Collette Gee is a dating & relationship specialist with numerous certifications, including as a Psychiatric Nurse, Violence Prevention Specialist, Leadership Development Facilitator and in Neural Linguistic Programing (NLP).
She has taught hundreds of women and men how to find love. Her mission is simple but profound; to teach people how to love harmoniously and successfully.
Ms. Gee is a professional speaker and author of numerous articles and books, including her latest, “Finding Happily – No Rules, No Frogs & No Pretending”.
The following is the second interview of our Relationship Advice Series, featuring Collette Gee.
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What do you think about long distance relationships? What are some tips you would like to give our readers in a LDR?
Long distance relationships can be challenging for some. While for others (such as people in high functioning careers) they work.
People assume that LDR does not work because the individuals are separated by space and time. Yet, even relationships with couples living under the same roof, or in the same zip code break up.
Here are a few healthy habits you can build if you are in a LDR:
- Schedule quality time. If you live far apart or in another country this could be phone calls, video chats or traveling to see one another.
- Communicate as often as possible. Communication is one of the 6C’s of a healthy, loving relationship. Communicating with your partner allows you to share your thoughts, whilst also getting to learn more about your partner. Communication can be done over the phone, or via video chat if you’re far apart. However, in LDR, it is important to engage in active listening vs. passive listening during these times.
- Transparency is key in long distance relationships. In an LDR, talking about your day, sharing your thoughts and your intentions, lets the person know how you feel and allows them to gauge the quality of the relationship.
Why do you think some relationships become toxic?
Relationships can become toxic for various reasons.
Toxic relationships demonstrate intense conflict, turmoil and a lack of respect for one other. When one, or both partners does not (or is unwilling) to communicate openly, listen, and show respect and compassion for their partner the relationship, it becomes toxic.
Often people enter into (or create) a toxic environment in their relationships unknowingly based on unhealthy learned patterns of behavior.
While others use forms of control to manipulate, or undermine their partner.
In either case, if you think you’re in a toxic relationship, it’s best to address the issues, seek help, and or move on from that relationship.
In your opinion what are the key habits to build a healthy and successful relationship?
A healthy relationship is comprised of six ingredients: communication, compromise, commitment, compatibility, conduct, and consideration. When you are in a healthy relationship you feel good; you are happy even when you are alone, or with the person you are with.
What do you think about mental health disorders in relationships? Is it possible to build a healthy and fulfilling relationship when one partner has mental health issues? How?
Mental health disorders in relationships can be challenging; however, they are not impossible to deal with.
In order for this type of relationship to work, both partners must be willing to talk about the challenges, respect one another’s right to feel safe, and find the right tools, resources and coping strategies to create and sustain a healthy relationship – free from toxicity and trauma.
Of course, when dealing with mental health disorders in a relationship, there will be ups and downs – similar to any relationship with challenges.
However, unlike other relationships, a relationship with mental health challenges requires both partners willingness and commitment to maintain a respectful, safe and happy relationship.
Do you recommend couples therapy? Or do you think individual therapy is more beneficial?
A happy, healthy relationship involves two people, but it begins and ends with SELF. Therefore, who it is that we are coming into the relationship is dependent on the loving, compassionate relationship we have with ourselves.
Individuals that choose to partake in therapy, coaching or personal development, have a greater chance at choosing a happy, healthy partner and therefore being in a loving healthy relationship.
They also may learn communication tips and processing tools in individual therapy that can be useful tools in subsequent relationships.
In the event that a couple runs into a situation they cannot improve, seeking help from a counselor or coach, might be a good option.
However, whether both parties choose to seek help together or alone, this is a personal choice.
In your opinion, how can a couple keep the spark alive, even after years?
Here is the best way to keep the spark alive in loving committed relationship after years of being together:
- Schedule quality time and intimacy,
- Have fun together and do the things you love,
- Be honest and transparent, particularly about your wants, needs and requirements,
- Speak your partner’s “love language”.
In your opinion, what’s the best way to stay calm during an argument?
People argue for their need to be right, to be heard or solve a problem.
Therefore, the best way to stay calm during an argument is to actively listen, consider your partners feelings, be compassionate, then focus on a solution that brings about peace, not conflict.
Do you have a relationship advice book or online course you would like our readers to know about?
I am the author of three books on dating and relationships, including my most recent release, “Finding Happily… No Rules, No Frogs & No Pretending” (Preview Here).
My books are available on Amazon, select stores (including Barnes & Nobles) and via e-Books, such as Apple’s iBook, Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Nobles Nook.
Through seminars, workshops, coaching and relationship enhancement trainings I help women and men succeed in any relationship; be it a romantic, family, platonic or professional relationship.