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How Do I Encourage My Partner To Get Support?

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Relationships are a great place to source support, but having support from others is critical, especially when big stresses come into play. How do you help your partner reach out without feeling judged? With Cathy Vartuli from http://www.TheInitmacyDojo.com and Reid Mihalko from http://www.ReidAboutSex.com/

Reid: A writer, a commenter, wrote in, don’t do that.  I’m Reid Mihalko from http://ReidAboutSex.com.

Cathy: I’m Cathy Vartuli from http://TheIntimacyDojo.com.

Reid: We had somebody who wrote a really sweet question about, in response to our video, “Isn’t dependency in a relationship bad?  How do you avoid it?”  In response to that video, somebody asked, and I’ll paraphrase.  They’re in a relationship with somebody who suffers from depression.  The person who wrote in also has their own struggle with depression, so they wanted to know, “How can I encourage my partner to source,” my word, “source their own support, so that I can cheer them on, and also work on my own situation.”  I’m shortening a comment that was very sweet and very detailed.  Thank you for that person who left the comment, and thank you for everybody else who keeps leaving comments, so that we have other things to talk about.

Cathy: Yeah.  Just so you know, when we … The traditional understanding is, if one person writes about it, a thousand people, or more, are wondering about it, so when you write in and share things with us, we get to answer directly and touch a lot of lives.  We really appreciate it.

Reid: Thank you for that. Advice, and I will, in these situations, always pull the therapy card.  My first question, when people come to me for coaching, is I’m like, “Do you have a therapist?  What does your support network look like?”  In relationships where people unconsciously or consciously or just from their environment and the resources that are there, end up kind of huddling together for support.  What you want to start to do is source and create resources, so that you both can get help and support, without having to only be getting it from each other.  That kind of diversity is just really helpful.  I realize that people can be in situations where they can’t afford therapy, and whatnot.

Cathy: There are things like group therapy, or some meetings can be really helpful.

Reid: Yeah.  If you’re suffering from depression, there can be meetings for that.  For people who struggle with co-dependency, there’s … It’s not Al-Anon, it’s …

Cathy: Coda.

Reid: Yeah, Coda.  There are resources that you may have at your disposal that you just don’t know about.  Again, watching videos like this could point you in the right directions for these things.

Cathy: Sometimes, role modeling, getting your own support network, and getting out and help your partner see how much better you feel, could help that, as well.  You could be making sure that your needs are met really well, and encourage them to do their own, or if you find a group that you really love and you’re wanting to share, invite them along.

Reid: It’s not that it’s wrong for you guys to have needs, and it’s not that it’s wrong for you guys to help each other with those needs, but if the only way you’re getting your needs met is from one source, and that’s a source that you’re in an intimate relationship with?  Really tricky and usually skewing unhealthy.  In this situation, the person’s very self-aware, is like, “Well, I’m working on my own stuff, and then my partner’s having their struggles, how do I cheer them on?”

Cathy: It also, when you’re relying just on each other, it can actually increase the sense of depression, because depression often stems from a feeling of disempowerment, of not being effective in the world, and not being able to take really good care of yourself.  When you’re just relying on each other, there’s a sense of insecurity.  When you have a group, and people that you can rely on, it tends to ease that, like, “OK, I am actually supported.  I can actually take pretty good care of myself.  Can actually allow the depression to leave.

Reid: For me, as somebody who doesn’t struggle with, or has that challenge, of having to deal with depression, personally, I also feel like I’m at a loss in certain ways, to give you advice.  Part of my advice, is that you may want to go to people who are actually experts in these fields, for advice that they are experts on.  I’m enough of an expert to know, I should send you to other experts, and I want to acknowledge you for caring about your partner, and also caring about your own health and well-being, and trying to figure out and create a win win for both of you, because that’s awesome.

Cathy: Great job, and good luck with this.

Reid: Leave your comments below.  All of you, keep sending those questions and comments into us. We love them.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: Bye.

 

More articles on improving your communication and relationship skills:

Getting Your Partner to Grow Up

How Do You Recover From A Critical Partner?

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