25 counsellor-approved questions to build emotional intimacy in your relationship

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Over time, people – and relationships – change. But what happens when, little by little, it feels like you’ve lost your sense of togetherness? Try these questions to encourage emotional intimacy and break the bedroom silence

25 counsellor-approved questions to build emotional intimacy in your relationship

How do you know when you’re no longer in love with your spouse? It seems like something you should just know, doesn’t it? But… what if it isn’t? What if, slowly, over time, you find yourself losing little bits of the bond that created your togetherness?

For some couples, there is no big fallout. You may not be able to pinpoint when it happened, but over the weeks, months, or even years, you may have reached a state of ‘silent divorce’.

What is a silent divorce?

The phrase ‘silent divorce’ refers to a relationship where you are still together, but have drifted apart. There may be no obvious conflict, but there’s also nothing else clearly happening in your relationship: no passion, no excitement, no overly strong feelings towards your partner either way. For some couples, this can make the breakdown in your relationship feel that much more frustrating, as there’s no clear issue to tackle or big change to be made.

To find out more about the importance of communication and emotional intimacy in our relationships, we turned to integrative counsellor and psychotherapist Julie Howard.

“Relationships don’t just happen, they take effort in maintaining them. It’s all too easy to just settle into a routine, it can evolve without either person becoming aware,” Julie says. “I feel relationships rarely break down for no reason. Usually, there are warning signs, it just depends whether we recognise them. Sometimes, we put off facing up to unsettling feelings through fear of the unknown. However, on occasion, a person is completely blindsided by the sudden announcement that their loved one isn’t happy anymore.”

What are the warning signs?

Being able to enjoy comfortable silence can signify intimacy and connection. But when the silence comes from a lack of things to say, or lasts for a long period, it can be a sign that you are growing apart – you exist in the same space, but are not sharing the same ‘togetherness’ in a meaningful way.

Julie explains that there can be many early warning signs that something may be wrong in your relationship – you just need to know what to watch for. “Some things to look out for could be small, intimate gestures that were once normal are now becoming infrequent, such as kissing and cuddling, or holding hands while out. Little communication at mealtimes, or even silence. More time spent on devices – it’s easy to zone out on social media – or choosing to spend more time away from the home.”

One big warning sign that many of us can overlook, Julie shares, is a feeling of something being wrong. “Sometimes we can just ‘feel’ that something is wrong in a relationship. Often that uneasy feeling can be brushed off during a busy day, but can be more prevalent at bedtime when you don’t have any distractions.ȁ

Friday Faves

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Hi friends! Happy weekend! What do you have going on? We have an event for the girls’ school and I’m looking forward to teaching barre and hopefully catching a hike. The weather has been a dream this week! I’d love to hear what you’re up to. I also wanted to add a little note that I’m praying for safety for my friends in Hurricane Ian’s path. <3

It’s time for the weekly Friday Faves party! This is where I share some favorite finds from the week and around the web. I always love to hear about your faves, too, so please shout out something you’re loving in the comments section below.

A random note: I ended up canceling our fall break trip to NYC. We have a lot of reasons for deciding to postpone the trip, but decided we’d rather do a Disney cruise in the new year instead. When I told the kids, they were SO pumped, so I know we made the right choice! I’m also kind of glad that fall break will be more low-key, especially since we’re heading into the Pilot’s birthday, P’s birthday, Halloween, my birthday and a wedding, Thanksgiving through the New Year into Liv’s birthday. It’s all fun stuff – my fave time of year- but it can definitely be a lot. Do you have any upcoming trips planned?

Pic from our last cruise!

Friday Faves

Read, watch, listen:

I loved reading about these happy moments.

Five meditation retreat practices to try at home.

Don’t forget to listen to this week’s podcast episode about why diets don’t work.

If you’re looking to start a daily journal practice, check out this 5-minute journal. I’m ordering one to use in 2023.

Fitness + good eats:

Thai peanut chicken thighs.

Apple cider donut loaf CAKE?! I’m in.

Full fall fitness plan here!

Family dinner at Calle Tepa is always a winner. I feel like it’s one of the most underrated Mexican spots in Tucson; it’s been a go-to for years.

Fashion + beauty:

If you’ve been wanting to take advantage of the 30% off for new Beautycounter clients, it ends tonight! The discount will go back down to 20% on the 1st. Click he

A third of Brits ignore health problems so as ‘not cause a fuss’

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Adults across the UK are missing out on vital care for fear of making an unnecessary fuss

A third of Brits ignore health problems so as ‘not cause a fuss’

A survey of 2,000 UK adults, conducted by Benenden Health, has uncovered that 32% of Brits ignore health symptoms, with just 35% reporting that they regularly monitor their health.

So why is that? Well, the survey found that, among those who ignored symptoms, the most common reasons they gave for doing so were ‘being unable to get a healthcare appointment’, ‘thinking others required the medical attention more’, ‘not wanting to cause a fuss’, ‘believing that the NHS is too overstretched and wouldn’t have time to see them’, and ‘because they were too scared to find out what the issue was’.

Though worrying, it’s easy to see how we’ve got to this point. With the news stocked with stories of overflowing waiting lists, burnt out healthcare workers, and NHS services cuts, thinking twice before reaching out for help is becoming the new normal. But at what cost?

In the survey, results found that only a quarter of the population monitors their blood pressure, one in 10 check their cholesterol, and 7% perform regular checks for cancer. Additionally, 8% said that they do not check or monitor their health, because they don’t know how to. All this together results in potentially serious medical conditions being missed.

In a bid to tackle the problem, Benenden Health and Channel 4 have launched the ‘Time for a check in’ campaign, to encourage people to tune in to their health, and learn about when and why it’s important to reach out for help.

“I know first-hand how when things get busy, our health can be the first thing to take a backseat. I’ve definitely been guilty of taking my physical and mental health for granted at times and have only realised this at times when my body hasn’t worked in the way I’ve wanted it to,” says AJ Odudu, presenter and face of the campaign.

“I believe that good health is of core importance to our happiness and that’s why it’s so important to make sure we’re checking in and looking after ourselves. If you’ve noticed some changes and something doesn’t look or feel right, talk to someone, see a professional and put your health first: it’s no fuss at all.”

Benenden Health has created an online hub, where you can find information and guides, but there are many ways that you can stay on top of your health.

You can sign up for free text or email reminders to check your breasts by signing up on coppafeel.org, you can also try running through a mental health check-in, or visit the NHS website for information on an A-Z on health conditions and symptoms. Plus, a key way of staying on top of things to have a good understanding of the things to watch out for, such as regular chest pain, sudden weight loss, a change in bowel habits, and a change to an existing mole.

“There is nothing to be embarrassed about when

Summer Berries Baked Oatmeal

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Baked oatmeal, loaded with summer berries and lightly sweetened with brown sugar is a great way to start the day. 

oatmeal baked with fresh berries

Baked Berries with Oatmeal

A few days ago, I was having a conversation recently with our followers on our Facebook page about fall flavors and it turned into a discussion about why we associate certain seasons with certain flavors and foods.

It has only been in recent years that things like fresh strawberries and blueberries are in grocery stores year around. While I do love making and enjoying things in season when I get a craving for dishes with fresh berries it is so nice to be able to find them regardless of time and year and location.

That being said berries are a mainstay in my refrigerator. The other day I had a few things that needed to be used up and baked oatmeal is the perfect way to make sure those berries didn’t go to waste.

This oatmeal recipe isn’t overly sweet and it allows the bright flavors of the berries to shine through.

Baked oatmeal is one of those breakfast dishes I don’t like to oversweeten before making. It is easy to take the sweetness up a notch by topping it with honey or maple syrup when you serve it – if the finished oatmeal needs to be sweetened at all.

Oatmeal is one of my children’s favorite breakfasts and we’ve gathered a huge collection of great oatmeal recipes over the past few years.

My youngest son loves oatmeal so much, there was a phase where he attempted to order it at almost every restaurant we visited.

There was nothing quite like watching the waiter’s face when he requested, “A big bowl of oatmeal, please,” while we are dining at a Mexican restaurant. Luckily, he loves chips and salsa almost as much, so it was easy to distract him.

baked oatmeal with berries and whipped creamRead more

8 low-cost things to do with friends

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Laughing with our friends is one of the best things we can do for our mental health, but how do you navigate spending quality time with them in the current economic crisis? We share eight low-cost and free things you can do together

8 low-cost things to do with friends

The current economic climate has seen many of us take to money-saving hacks and low-cost spending as we try and negotiate the colder months. During this period of uncertainty, it is important that we continue to support our mental health. One of the best ways we can do this is by socialising.

Laughing with our closest friends releases feel-good endorphins, which is just what we’re all in need of right now. So, how do we balance meeting up with friends whilst still setting boundaries for our spending? The good news is that there are many free and low-cost things you can do whilst still enjoying some quality time with your pals.

A dinner party

Rather than going out for a meal, why not try hosting a dinner party instead? Ask each of your friends to bring a plate of food, whether that’s something cooked or just some nibbles. If you don’t fancy trying your hand at cooking a meal, you could try cooking together, with each of you bringing an ingredient.

A movie night

This is guaranteed to be a night of giggles. With October just around the corner, you could get together for a series of Halloween films complete with snacks and cosy drinks. If you’re struggling for some inspiration, here’s our top Halloween movie recommendations for a spooky night in:

  • Halloween (1978 / 2018)
  • Hocus Pocus (1993)
  • The Shining (1980)
  • IT (2017)
  • Ghostbusters (1984)

A spa day

Rather than paying for a day out at the spa, why not bring the spa to you? You could get your friends to bring lotions, foot scrubs, face masks, and anything else that may make you feel pampered. Complete the day with some snacks and fizz and enjoy a relaxing time full of laughs.

Do some outdoor activities together

Whether that’s getting together for a game of football, going out for a walk or just spending time in nature with a picnic, getting outside with your friends is a great way to reap the benefits of both socialising and the outdoors. Getting fresh air and taking a moment of mindfulness to embrace the beauty of nature will do wonders for your mental wellbeing.

Volunteer together

Giving back to the community is a great way to boost your feel-good hormones, drive positive change and build social connections. Even better, get your friends involved and make a day of it, or schedule time to make it a regular occurrence. Try and decide on a common interest and something you’d all like to do together. If you can’t commit to volunteering regularly, you could go to a local organisation or food bank and ask if they need any one-off help.

Visit a local town

Another great low-cost activity to do with your friends is to get up a map and pick a local town that you’ve not visited before. Perhaps there’s a historic monument you could visit or you can do some window-shopping and stop for a coffee. By chipping in on fuel and spending the day taking in the sights of your local surroundings, you can have a great day out without spending too much money.

Bake together

For keen bakers, you could get together and each bring