Holding Hope Services

Julie Fanning LCSW



I take it all back (but not really) – Use text to argue!

Texting - It's no way to argue.I take it all back (Well – not really)

So I wrote this blog once about not arguing through text.  Still believe what I wrote in that post.  Texting,  instead of talking can lead to misunderstanding and more hurt feelings and even destroy some chance at rebuilding and positive reciprocity.

Is there a time use of text or emails could be helpful?  It turns out that different things work for different couples. Can you think of a time texting or emailing can be helpful?

One time I can see it being helpful is if when a couple is trying to resolve conflict, the emotions of the moment overwhelm a sense of good judgment.  Let’s say that you are disagreeing with your partner and instead of being able to talk about the issue you are just seething.  You are thinking (and saying) “F…You.” Or “I hate you.” Or “You never consider me and I don’t want to be with you anymore.”  As you’re saying these things you know you don’t mean them (well in the moment you do but you know later – when the moment is over you won’t.)  Maybe this would be a time to take a step back.  Some couples will say they separate and then will text what the immediate issue is and try to work some tentative agreement out so the argument doesn’t turn into hours or days of recrimination and there are lots of hard feelings or the original conflict is not solved, just shelved until another day to flare up an argument again.  Several couples have indicated that this works for them to calm down enough to hear the other person and they are then able to talk it out without further damaging their relationship.  I can see that.  It can take away some of the strong emotion of the moment to something manageable.

Other people have told me email has worked for them.  It is easier to write down their words and thoughts and think their responses through rather than going with whatever blurts out of their mouth.  Maybe it gives the recipient time to actually read and digest the information without just pretending to listen while spending the whole time planning their response.

Another use of email may be to figure out the day to day maintenance issues of a family.  It has been indicating that emailing everyday questions and concerns saves time and frustration.  You don’t need a half hour discussion about what day your partner is available to go to the doctor or which electrician to call. Write out the choices and make a decision.  I can see why email communication works in some relationships.

Communication seems to be one of the most common struggles in a relationship.  Figure out what works for you.  In this age of technology if electronic communication works for you in some situations – use it.  Just keep in mind the limitations of not seeing someone’s expressions or hearing their tone.

Don’t forget to use in person communication too.  Face to face connection is one of the perks – not one of the drawbacks – of a relationship.


Tips for Men – Coping with the break-up

I created a short ezine article – Tips for Men Coping with the Break-up. 
See what you think!—After-the-Breakup&id=6668947

Random Thoughts on Money

This article talks about using humor in the “money discussion” with your significant other.  I thought I’d share because a major source of conflict between couples is often money issues.  It seems like in “the big picture” the couple wants the same things.  People mention stability, security, providing for their children, having a little extra for some fun.  It is in the details that problems occur.
Ignoring financial issues won’t make them go away.  Leaving all the decision making to a partner often leads to resentment by the spouse taking care of everything.  Talk about  your finances.  If you have a partner who manages all the money in the relationship, take time to acknowledge it.  Maybe the number one way to decrease the resentment is to put aside some time to talk about money.  Most people I know who are the main money manager in the partnership say things like “If he would just sit with me a few minutes each week so I wouldn’t feel like it was all on me.”  Or “I wish she’d show some interest in what I am doing with the money.”    Even if you would do just about anything  avoid talking about your finances try spending just a bit of time each week or month and you might be surprised in decreased conflict or improved satisfaction.  This is not a time to be judgmental or angry but to honestly appraise where the current family situation stands and what may be coming up.
Whether single or in a relationship, thinking about your money each day might be helpful.  My mom used to say to me all the time “If you would just spend a few minutes each day working on your money you would have a handle on your finances and be successful.”  I’ve shared that advice with many people.  I have been told by several people that they work on their money a few minutes each day, just like my mom said, and there was a noticeable difference in their financial savvy.  I’m still working on coming close to reaching this worthwhile goal but I will keep trying.
The End

Texting – It’s no way to argue.

I like to text.  I finally added unlimited texting to my plans because of high usage. Some communication is perfect for texting.  Yes/No questions, a quick check in, a request or a “thinking about you” all seem appropriate to me.
There is some communication that is not served well by text. 
In depth conversations and solving problems are not generally conducive to text messaging.   I have found in my personal and professional life that many people seem to have complicated conversations over text and then are surprised when there are misunderstandings.  I’m not even talking about teens and early adults who are probably much more adapt at text communication than folks a bit older.  I’m talking about adults in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.  I’ve seen entire relationships which seem to dissolve over rapidly exchanged texts.
If communication is something like 90% non-verbal then why would I think that you are going to get the nuances I am conveying via text?  I’m talking not just gestures and facial expressions but tone and variations of our voice.  How many times have I heard someone ask “what do you think they meant by that text?”  Well I just don’t know.  They put LOL but it seems kind of mean.  There are so very many ways a text can be misinterpreted.  
People seem braver with texting.  If you are texting something you would never say to the person face to face – reconsider texting it.  There is a reason you wouldn’t be willing to look into someone else’s eyes and the say the same thing.  
Texting the tough stuff allows you to distance yourself from the uncomfortable emotions.   To get to the other side – to process a situation – you might have to feel the yucky emotions.  A text may not get across the emotions you are trying to share.  It is difficult to validate another person in text and continue a conversation.  We’ve all gotten the texts that are so long they go on for 4 or 5 texts.  Your phone keeps pinging as you try to keep up with the message.   Then if you happen to add autocorrect to the mix who knows what you are saying.   Autocorrect once changed the word I was typing “iffy” to “orgy” which was not what I was trying to say.  There is no wonder on why texts can be misunderstood.
There are just so many variables with text and in some ways it is allowing yourself to have an excuse not to step up, deal with emotion and connect.  Being open and vulnerable is hard – but can be so very worth it.
Next time you are tempted to text – ask yourself if it is really the right way to be communicating this issue.   If not – try talking face to face (if it is technology you are looking for talk via skype.)  You may be surprised how well it works!

Gay Marriage

It is difficult for me to watch couples like this and understand why some individuals are so afraid of legal Gay Marriage.

61 years together and would still like to get married

Meet Your Mate Week!

June 19-25th is  Meet your Mate Week so I say “have at it!”.  Go out, meet people, and have fun if you are looking for a mate.
Of course if you really click with someone and have a whirlwind romance you can celebrate June 27th which is Decide to be Married Day with your very own engagement announcement (but I really wouldn’t recommend it!)


This post keeps showing up on my “to be posted” posts but I swear I posted it previously.  I can’t find it though so why not share?

You feel like it will never be OK again.  You wonder what you could have done different.  You aren’t sure where the other person is coming from.  It has been deteriorating for awhile or you were blindsided.  You will get through this.  Be angry, be sad, be relieved – whatever you need to be.

This link has some ideas how to pull yourself out of the break-up depression.

Since we were talking about sex…

 Who says “I love you” first and why?

Saying I Love You

Sex – Talk About It!

Sex – It is ok to talk about it.  I’m just saying.
During a conversation with young women the topic moved toward talking with a partner about sex BEFORE being intimate.  The statements were “how do you do that?” Or “I don’t want him to think I want to have sex with him.” Or “I don’t want him to feel bad.” Or “I don’t want him to feel like he has to tell me stuff.” 
In this conversation we weren’t talking about hook-ups or casual sex – we were talking about relationships.  We were talking about being intimate with individuals that there was hope for a future with and an ongoing relationship.   We discussed about bring up condom use and expectations about the sexual aspect of their relationship.  No one seemed comfortable with the idea of the discussion.
I thought – “well they’re younger, as they gain maturity and experience they will better be able to do that. “
Then I mentioned this to some colleagues more around my age – a little older.  I got the exact same response.  I was really surprised.  Granted several were married and probably hadn’t been in the situation of starting a new relationship with someone in awhile but no one even seemed to even think it was important.  Their statements were “Just see what happens.” Or “Everyone knows what is going on.”
Really?  Here’s the thing.  I think I could find 10 people and ask them about their values and beliefs about sex.  I could ask about their experiences and what they thought was OK and what isn’t.  I would get 10 extremely varied answers.  I think we are surprised when a partner isn’t on the same page as us.  We assume their experience and values match ours.  The thing is there is no reason to assume is exactly like us – in fact they probably do have differing beliefs. 
Talk about Sex.  It is ok.
In high school there was a teacher that talked about sex constantly.  It was in the guise of life planning.  My friends and I had the inner mantra “please don’t talk about sex today, please don’t talk about sex today.”   True Story.
However, I did take one piece of information from that class.  One day when we came in this was written on the board.
“If you can’t talk about in the light of day then you shouldn’t do it in the dark of night.”
That’s good advice.

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