Adult Crisis: (813)272-2958Children's Crisis: (813)272-2882Outpatient: (813)272-2244

Navigation Link

Methods For Changing Your Relationships


People are social creatures by nature. They are born into families and being a member of a family is their natural state. Most people live and work with other people and are, in varying ways, dependent upon them for their livelihood and their life. Other people are, in turn, dependent on them. People depend on one another to meet the basic necessities of life, including food, clothing, shelter and safety needs. They need access to the paycheck that pays the rent and buys the food, they need protection from common enemies, and they also need assurances that they will be cared for should they fall ill. They depend on each other to meet sexual and reproductive needs. They also need to belong to groups of other people (e.g., their family of origin, the family they build with a spouse, a tribe, a culture, a work group, a religion, a nation) in order to define themselves as people; to form healthy identities. Such belonging needs become primary to most people as soon as their more basic a...More

Fast Facts: Learn! Fast!

How do dating relationships change over time?

  • Relationships develop over time as partners share experiences with one another.
  • Partners initial idealization of each other and mutual good behavior tends to give way to a more balanced and accurate view of each other as they learn each others strengths and weaknesses and come to understand whether each other is trustworthy and responsible.
  • While no relationship is perfect, some relationships are revealed to be dangerous or unhealthy to remain in and others come to be seen as unworkable.
  • Unworkable, dangerous or unhealthy relationships can generally be identified by paying attention to one's emotions which will become persistently upset with regard to the relationship.
  • Certain behaviors or demands one might encounter are also excellent signs it is time to get out of a relationship.
  • Successful dating often gives way to the formation of long term relationships.
  • At the risk of over-generalizing, dating relationships are more often urgent, intense and passionate whereas long term relationships are more often sedate, comfortable and familiar.
  • Long term relationships come with a raft of responsibilities and mutual dependencies that dating relationships, which are more temporary and carefree, avoid.

For more information

How can I improve communication in my intimate relationship?

  • Trust and affection are the glue that hold couples together.
  • Healthy partners communicate these positive feelings towards each other via words and gestures in a cyclical manner that breeds more positive communication.
  • Chronically conflicted couples lose trust between the partners, affection suffers and communication between partners takes on a more negative, defensive and demanding tone.
  • Therapists teach conflicted couples communication skills designed to help them interrupt their negative communications and replace them with more positive (or at least neutral) ones.
  • "I" statements communicate feelings rather than accusations, elicits a helpful, supportive response rather than a defensive one, and helps to defuse potential fights and arguments.
  • Focal, Not Global Criticism - in troubled relationsihps, criticisms tend to turn from specific complaints (e.g., "you forgot to bring milk") to general (sometimes over-general) conclusions which may be exaggerated (e.g., "you don't care about me at all"). Therapists may encourage clients to stick to the indisputable facts and to not draw conclusions from these facts which might be mistaken.
  • Traffic Control; Active Listening and Repeating - therapists act as traffic cops and teach active listening skills to counter partner's obsessive defensive arguing. The therapist will set up and enforce times when each partner can speak and the other partner is asked to listen.
  • Interpretation - while teaching couples ground rules and procedures for how to communicate effectively, therapists may also help couples to better understand each other by offering the couple their outsider's informed opinion as to why each partner has chosen to act as they have.

For more information

How can a marriage remain healthy and what problems can lead to divorce?

How can I move on after a divorce?

  • You can feel like the loneliest person in the world when you are contemplating divorce. It's therefore important to keep divorce in perspective so that it doesn't crush you.
  • The end of the divorce process generally involves learning from the past, taking a forward-looking, present-centered stance, adapting to one's changed circumstances, and doing what one can to reinvent and reconstitute one's life.
  • Divorce offers people the opportunity to reflect on and learn from the mistakes they have made in order to reduce the chances that they will make those same mistakes again.
  • Either alone (via journaling), or with the assistance of a trusted friend, family member or therapist, talk or write out the history of the marriage, from beginning to end.
  • Work to identify and describe the big points of conflict where compromise proved difficult or impossible and try to figure out where your personality and values clashed with those of your spouse and where they were in harmony.
  • Knowing this information will help you to figure out what qualities you will want in a future relationship and what qualities you will want to avoid.
  • The new chapter in life can only start when divorcees reach a point where they are ready to 'turn the page' and explore what their new life can become.
  • Being able to move on with life is easiest to accomplish when one is hopeful, positive, and looking toward the future, rather than being stuck focusing on and thinking about the past.
  • Some people, places and things will cause one to remember the past marriage and keep things focused on the past. It can be a good idea to put such things away so that they don't automatically trigger old memories. When that isn't possible or they can't be avoided, work to create new memories around those people, places and things.
  • Exploring interests, old and new, pulls your attention into the present, creates opportunities for creativity, meaningful social interaction and new relationships, and promotes personal growth.

For more information

News Articles

  • Arguing Taxes the Brain Much More Than Agreement, Scans Show

    Brain drain: Arguing with others puts a lot more strain on your brain than agreeing with them, a new study finds. More...

  • Can You Find True, Lasting Love on Tinder? Study Finds It's Possible

    Tinder, Grindr and other dating apps have a reputation for encouraging casual hookups, but a new study suggests app users may be looking for -- and finding -- love in all the right places after all. More...

  • Saying 'I Understand' Makes a Real Difference, Study Shows

    Showing support for a person's upset over something they've experienced can actually help boost their positive feelings, new research shows. More...

  • Masks Do Make Faces Harder to Recognize, Study Shows

    A new study confirms what you likely already know from experience -- it can be hard to recognize people when they're wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. More...

  • Study Gauges Mental, Physical Toll of Divorce

    Couples going through a divorce may see their mental well-being deteriorate -- especially if they are having angry exchanges and other conflicts, a new study shows. More...

  • 13 More
    • AHA News: Why Stay in Touch While Keeping Distant? It's Only Human

      If you've been keeping a healthy distance from other people because of COVID-19, you probably feel smart. But if you're also feeling lonely and stressed, it doesn't mean anything is wrong. It could simply mean you're human. More...

    • Affection, at Least for Women, May Be Rooted in Genes

      Genetics play a major role in how affectionate women are, but the same does not hold true for men, new research shows. More...

    • Love During Lockdown: Survey Shows How Couples Have Coped

      As U.S. states issued stay-at-home orders in March and April, one of many questions was how couples would fare under lockdown together. Now a new survey offers an initial snapshot: some more arguments, regular declarations of love, and a good dose of same-old, same-old. More...

    • A New Hip or Knee Can Do a Marriage Good, Study Finds

      After people have a hip or knee replacement surgery, doctors expect these patients will get relief from joint pain, get around easier and once again enjoy the activities they love. More...

    • Cuddling Brings Two Minds Together, MRI Study Reveals

      Love to cuddle up? It might bring a 'mind meld,' too, new research shows. More...

    • Keeping Harmony in the Family During Coronavirus Pandemic

      The coronavirus pandemic has families spending plenty of "quality time" together, but living under the same roof 24 hours a day can tax relationships, an expert in child development says. More...

    • Love in the Time of Coronavirus: Couples Feel the Strain of Lockdown

      With most Americans weeks into sheltering-in-place, couples are in a situation probably none ever planned for: Being in each other's faces all day, every day -- with no clear end in sight. More...

    • Shower Your Valentine With Love All Year Long

      You need to work on your relationship with your significant other all year round, not just on Valentine's Day, a relationship expert advises. More...

    • 5 Secrets to an Allergy-Free Valentine's Day

      Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to shower your loved one with gifts, but some may do more harm than good. More...

    • Restful Romance: Smelling Your Lover's Shirt Can Help You Sleep

      Bedtime without your partner on Valentine's Day could make sleep elusive. But a new study suggests one remedy: Cuddling up with a piece of his or her clothing. More...

    • 8 Ways to Make Every Day a Valentine For Your Kids

      As Valentine's Day approaches, parents are reminded to shower their children with love and attention throughout the year. More...

    • Silence Your Snore, Save Your Romance

      "While snoring is disruptive to bed partners and can cause frustration in a relationship, it can also be an indicator of a serious health problem," said Dr. Kelly Carden, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). More...

    • AHA News: How a Happy Relationship Can Help Your Health

      Studies have shown supportive relationships in general and marriage in particular can be healthy for you. More...