How One Person Can Improve a Relationship

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About Dr. Carol B. Low

Dr. Carol B. Low is a licensed clinical psychologist in Illinois. Her practice, the Center for Conscious Living offers holistic psychotherapy in a humanistic setting. Heal the mind to heal the body. She is trained in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Clinical Hypnosis, and Sensorimotor Trauma Therapy. You can follow Dr. Low on Twitter @DrCarolLow and on Facebook at the Center for Conscious Living.


  1. Dr. Low Thanks, great advice. Even on the workplace, I try to encourage management to use the 5:1 ratio of praise, to correction. It helps employees stay more positive and energized. And who couldn’t use a little more praise and gratitude in their lives?
    Especially in loving relationships, if I consider my partner as my other-half, communication becomes cooperative. Over the years I’ve found love, praise, gratitude are things we give to another but so is criticism and contempt…so why be stingy with the positive stuff? If we put good stuff in a person, good stuff comes out.

  2. Hmmm, notice a woman corroborates she’s positive towards her partner. Assuming this partner is a man (which may not be the case), unless the man starts reciprocating this positivism back to his female partner quickly, (which often does not happen, and nurturing females fill the vacuum even more), what happens in the long run is that the positive female is in the mother role, and the male recipient is in the son role.

    Eventually, the female’s sexual attraction ebbs away, for who can maintain the hot hornies for her de facto, son? No one. (Or very few.)

    Adding salt the wound: The male then blames his female partner’s waning libido towards him on her. She self blames too, not understanding the underlying dynamic, since it’s come on so gradually. (And, nurturing, proactive, and strong females often quickly self blame – try harder, and you will succeed has worked well for her in life.)

    Relationship is now on its death march, and male still has not grown up and out of his entitled son role (due to ignorance about its roots).

    As more and more learn this dynamic and its causing an inevitable failure in a male/female relationship, more and more will learn the importance of (on net) reciprocation, early and throughout a relationship, in order to maintain the most robust sex life within it.

  3. Danna, Good point. I understand communication not a one-way street and can lead to death of a relationship if it becomes a perpetual one-way street or mothering, but I think the author is suggesting the proactive approach to invigorate lackluster communication. Mothering or pity is a subtle form of contempt, especially for a man. Yeah, that would kill my libido too. Ick. One person can make tremendous difference in another’s life when it’s done with respect for the other’s well-being.

    • well said, Joan. Much can be done to improve a relationship with some good communication skills. The article is not really about why it “broke”–that is a larger topic. These skills drive us to reclaim respect for our partner and follow the golden rule of treating others as we wish to be treated, a thing we can forget when we are hurting.

  4. Also remember that communication is a lot more than just a constant stream of words to fill a perceived void of silence.
    If your partner is the “silent type”, then you might benefit from actually taking the time (at least occassionally…) to let him/her contemplate what’s on their mind instead of deliberately making the communication a one-way street.

    • FlyingKal–Absolutely! Mindless talking or deliberate one-way communication can be, quite frankly, irritating to most people. Shh. I didn’t say that.
      It depends on the individual but in my experience, men become more verbal, only after trust and respect is built.
      But women can improve communication with men, by becoming better readers of a man’s non-verbal language. Recent studies suggest that women tend to rate higher on non-verbal empathizing, while men rate higher on non-verbal expression.

      FlyingKal, are you the silent type? I know I am, I have to force myself speak.

      • FlyingKal says:

        Joan, yes, mostly I’m kind of a silent type. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like to talk to people. It’s just that I don’t see the point in “shooting the sh!t” just for the love of the sound of my own voice.

        OTOH, I consider myself a pretty good listener. But rehashing the same complaints about your job and your coworkers every single day do get old, eeventaully…
        And also, I was brought up the way that it is not polite to interrupt someone speaking. So if you want me to speak my mind, you have to be able to shut up long enough to let me get a word in edgewise…

  5. FlyingKal, Listening is the best communication skill one person can have. That’s usually the part that’s missing in most relationships. I think being quiet, respectful, and a good listener puts you at the advantage in most situations. Even in some leadership training, they say listening is one hardest skills to teach.

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