Portrait of happy couple in love posing at studio on gray background dressed in red. Attractive man and woman.

Sex & Relationships

Seeking a Significant Other??


By the time we are grownups most of us know how to go about finding a dentist, a carpet cleaner, a tarot card reader, maybe even a professional hit man (cheaper than a divorce…).
But many of us struggle to find a mate, or even a date.

We typically make one of three common mistakes when starting out on a new relationship:

  • We want to believe that we are in a particular kind of relationship, sometimes against all available evidence to the contrary;
  • We don’t really know what kind of relationship the Object of Our Attention believes they are in and we don’t ask them;
  • We want to immediately replace the person or the relationship that we have just lost ( a trillion dollar insurance industry is built around this concept).

Before you hurtle forward into something new, it is best to look backwards at the results, or the wreckage, of your previous relationship efforts. OK not great, but don’t be discouraged.

What kind of relationship are you looking for this time- and why?

Relationships can be grouped for ease of categorization into a few common categories – but you don’t need to restrict yourself to just one category when all are potentially available.

Possibility 1.

There are many grown-ups who want to get laid but whose life situation doesn’t permit something time consuming, or maybe even public.

As Woody Allen said “Sex without love is a meaningless experience but as meaningless experiences go, it’s pretty dammed good”.

Possibility 2.

A ‘casual relationship’ or a bit of a fling as gran might have said. This is a non-exclusive relationship in which you don’t enmesh your families and close social circles. You’re also not emotionally bound up with each other, just getting dating practice in.

Possibility 3.

A loving relationship, or ‘romance’. This is a longer term pairing with some level of assumed continuity. It is more likely to be exclusive(although not necessarily- you might need to check your ‘s expectations!) and there is a degree of sharing social circles. Feelings are more likely to get hurt if it runs its course and there is breakup.

Possibility 4.

A relationship of mutual convenience. Frankly all relationships are a convenience of some kind or another, but this kind is more admittedly so with endless variations.

Each ‘possibility’works in a different way depending on who’s in the relationship and what they are looking for. While individuals certainly vary considerably in what they are looking for in a date or a mate, it is generally accepted that men’s and women’s preferences are apparently hard-wired and aligned to their gender.

What Do Women Look For in a Relationship?

“I cook. I swallow swords. I mend my own socks. I never eat garlic or onions. What more could you ask of a man?”
Vincent Price in Laura

If you listen in on men’s conversations about women you will eventually hear the long-standing lament, “You never know what they really want!” Too true. It would seem that women are notoriously impossible to please about a host of silly little things. But we’ll let you into a secret. If you get a woman’s Big Wants right, most of her Little Wants evaporate! So, what does a woman really want? Generalizations are sometimes dangerous but most women want:

• A man who can express affection without always steering it onto a pathway to sex. Give a woman plenty of cuddles, kisses and caresses outside the bedroom and she’ll be much more likely to want you, and to initiate sex.
• A man who can make her smile. We don’t suggest that you regale her with “…did you hear the one about…?”. A woman wants a man with a positive, upbeat sense of humor about life.
• A man who is reliable. By ‘reliable’ we don’t necessarily mean ‘predictable’. Reliable means making and keeping commitments, no matter how simple they are. Reliability includes truthfulness. Most women will deal with truth. Deceit and doubt can turn her into a demon. Truthfulness and reliability will earn her respect.
• A man who is romantic, which also means he is a wonderful lover. (Yes, the two are intimately connected in most women’s psyches.) Almost all men underrate a woman’s need for romance. Never underestimate the power of compliments, flowers, candlelit dinners and little acts of attention to really please a woman

What Do Men Look For In A Relationship?

How can we possibly use sex to get what we want? Sex is what we want.
Dr Frasier Crane

If you listen in on women’s conversations about men you will eventually hear the long-standing lament, “All they ever want is one thing!” Too true. The collective experience of so many women can’t be totally wrong on this point. It would seem that men are notoriously easy to please. There’s an old adage shared among mature women, “Men are like floor tiles, lay ’em right and you can walk all over ‘em.” But we’ll let you in on a secret. Men want much more than that, although if you look after his Big Wants, most of his Little Wants are easy to fulfil. So, what does a man really want?

• A woman who desires him. It is important for a man to be with a woman who wants him, regardless of the frequency of their lovemaking. In most men it is such a primal need that if he feels he is not desired, he consciously or unconsciously grieves the loss of that part of himself that defines him as a man.
• A woman who respects him. A man wants a woman to admire him for his better qualities, and accept his lesser qualities without constant carping. He knows how to earn the respect of his boss, his friends, and his community. He craves the respect of his woman, too, and he often has no idea how to get it. (Perhaps women should take a leaf out of the handbook of hostage negotiators – always treat your man with respect and he will live up to his better side.)
• A woman who is a nurturer: attentive, perceptive and supportive. Even strong men sometimes need gentle caring – but not in a mother-mimicking kind of way. Many women (especially women with children) don’t know how to give their man TLC without treating him like a child.
• A woman who takes care of her appearance. Yes, he really will love you just the way nature made you (fat, thin, tall, short, double chin, crow’s feet and all) but he does want a woman who makes an effort with her appearance. Reason? He wants other men to notice you when you’re out together and envy him.

Mature men have learned (often the hard way) that they really can’t have a permanent sex siren, gourmet cook, devoted helpmate and adoring handmaiden all in one woman. Not even in four women. Sensible men know that if they want someone to watch the game with, someone to sit in a bar in comfortable silence, someone who doesn’t care they haven’t showered and have a two-day growth, then they’ll get that from their men friends. A grown-up man will be happy to be with a woman who meets his basic needs. Most grown-up men know that the secret to a happy relationship is give and take. In his youth, the more a woman gave the more he took. In maturity, the more she openly appreciates what he gives her, the more he will give in return.

Having given consideration to what you want, as a relationship right now, AND in a relationship for now and potentially the future, you are better prepared to get your needs met. Isn’t this what most of us want with a Significant Other??


For a free phone consultation

please phone Christina on 0435 438 899

Recession grips

Relationship Therapy and Recession

“Couples who are worst affected by a recession are eight times as likely to suffer relationship breakdown”

states a UK survey “Relationships, Recession and Recovery”.

Relationship Therapists say Australia is the same.

Data  from over 40,000  respondents was grouped according to the experiences of recession: job loss, optimism for the future, perception of current and future financial situation, working overtime, satisfaction with employment and being behind with bills. Then they assessed how couple relationships fared in each group.

The findings highlighted that couples who suffered negative impacts due to the recession demonstrated greater deterioration in their relationship stability. Also couples who remained in relationships had relatively poor quality relationships.

People can feel they have very little control over what will happen to them in financially difficult times; less money, job insecurity, fear of home repossession, having to cut back and having to make some tough decisions.

Insecurity causes stress – often when stressed or feeling frightened we dump this stress on those who are nearest and dearest to us. People feel stuck and frustrated and this can lead to not sleeping, drinking too much and turning away from family and friends.

Therapists believe there is there worse to come?

The concern is that the full extent of relationship tensions may be yet to materialise. The high costs of separation may preclude some couples seeking separation or divorce until their financial situation improves.

Possible warning signs.

Dealing with changes together is paramount to any successful relationship AND it is normal to feel confused and threatened especially when every change appears negative. Questions like, is our relationship strong enough, will we stay together if one of us becomes unemployed? As a couple are we willing to take on new roles?

Underneath the practical money worries are feelings about control, power and independence. Many couples will have been used to keeping at least some of their money separate. But now one of you might be at risk of losing your job. Your partner will either say something like “Well I can’t support you. You need to get some money or else” or “Well actually, I’ve got enough money. I’ll look after you for a while”. Regardless of gender, some people feel uncomfortable with relying financially on the other.

Unemployment and redundancy doesn’t just affect couples through loss of income; but for the unemployed partner there can be a loss of confidence, a feeling of worthlessness, loneliness and depression.

Research shows men are more negatively affected by losing their job than women. This may be because men often earn more so the loss of income may be more severe; but they may also get a greater sense of worth through their job and therefore feel more stigma if they are not able to provide for their family. Frustration can, at worst lead to domestic violence.

Potential impact on children

Parents often incorrectly think that their children aren’t aware of what is going on however, when relationships are strained,children can pick up on the atmosphere even if they don’t fully understand the issues that are causing it.

When parents are particularly stressed they may become preoccupied and harsher or less involved with their children. Sometimes one parent’s style will have changed and the other parent becomes more protective of the children. This often starts rows about parenting that can lead the children to think they are in some way to blame. It is these arguments that are mostly like to upset children.

As parents we always want to give our children what they want and children know this and often use it to pester us! But in more strained times children’s nagging can become a more difficult issue. Couples may struggle with their feelings around this – one of you may feel guilty that you are not able to afford things children want or you may disagree about what the children ‘need’. So arguments about when limited cash should be spent become a regular feature of day to day life. Many couples are prepared to sacrifice certain things for themselves but find it much harder when it comes to saying no to children.

Getting Help with Relationship Therapy

If you are aware of some of the warning signs don’t be afraid to seek help with your relationship.  Sometimes people worry that going to a counsellor means they are in big trouble or that it’s ‘all over red rover’. In fact, if you go early enough, the opposite is frequently true!

If you find that conflict is difficult to resolve on your own, go and get some help while the issue is still small. Many, many couples enjoy an improvement in their relationships with the boost of a little outside help.

Relationship counselling doesn’t have to be disaster management and can in fact be more useful when it’s used for foundation strengthening. A relationship counsellor can assist you in ways to be more flexible and self-reflective, be better able to look at things from your partners’ point of view and to reconsider your own actions and behaviour, which can lead to the subtle shifts in attitude that lead to resolving problems.


For a free 10 minute  conversation

phone Christina on 0435 438 899