PRACTICAL RELATIONSHIP ADVICE IN 2022

In these blogs, articles, & essays you will find practical relationship advice and insights on a wide range of relational challenges.

I write about my current & evolving thinking on different aspects of relationships and how they are changing, as well as sharing practical tools and tips that you can immediately implement.

Online Couples Therapy on the Couch

Does Online Couples Therapy Work? The Pros & Cons of Online Therapy

Post-panny, many of us still use Zoom for work or to connect socially, and most of us have a pretty good handle on it. But does online couples therapy work? I mean, as always the answer is both yes and no. Like every service, couples therapists range from amazing life-changers to horrendous hacks and bad actors. And again, like every service, taking that into an online space can have both benefits and challenges.
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retro roles in relationships

Defining Roles in Relationships: Escaping Relational Fuckery

Roles in relationships are rarely explicitly defined- most couples fall into roles that draw from the best & worst of their family histories. Those roles aren't reviewed strategically, and are only discussed when frustration or resentment trigger an argument (or ongoing conflict). In couples therapy all of the couples I work with have challenges directly created by poorly defined or disputed roles.
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That banana is attracted to someone else

Help! I’m Attracted to Someone Else: How to Handle Sexual Chemistry When You’re In a Relationship

There are few things as exciting as the spark of sexual chemistry; That rush of heat, the butterflies, the tingling in your loins... The raw magnetism is a heady rush- you feel vital, desirable, like you've truly been SEEN. That feeling is empowering. Your response can be devastating. So what do you do when you're in a relationship and find yourself sexually attracted to someone else?
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Protected: Systems Leverage Points – Domestic Logistics

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
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Couples Therapy Newcastle: A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing a Therapist

A Google search for "Couples Therapy Newcastle" generates loads of options, so how do you decide? This piece is equal parts cynical piece for search engine optimisation, and genuine guide to choosing a therapist. Like, within capitalism my website needs to rank well, AND folks actually want help making this decision. I think if I can bring enough transparency & honesty to what I'm writing, we can both get what we need here.
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Boundaries Versus Rules: Navigating Cooperative Power

Boundaries versus rules is an important distinction when we navigate power dynamics within relationships. A boundary is about power within me to make my decisions. A rule is about power over your decisions. Tara Thomas & Kia Handley talk about the different types of power in a relationship, and how to collaborate to express preferences, maintain boundaries, and navigate rules or agreements.
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Polarising Issues Chess Board

How to Navigate Polarising Issues in Your Friendships Without Being Antagonistic

Polarising issues arising from an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, can lead to relationship conflict or even end friendships & relationships. Tara Thomas & Kia Handley discuss a message from a listener about a friendship breakdown, and some of the issues that arise from that experience.
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Emotional Labour of Fake Smiles

What is Emotional Labour in Relationships?

Emotional labour is the energy & effort required to perform the task of managing emotions for self & others, so how does it affect relationships? In the context of relationships, emotional labour includes a whole shit load of work performed to make sure others feel emotionally 'comfortable'. This piece will unpack some of the fuckery that comes with that work, and some of the common relational patterns arising from emotional labour.
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Emergency Gap Plan with Plant

The Gap Plan; How to Avoid Catastrophe When the Sh!t Hits the Fan

Would your household fall apart if you had to take a week off? A gap plan is a great way to plan in advance for the inevitable lows of life, and to put support systems in place for your friends & family. Tara Thomas & Kia Handley talk about what needs to go into a…
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emotional awareness brain plus heart

Emotional Self Awareness; Unlock the Natural Wisdom of Your Body & Mind

Emotional self-awareness is one of the 3 facets of self-awareness which underpins all of the core skills in an emotionally intelligent person. This post unpacks the elements of emotional self-awareness, and provides some practical exercises to help develop your skills in that area.
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Textationship Phone

What is a Textationship? Are Text-Only Relationships Legitimate?

Textationship is the latest portmanteau on the scene and describes a relationship that is text only. Are these still legitimate relationships? What about when you're dating? What are the pros and cons of a textationship? The Sugar Doctor and Craig Hamilton chat all things textationships [Includes audio & full transcript]
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is gossip bad

Is Gossip Bad for Relationships?

Social scientists define gossip as 'sharing about people who aren't there'. So is gossip bad for relationships? Are there different types of gossip? Tara Thomas & Kia Handley discuss the gossip spectrum and how to be better at pro-social behaviours. [Includes audio & full transcript]
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old friendships

Should You Keep That Old Friendship?

Friendships can change depending on the stage of your life, as well as whether you are both growing & changing at the same pace and in the same ways. One of the hardest things to know is when should you put the effort into maintaining an old friendship? And when is it time to let it go? The Sugar Doctor and Kia Handley talk about navigating friendship. [Includes audio & full transcript]
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Keeping a Secret

Will Keeping a Secret End Your Relationship?

The 2021 Australia Talks survey has shown that between 9-14% of Australians (depending on age groups) are keeping a secret that they think would end a relationship within their family or with their partner. What are the considerations when you are deciding if it is a secret for keeping? or for sharing? The Sugar Doctor and Kia Handley discuss the complexities of keeping a secret. [Includes audio & full transcript]
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Social Media Icons

Is Social Media a Force for Good or Evil in Relationships?

With social media and electronic devices becoming omnipresent in our lives, how can we keep our sense of agency in the way we use them? And is their influence on our relationships a force of good, or evil? The Sugar Doctor and Kia Handley discuss the impact of social media in intimate relationships. [Includes audio & full transcript]
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Toxic Barrels.

Toxic Exes and Breaking Up: Managing Boundaries and Behaviour

When you find yourself with a toxic ex, it's a tricky situation to navigate. Tara Thomas and Kia Handley talk about how to maintain your own boundaries and get the best outcome for yourself. [Includes audio & full transcript]
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Psychologist Couch

Why You Must Stop Pathologising Your Partner!

These days we're all armchair psychologists, but could you be creating bigger problems in your relationship? Tara Thomas and Kia Handley talk about why you must stop pathologising your partner. [Includes audio & full transcript]
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Rock Paper Scissors for Decision Makers

Who has the Power as the Decision Maker in Your Relationship?

What happens when one partner has to make all the decisions? Tara Thomas and Kia Handley talk about whether it is okay to delegate decision making, and what to do if you want to change who is the decision maker. [Includes audio & full transcript]
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Passive Aggressive Lego Knight

Dealing With Passive Aggressive Behaviour

Nothing makes me crankier than someone who can't even tell me that they're cranky! The Sugar Doctor and Kia Handley talk about why people behave passive aggressively, and how to manage it. [Includes audio & full transcript]
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office romance

Are Office Romances a Bad Idea?

What are the pros and cons when you are considering an office romance? Kia Handley and The Sugar Doctor talk about navigating love in the workplace. . [Includes audio & full transcript]
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