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Have you ever talked to your guy, or even just stood in his presence, and had this nagging feeling that something was a little bit off? Call it a sixth sense or an unspoken undercurrent, but sometimes you just know when the train is beginning to run off the tracks. “There aren’t usually flashing red warning lights to tell us when something needs attention,” says LA-based couples therapist Ellen Bradley-Windell. “[We need to] embrace the idea of creating an effective maintenance plan for relationships.”
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“Men feel the pressure to put out an energy that they are confident and secure, but most of them really need to know that you still desire them,” says LA-based couples therapist Ellen Bradley-Windell, LCSW. “Verbalize to your husband, ‘I am really attracted to you!’” says Windell. “And tell him why you feel so lucky to be married to him. Although they may play it off as unimportant, they really are grasping on to every word you’re saying.”

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“Men have buddies at the gym or in the workplace, but it is very uncommon for them to have a true, loving friend who unconditionally understands their heart or emotions,” Windell says. “They really desire the idea of be able to lean on their wives for that support, but don’t want to appear weak.”

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The challenge of caring for a child’s type 1 diabetes affects the whole family, so naturally it can cause conflict between spouses or co-parents from time to time. We polled parents on which statements they hate to hear most, then asked Ellen Bradley-Windell, L.C.S.W., a family and child therapist in Southern California whose daughter has type 1, for the best ways to respond.

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Attacking your partner’s personality, character or appearance — rather than talking about the behavior you don’t like — is a zero-sum game. Criticizing assigns blame to your partner, leaving the other person feeling resentful, hurt and attacked.

“This is the biggest one to watch out for,” said Ellen Bradley-Windell, a licensed clinical social worker and co-founder of the Valencia Relationship Institute, “especially in a loving relationship, because you allow yourself to be so vulnerable. Your walls come down, and the hurt just becomes so much more intense.”

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