Need some help finding relationship advice? With so many resources available, one can easily gain perspective on a relationship from books, magazines, websites, and of course other people.
Start at the Source
When you have a problem in your relationship, often the best person to discuss it with is your partner. Many problems can be sorted out with a heart-to-heart talk. Then again, sometimes the partner is the problem, or the advice you need is about something you're not ready to share.
Don't Ask Just Anyone
When you're having problems in a relationship, you may find that it's the only thing you want to talk about. Be selective about who you ask for advice. People tend to give advice according to their own values and expectations, which may be different from yours.If you're looking for relationship advice, consider asking:
- Someone who knows you well. A close friend will have a good idea of your wants and needs. Plus. he or she will know how you react to difficult situations.
- Someone who's already in a good relationship. Think about your friends and family. Is there a couple who have a really great marriage? Whose relationship do you admire? Maybe they'll be willing to share their secrets.
- Someone who's been in a situation like yours. They might be able to help you understand your partner's behavior or get clearer about your own thoughts.
- Someone who has your best interests at heart. If your best friend is jealous because you have a boyfriend and she doesn't, she might have a hard time giving you advice on how to keep him. If your mother is bugging you for grandchildren, she might not be the one to ask about breaking off your engagement.
- Someone who knows both of you. If you have a trusted friend who knows you both well, that person might be able to give some insight. Just remember that this person might feel an obligation to your partner, as well. Don't put them in the middle.
Finding Relationship Advice at the Bookstore
The trouble with recommending relationship books is that everyone has different values and different expectations. A good way to go about finding relationship advice at the bookstore is to browse through the books in the relationship section. Look for an author whose work resonates with you. Think about the kind of relationship you want and look for books that address your goals.
There are writers who specialize in almost every kind of relationship issue, including:
- How to please your partner, both sexually and emotionally
- How to communicate better
- How to revive a relationship that's become unfulfilling
- How to escape from abuse
- How to deal with an alcoholic or drug-abusing partner
On the Internet
There are hundreds of websites for finding relationship advice. Some have forums where people can post their own questions and reply to others'. Two of the big ones are:
- eNotAlone: eNotAlone has forums on dating and relationships, and on many other topics as well.
- Mars and Venus: This is the official site of John Gray, PhD, author of the Mars and Venus relationship books. It has a message board where readers share experiences and advice. Users tend to be fans of the books.
If you're a fan of Dr. Phil McGraw of TV's Dr. Phil Show, check out his website at DrPhil.com. He writes about relationship issues and also hosts a user forum.
There are many people offering relationship advice, for a fee. Before you sign on with one, find out:
- Credentials: What makes this person a relationship expert? If you're seeking couples therapy or relationship therapy, look for someone who is a licensed therapist, psychologist, or social worker.
- Values: Do their values match yours? Do you share the same idea of what makes a good relationship?
- Experience level: Is this a start-up company? How many people have they helped?
- Length of service: Remember, the goal should be to help you create a relationship that stands on its own.
Be Cautios of Some Advice
It's almost always advisable to seek out relationship help or counseling when you are feeling overwhelmed. However, you want to ensure that your listeners and advisors are chosen carefully and that your relationship issues will not become fodder for gossip. Even friends or family members can sometimes become all too eager to help, perhaps belaboring issues that should be moving towards closure. Watch carefully to ensure that your relationship is strengthening, not suffering further, from any counseling or advice you receive. Moreover, be cautious when discussing a relationship with those who are close to you. There may come a time when you are ready to heal your relationship and forgive your partner, but it can be harder for the people who love you to forgive as easily.