Well, success can look and most definitely feel very different to different people.

I want you to start by just thinking to yourself, What exactly is success?  When you look at your partner--I mean, you clicked on this post for a reason, right?  There's something about hearing "my partner and their success" that triggers something within you. 

So, when you think about your partner's success, whether it's a business, whether it's in relationships, whether it's spiritually, emotionally--what is it about their success that bothers you?  That's the first step: to just take a step back and say, "What is my reaction all about right now?  What am I actually responding to?  Does my partner's success make me think about my own fears when it comes to business?  Does my partner's success kind of highlight areas in my own life, whether it's professionally or personally or spiritually, maybe physically, where I feel inadequate?"  What is going on?  Pause and take a look at what's happening within you. 

The second step: write this stuff down.  Write down every single way that you perceive your partner's success to impact you.  How does their behaviors with regard to their success impact you?  How do their mannerisms or things that they say, the way they speak, the way they interact with people, the way they talk about their business--how does that impact you?  And then think about, when you talk to other people about your partner and their success, what comes up for you?  Are you proud of your successful partner?  Do you get a little overwhelmed?  Do you maybe feel some embarrassment or shame because maybe you don't know as much about their success as you thought?  Think about what this does to you and then write it out. 

And the third step: sit down and have a conversation with your partner.  Ask them what their idea of success is.  I can guarantee that the way you perceive your partner's success would dramatically shift just by having a conversation about your ideas, their ideas, and finding out where they match and where they miss. 

So, my challenge to you this week, if you're struggling to love your successful partner, is to follow these three steps.  And then, let me know how it went.  Let me know what came up.  Let me know how you were able to love your successful partner, and maybe some challenges that came up for you both throughout the conversation.