CAN A HYP­NOTHER­A­PIST SEX UP YOUR MAR­RIAGE?

Her tech­niques may sound a bit ‘out there’, but hyp­nother­a­pist Ailsa Frank swears they have put the spice back in many re­la­tion­ships. Give them a go – this could be your sec­ond hon­ey­moon

The Mail on Sunday - You - - Editor’sletter - IL­LUS­TRA­TIONS LUCI GU­TIER­REZ

As a hyp­nother­a­pist, I have helped many clients with all sorts of prob­lems, but one is­sue crops up time and time again: un­hap­pi­ness within a re­la­tion­ship. Cou­ples are un­der more pres­sure than ever due to busy lives, high ex­pec­ta­tions, money wor­ries, work­ing long hours and cop­ing with chil­dren. Ev­ery­one re­sponds dif­fer­ently to those stresses, so some­thing that might be im­por­tant to one per­son may not be to their part­ner, which can lead to them not al­ways un­der­stand­ing each other.

Once your part­ner has stopped be­ing your friend and mak­ing time for you, tries to con­trol you or is spend­ing too much time do­ing their own thing, the re­la­tion­ship can slip into a down­ward spi­ral of up­set and blame. This is the point at which clients com­monly say, ‘I can’t bear to be around him’, ‘He drives me mad’ or ‘He is to­tally self­ish’.

A bad re­la­tion­ship can be iso­lat­ing and leave you feel­ing trapped. I help peo­ple to ad­dress the prob­lems that have built up by re­leas­ing each is­sue from the sub­con­scious mind. Many of the sources of our angst are stored in the deeper part of the mind, which makes it al­most im­pos­si­ble for us to let them go, so peo­ple end up ar­gu­ing re­peat­edly about the same is­sues or find­ing it dif­fi­cult to for­give some­one for a past mis­take.

The way we think about things can also be a learned habit. For ex­am­ple, per­haps the rea­son some­one doesn’t pull their weight at home is be­cause they didn’t have to help with house­hold chores when they were grow­ing up. Or, if they often wit­nessed their par­ents putting each other down, they might think it’s nor­mal to crit­i­cise their part­ner.

But it is pos­si­ble to change your be­hav­iour. By ad­dress­ing the is­sues out­lined here, you can shift the dy­nam­ics of your re­la­tion­ship and, as many of my clients re­port, be hap­pier than ever.

1 CEL­E­BRATE EACH OTHER’ S DIF­FER­ENCES

Some peo­ple are more mat­ter-of-fact in their think­ing, some are more emo­tional and some are more cre­ative. If we all thought the same way, it would be im­pos­si­ble to func­tion as a so­ci­ety. The same goes for a re­la­tion­ship: two peo­ple with dif­fer­ent strengths make a bet­ter team. Be in­ter­ested in your part­ner and the peo­ple around you and ap­pre­ci­ate their spe­cial qual­i­ties.

TRY writ­ing a list of the pos­i­tive dif­fer­ences be­tween you, what each of you is good at and what you like do­ing. It will help you to un­der­stand each other bet­ter. Then write a list of the house­hold chores that need to be done and di­vide them equally be­tween you based on which jobs suit you best.

2 CURB YOUR CRIT­I­CISMS

Lots of re­la­tion­ships are spoiled by repet­i­tive neg­a­tive be­hav­iour such as con­stant nag­ging or crit­i­cism. A pat­tern be­gins to form so that as soon as one per­son does or says some­thing, the other re­sponds neg­a­tively. But these in­ter­ac­tions are learned be­hav­iour that can be changed.

TRY say­ing some­thing out of con­text. When nig­gles arise be­tween you or one is try­ing to con­trol the other, say some­thing silly such as, ‘Green star, green star, green star.’ Your part­ner will be so taken aback it will throw them – and it may even make them laugh. ‘Green star’ can be a gen­tle code warn­ing to back off, so they know that the line of what is ac­cept­able has been crossed. But most im­por­tantly, it will change the habits of com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween you.

“TWO PEO­PLE WITH DIF­FER­ENT STRENGTHS MAKE A BET­TER TEAM ”

3 TA P INTO CUD­DLE POWER

Peo­ple are not ma­chines that can be turned on and off. Cou­ples are often dis­tracted by what’s go­ing on around them – by tech­nol­ogy, sport, kids, work, fam­ily or friends. When that hap­pens, it may be that the only time you pay at­ten­tion to one an­other is when one of you wants sex, which is very off-putting. Or maybe you don’t want sex be­cause you are tired or cross with them. Learn to be close with­out ex­pect­ing to have sex. Tell your part­ner, ‘I don’t want sex, I just want a cud­dle.’

T R Y buy­ing each other a spe­cial mug. Choose one that you think your part­ner will love. Gra­ciously ac­cept what­ever mug they buy for you and ev­ery time you use it say to your­self, ‘My hus­band/wife/part­ner loves me’ and it will re­mind you how much you care for each other. Show each other kind­ness and love and you will reap the re­wards.

4 BE A DREAM-MAKER (NOT BREAKER)

En­cour­age your part­ner to ful­fil their dreams and ask them to al­low you to achieve yours, too. For ex­am­ple, if your part­ner wants to have an art stu­dio at home, help them to cre­ate space so they can paint. Or if they want to go on a hik­ing hol­i­day, help them to choose the per­fect ruck­sack. When you both feel free, you will both be happy.

T R Y say­ing en­cour­ag­ing things. Tell your part­ner to, ‘Do what feels right’ and, ‘Give your ideas a go’. When they hear these pos­i­tive mes­sages, and you hear your­self say­ing the words, you will both be­gin to change. Learn to laugh and have fun.

5 DIS­CUSS RATHER THAN AR­GUE

Many ir­ri­ta­tions in re­la­tion­ships are when one per­son thinks the other should be do­ing or see­ing things their way, that they are al­ways right. Try turn­ing ir­ri­tat­ing com­ments into

“LEARN TO BE CLOSE WITH­OUT EX­PECT­ING TO HAVE SEX”

hu­mour – see the sit­u­a­tion as a car­toon so that you can laugh at it. Learn to stand up for your­self by work­ing on the way you ap­proach con­ver­sa­tions. For ex­am­ple, say, ‘We are both right and we are both wrong; we see things dif­fer­ently be­cause we are dif­fer­ent peo­ple.’

T R Y shout­ing at a pho­to­graph of your part­ner so you can get what­ever is an­noy­ing you off your chest be­fore you speak to them in per­son. When you do meet, you will be calmer and more ra­tio­nal and you may feel there is no need for a dis­cus­sion.

6 LEARN TO LIS­TEN

No­body wants to hear a bad ap­praisal of them­selves at work and this also ap­plies at home. Try to fo­cus on your part­ner’s strengths and lis­ten to each other. Make a con­scious ef­fort to be in­ter­ested in what they have to say. Look at your part­ner’s face and en­joy see­ing them ex­press them­selves.

T R Y sched­ul­ing reg­u­lar meet­ings to dis­cuss the way you are run­ning your lives. Start with some com­pli­ments, then make sug­ges­tions to each other about how things could be im­proved. Use words such as ‘per­haps’ and ‘maybe’ so that your part­ner feels that the sug­ges­tions are op­tional, which might make them more open to mak­ing changes. But what­ever hap­pens in the meet­ing should re­main in the meet­ing, rather than al­low­ing the emo­tions to be car­ried with you into your ev­ery­day life.

7 CALL TIME ON THE PUT-DOWNS

You wouldn’t tell your neigh­bour how to cut their grass, so don’t tell your part­ner what to do or how to live their life. Let them and other fam­ily mem­bers be them­selves in your com­pany. Speak to them in the same way that you would speak to a neigh­bour or friend. Re­mem­ber, you don’t own any­one.

T R Y treat­ing your part­ner as you would a flat­mate. Be free in­di­vid­u­als who don’t try to con­trol each other and do your share of the chores. Just think, if you were shar­ing with friends and you didn’t pull your weight they wouldn’t put up with it and would move out or ask you to leave.

8 DITCH THE IDEAL AND LOVE WHAT’ S REAL

Don’t set up your part­ner to fail by hav­ing too -high ex­pec­ta­tions of them and how they should be­have to­wards you. Be re­laxed about presents. If there’s some­thing you want or need, buy it for your­self in­stead of ex­pect­ing some­one else to read your mind. This way you will be happy. If you have been dis­ap­pointed in the past, don’t keep putting your­self in sit­u­a­tions in which oth­ers can dis­ap­point you. If you want a birth­day party, or­gan­ise it your­self: only you know what you re­ally want. Take con­trol of your own hap­pi­ness.

T R Y vi­su­al­is­ing dis­ap­point­ing past events as old pho­to­graphs; file them into al­bums and put them away so that you can move on. You can choose to for­give your part­ner, and your­self, for what­ever has hap­pened in your past. You don’t need ap­proval from any­one but your­self. Then, once you have filed the old pho­to­graphs, vi­su­alise a new al­bum be­ing filled with pic­tures of your fu­ture happy life to­gether.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Ailsa’s hyp­nother­apy ser­vices and hyp­no­sis down­loads, visit ail­safrank.com or call 01276 683123. Her book Cut the Crap and Feel Amaz­ing is pub­lished by Hay House, price £10.99. To or­der a copy for £8.24 (a 25 per cent dis­count) un­til 8 July, visit mail­shop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on or­ders over £15

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