Does sex always die in a long term relationship?


There’s this commonly held myth that you will be all over each other at the beginning of a relationship but it’s normal for sexual desire to just end after a year or so.

This is codswallop! It only dries up if you haven’t worked on your own self development.

The answer to this problem about sex drying up is about becoming more emotionally mature and autonomous. Starting to work on a stronger sense of self can help bring back sex into a long term relationship. A strong sense of self means you aren’t dependent on having a positive reflected sense of self from your partner. This is an idea that sex therapist David Schnarch came up with and is an extension of Bowens Theory.

Tell me, do you want to have sex with someone who needs you to prop them up all the time and needs constant validation from you? I didn’t think so. Maybe at the beginning of the relationship that did it for you but it’s not going to last the distance.

Working on a stronger sense of self means that you will be:

-less reliant for your partners attention and not take differences in libido personally or to heart.

-less likely to force your partner to go along with your ideas or be forced to compromise on things you don’t want to just to keep the peace.

-less likely to always need validation and being ‘propped up’ constantly from your partner.

It’s usually not about sex at all. Sex is the battleground these conflicts are fought on but it’s about something much bigger.

I had someone scoff at me in my therapy room about the idea of self development. However it’s key to our sexuality and inextricably linked.

Working on issues surrounding our selfhood means we can resolve sexual problems in a relationship much better.

Art- Nathan-Dumlao


Do men think about sex every seven seconds?


This urban myth has been around a long time! When I was a teenager, I remember being told that men thought about sex every seven seconds as if it was as an accepted fact like the sky is blue.

If men really do think about sex every seven seconds, then that’s seven or eight thousand thoughts about sex a day! The myth doesn’t hold up when you look into all the many research studies done on this topic.

This every seven seconds idea really supports the culturally constructed idea that all men are obsessed with sex all the time. It lumps all men into a sexually homogeneous group with this uniform sexual energy.

This myth ties into all the many stereotypes about male sexuality. Male sexuality isn’t as simple or uniform as people like to believe.

Male sexuality changes with age, relationship status and emotional and physical health.

This cultural idea that men think about sex every few seconds simply isn’t true and it’s very much over estimated. The research can’t agree on how many times a day anyone thinks about sex because there’s just such a huge variation.

One research study found that young men on average thought about sex 19 times a day. This was a fraction more than young women on average thought about sex in a day (ten times) but they also discovered men thought about sleep and food more than women too. Researchers concluded that men are more needs based than women.

Other researchers found that men and women’s sexual thoughts were of about equal amounts during the day.

Another study found that 16 year old young men thought about sex every five minutes not every seven seconds.  Men in their 40’s thought about sex every half an hour. These sexual thoughts kept decreasing as their age increased.

The Kinsey Report discovered that 4% of men under the age of 60 think about sex only once a month, 43%  of men think about sex a few times a month or a week and 54% have at least one sexual thought a day or more.

As men age they have less sex than when they were younger. Sexual thoughts and desires fluctuate depending on your overall energy and wellbeing.

How many times you think about sex a day has more to do with you as an individual than what sex you are. It also has to do more with how you feel in your body and your sexuality than your genitals.

Researchers found that some men and women thought about sex a hundred times or more a day. They also found some men and women only thought about sex a few times a day.

If someone is dealing with sexual addictive or compulsive behaviours then it’s also more down to a whole host of complex reasons that aren’t necessarily related to their genitals.  Sexual compulsive behaviours are due to an inability to cope with stress, biochemical reasons or growing up in a dysfunctional family or surviving childhood sexual assault. People with sexually addictive traits use sex in the same way a drug addict uses drugs- to avoid unpleasant feelings or stress from work etc.

So there you have it. Men do not think about sex every seven seconds! Myth busted!

Photography- Oliver Easton

Why compatibility is a myth

I’m sick of reading about compatibility being the supposed ‘glue’ of a relationship all the time.  I hate this strange definition of compatibility and I’d like to redefine it with you now and show why it’s overrated.

There is such a thing as a compatible couple.

There’s no such thing as two people who share all the same tastes, values and interests.  All couples fight and argue about the same things- sex, time, money, kids, in-laws etc.  A good relationship hinges on how you manage and resolve these conflicts together.

Research shows there’s no difference in levels of compatibility in happy or unhappy couples.

Happy couples never even mention compatibility. Only unhappy couples bring compatibility up all the time and stress how important it is to a relationship.

Compatibility is like an easy scapegoat for unhappy couples to blame when a relationship is floundering or doesn’t work out.

Successful relationships aren’t about compatibility.

Successful long term relationships  are more about will power and partners who truly want to stay together in the relationship. You must want to be in a relationship in general and you must want to be with your partner.

Creating a fulfilling relationship is more to do with you and your partner than this contemporary concept of compatibility.

Lasting relationships are more about how you interact with each other than who you are.

Compatibility is something that you create together. It’s not something you have inside of yourself. You maintain and nurture that compatibility over time. You work at compatibility.

I want us to throw out talking about relationship compatibility like it’s a noun. It’s not like a holy grail you find in the wilderness. Relationship compatibility should be discussed as a verb. You go on a pilgrimage together to find the holy grail. Verbs are doing words and a noun is an object.

Relationship skills can always be sharpened and improved upon.

How do you emotionally connect? How do you respond to your partners bids for connection? Do you turn towards your partner or turn away?

Some people think someone’s personality or interests are what makes up compatibility but these won’t necessarily pass the test of time.

Relationships are about building something together. How does your relationship support your vision for your life?

Stop focussing on this flawed notion of compatibility especially in the early days of dating. Doing this makes it easier for commitment phobes or people scared of intimacy to run straight for the exit door of the relationship as soon as things get challenging.

How does your personality predict your sex life?

Your sexual expression is an extension of your personality.

We all have our own unique personalities. Our personality is made up of individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving.

Our personality has a big impact on our sexual satisfaction and sex life.

Sex researchers have been doing a lot of work into what our personalities can predict about our sex lives and it’s very interesting! A lot of it makes sense.

Without boring you with the history of the development personality theory from the Ancient Greeks, through to Freud and Jung I might just jump straight into it. Unless you beg me to write a blog on the history of personality theory throughout the western world!

So today we are  going to talk about the BIG FIVE theory of personality.

This is the concept  that each one of our personalities contains five basic traits which all exist on a spectrum. Every one of us can be positioned anywhere along this line between two very distinct poles. This model has been applied successfully to people all over the world from various cultures.

I like this model because it also accounts for how your personality changes over time and how biology and environment can influence our personality. It puts some important context in there.

This BIG FIVE concept is a valid construct for viewing personality and I’m pretty down with it, so let’s move on and look at how the  five elements  predict your sexual behaviours!

I’m going to talk about them one at at time so let’s start.

1.) Neuroticism:

Imagine a sliding scale with anxiety,  tenseness, pessimism and being withdrawn on one end and emotional stability, contentedness and confidence on the other.

Ask yourself: are you someone that gets nervous really easily and/or experiences the world as a threateneing, unsafe place or are you very relaxed, content and handle stress super well?

High levels of neuroticism predict higher dissatisfaction with oneself and one’s life and more sexual and intimate relationship unhappiness.

High levels of emotional instability and anxiety are disruptive for the sexual process. Our stress reaction inhibits our biological and psychological sexual expression.

The more neurotic someone is more likely their intimate relationship will be under large amounts of stress and the partipiants unhappy and unsatisfied sexually.

Neuroticism and high levels of anxiety and volatility can get in the way of a fulfilling sex life. If you’re high in neuroticism you might not prioritise sex as that important in a relationship.  You’re more likely to avoid sex, you might not enjoy sex all that much or you might really like sex but also need so much time on your own it could push your partner away.

Men that showed high levels of neuroticism didn’t display many erectile problems, however their big problems with showing emotional openess acted as a barrier for sexual encounters and sexual communication skills.

Neurotic men were slightly less satisfied with themselves as men and moderately less satisfied with their bodies.

Men higher in neuroticism showed higher condom use or withdrawal methods.

Neuroticism is the only big five trait that has a direct connection to a smaller likelihood of having anal sex.

If your personality is high on the neurotic continuum you might be more likely to be nervous about your sexual performance and have lower levels of sexual satisfaction. You might also have lower sexual esteem, less sexual assertiveness and more sexual guilt, anxiety and depression.

Research shows that people high in neurotic traits had high levels of sexual self monitoring.

What is a high level of sexual self monitoring?

Self monitoring is basically when you’re observing and regulating your own behavior in a social or sexual context. Think of how chameleons blend into their environment. High and low self monitors have completely different concepts of self and identity.

We all self monitor to a degree, but if you have high levels of self monitoring you’re more meticious about presenting yourself in a particular way for each environment youre in at the time.  You’re  more likely to see love as a game. You’d project a particular image of yourself so that you will fit in or impress the particular people you’re around at the time.

Alternatively, someone with a low level of self monitoring is more likely to present the authentic version of themselves without the mask.

Now imagine this in a sexual context.

Higher levels of self monitoring might look like this- you might be acting like you’re the most turned on and aroused person at a kink party, when you might really be having a terrible day and feel really bad.  No one could even tell.  You might act sexually in a way with a partner that is more about what you think they might like than what you might like.    You’d be tuning into the cues around you and making sure you act how you deem “appropriate.”

High self monitors also struggle with attachment in relationships. They  don’t like their partners getting too psychologically close or too intimate and try to keep them at an arms length.

None of the research I looked at shows whether there’s a consistent connection with neuroticism and sexual infidelity or ‘promiscuity.’ Those sexual behaviours are much more connected to other personality traits like extraversion!

I’ll talk about this in my next blog!



Fighting Fair in a relationship

So my neighbour has a dog that barks non stop and it drives me bonkers.
“What are on you about now Cat?” I hear you ask! Well this encounter with my neighbour reveals unhealthy communication techniques that people use in relationships.

Have you ever brought up an issue with your partner or anyone and wondered how they’ve managed to twist it back on you?

Notice how it scrambles your brain and nothing gets sorted out?

Communication skills are a big part of how I help couples move forward from a space of gridlock to a space of growth.

I want to use this example of my neighbour to illustrate how NOT to communicate in your relationship/s. My  inconsiderate neighbour perfectly highlights how insidious some of these unhealthy communication styles are and how they roadblock any resolutions.

When I told my neighbour a few weeks ago very politely and assertively about her dog barking for 13 hours a day from 6am outside my bedroom window she replied in all the typical deflective and manipulative ways that I teach my couples to stop doing.

I really had to take deep breaths to keep my patience and not be dragged down her dizzying vortex.

My neighbour kept throwing the spotlight away from the problem that is her responsbility back onto me. She was focussing on the fact I worked nights rather than the fact that their neglecting their poor dog and keeping it outside and alone for 13 hours a day is causing the problem. I should be able to enjoy days off where I can sleep in regardless of my work schedule however the neighbour started to deny my polite assertions.  She kept putting it back onto me and insinuated I was the one with the problem and there was nothing wrong with her neglected dog. She also kept insisting that none of the other neighbours had a problem with it and thus invalidating my complaint. 

This actually isn’t the case and other neighbours are very annoyed by her dog but if I wasn’t feeling confident in my cause imagine how that would’ve shaken me and made me give up.

My neighbour kept deflecting again and again away from the fact that she was the one at fault and her dog was a problem and refusing to take responsibility. When have you ever encountered someone doing something like this to you?

This is a very common technique in emotionally abusive relationships. Imagine being in a relationship for years and this technique always being used on you so you never feel heard or validated.

Deflection is a way we deflect blame.  It is a kind of projection. It’s like the fruit fly of defence mechanisms!

Basically, when the fault lies with us, if we are a deflector, we project the blame and fault onto the person raising the fault. We hold up the mirror that’s been pointed at us and turn it back at the other person. This can stonewall any conflict resolution in a relationship.
Deflection happens we can’t take responsibility for something we’ve done wrong and feel good about ourselves at the same time. You see children after they spill something in the kitchen and they might blame it on the drink or the glass..

People that use deflection are not really hearing you or tackling the problem- they’re trying to divert attention back onto you as quickly as possible.

Deflection is an unhealthy way to escape self awareness. 

Here are some examples of deflection…

Say, when an abusive partner blames their partner for their own abusive behaviour saying it’s their fault they abused them because they didn’t say…react appropriately/have dinner ready/do what they were told/dare to try to say no or erect healthy boundaries etc… “I was only phyiscally violent to you because you didn’t have my dinner ready on time” is an awful example of deflection. You choose to abuse someone and can’t blame someone for your own abusive actions.

Or when a partner gives feedback to their partner about something they’re doing wrong and instead of taking it on board they think to themselves, “Oh she’s just on her period or she’s just pre-menstrual.“

Or when someone does something very hurtful to someone and they don’t own it but instead say, “Oh it’s because of his/her mental health problems/mental health diagnosis“ “Or s/he’s just triggered because of their…….. trauma/abuse/childhood/trust issues” etc.. They can sidestep any responsibility here by lumping it all onto whatever label they choose.

Or when someone does something  wrong but instead of owning it they say your reaction is “your own shit and your own projections.”

Or when a partner is abusive and the partner being abused stands up to it and gets frustrated and angry at the mistreatment.  The abusive partner using deflection tactics says to their protesting partner that  need to see a therapist for their “anger issues.”

Another example is when a parent is making mistakes raising their child but rather than own and realise that they put that all onto the child, effectively ‘scapegoating’ him or her.

How to stop Deflecting

To be able to repair rifts in a relationship you have to be able to ‘see’ yourself with a new self awareness.

You must to be able to accept that you are an imperfect being that makes mistakes and take responsibility for your actions. 
 That doesn’t mean you’ve failed.

It’s important to feel okay with making a mistake.

I teach a lot of my couples listening skills, the sort we are never taught in schools.

If you stop and actually listen to your partner you can stop going straight into knee jerk responses or feeling like you have to defend yourself.

Don’t interrupt unless you need to clarify something.

Don’t feel like you have to jump in to fill the silence once your partner has finished talking.

It’s okay for a few seconds of silence as you ponder what they’ve said.

Try to echo back to your partner what you’ve heard them say.  This can clarify that what you’re hearing is indeed what they’re trying to communicate.

You do not have to agree with what they’ve said but this important step helps you to understand clearly what they’re saying and it allows your partner to feel heard.
It can be so rewarding working with a therapist to discover how to spot your own defence mechanisms you usually lean back on in your relationships and start to work on challenging them.
Working with a therapist like me can lead to the patience and strength to openly listen to criticism.

Another important skill to develop is standing firm and standing your ground when you are feeling like the defence skills of your partner are starting to derail you.

How to keep your long term relationship sizzling!



Have you ever wondered what the secrets are to long-term relationship sexual satisfaction?

I’ve saved you some time! 

I’ve spent years trawling through decades of research, analysing couples with satisfying sex lives all over the world, and found they all had certain characteristics in common! I know you’re at the edge of your seat now so I won’t keep you in suspense for too long!

Sexually happy couples consciously work together to keep the relationship emotionally intimate and connected, and the sex passionate, different and non-routine.


Here’s some of the things I found that they had in common.

Sexually satisfied couples:

  • Say “I love you” everyday and truly mean it.
  • Kiss each other passionately for no reason—not just to instigate sex.
  • Practice good sexual communication and implement it. They discover what turns their partner on and off erotically by discussing each others’ own unique sexual needs and wants — not just having sex the same way they have sex with every single partner because that’s just the way they like to do things.
  • Are more likely to set the atmosphere for sexual activity, such as by lighting candles and playing music.
  • Remain close friends.
  • Go on weekly dates together.
  • Make sex a top priority, not the last item of a long to-do list or something they never have time to do in their busy schedule.
  • Have showers or baths together, or massage each other.
  • Are physically affectionate in public.
  • Keep playing and having fun together — not just in the initial dating phase.
  • Cuddle each other, even during times where they’re not having sex as regularly as usual.
  • Surprise each other with  romantic gifts or titillating emails or texts.
  • Go on romantic holidays.
  • Are mindfully conscious about turning towards each other when one partner asks for any positive connection such as attention, affirmation or affection.
  • Have more sex, orgasms, oral sex and more sexual variety (such as discussing or reenacting sexual fantasies, experimenting with positions, clothes or toys) than unsatisfied couples.


On the other hand, sexually unsatisfied couples do the following things:

  • Spend a very small amount of time together during an average week.
  • Drift apart and lead parallel lives.
  • Talk mostly about their gigantic to-do lists.
  • Make everything else in their lives a priority above the relationship and the partner.
  • Become job-centred or child-centred over and above the relationship.
  • Only unintentionally turn towards their partner, and it’s an accident when they respond positively to a partners bid for affirmation.




One couple in a sexless relationship only spent about 35 minutes together in total conversation throughout all of their interactions throughout an entire week. That’s five minutes a day on average!  Most talks were about tasks, errands, bills and dull household things — so nothing intimate or exciting, and no dates! Is it any wonder they weren’t experiencing satisfaction or connection in sex, given such routine, monotonous and sparse interactions? No intimacy was being built and worked at.

If your partner spends 95 per cent of their leisure time doing things without you, or ignoring you for their computer games or their drug of choice, then your sex life will suffer. Being ignored doesn’t build emotional connection, nor does it fire up the loins. You’re more than just an option to someone — you should be their priority!

It’s not all doom and gloom though! I see relationship struggles as wonderful opportunities!  Relationship struggles can be a crucible of self-learning and self-reflection as we grow together and discover our lovers and our own needs.

Think of sex as more of an intimate and emotional act than just rubbing skin together. It’s true intimacy and sensuality  that creates sexual fireworks in a relationship! Consistently working at building this emotional connection with your partner lays the building blocks for an incredible sex life.

Get in touch today to transform your long term relationship from dull to exciting!

How to spot an emotionally unavailable partner

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You’ll know all about the agony of not being able to get close to the person you love if you’ve been with an emotionally unavailable person. Have a look through this list and see if any of these sound familiar with someone you might be seeing now or in the past.

Even ONE of these is cause for concern. This is not a list where you need all of them to be ticked off to win the prize! If you can tick even a few off then you’re with an emotionally unavailable person and really need to do some soul searching and possible come and see me so we can talk about why you’re attracted to the unavailability!

  • They’re already married or in a relationship with someone else.
    No you can’t ‘change’ or ‘convince’ them and no a partner isn’t a challenge to try and win or change.No you are not in competition with their wife/husband/partner and ‘stealing’ them away won’t prove anything about your self worth. If they will leave their partner for you then chances are they’ll leave you for someone else later down the track. Is that someone you really want to be with? I mean really??? What are you trying to prove? That you’re more attractive than their partner? You aren’t in competition with other people! Stop wanting someone because they’re off limits. It doesn’t make them more desirable it makes them a disloyal jerk!


  • They’re shut down or closed off emotionally. They’re emotionally distant or are incapable of dealing with conflict. Possibly after the initial pursuit they distance themselves, disconnect and shut down. You might feel like their primary relationship now is with their phone, ipad or computer- not you anymore! They may have compulsive or addictive behaviours with their phone, online porn or TV as a way of ‘checking out.’

    You can’t have intimacy when one person refuses to open up emotionally with you. That’s lopsided and you’d have as much luck trying to be intimate with the trunk of a tree if not more luck!

  • They have an addiction issues with substances such as drugs or alcohol.


  • They prefer long distant relationships especially ones where they never move closer. If you’re looking for a close, long term relationship then dating someone who lives in another state or country or who has a partner or is still in love with their ex will NOT lead you anywhere near your goal!
  • Their past relationships. They may have ended their long term relationships it reaches the stage when true emotional intimacy should be developing.  Instead this is the time they always leave.


  • Expect perfection from their partners. Once the honeymoon phase is over they will have higher expectations of your behaviour than their friends or family. This is because they’re just waiting for the second you make a mistake like all flawed and imperfect humans do. However instead of working it out, they’ll use this as an excuse to leave. They’re terrified of emotional intimacy so will use your imperfections as excuses to end the relationship and replace you with someone without that one ‘flaw.’
  • The relationship never matures. As the relationship progresses say a year or so later and you suggest moving in together they tell you; “I’m not the living together kind of guy/girl” despite showering you with non stop seduction and promises for the first few months.

    They will promise you that “all I want to do is to look after you” but when you actually are sick or really need help they will be absent and not there for you. They’ll be busy with their friends or doing things that they want to do and you’ll be alone.


  • You’ll find yourself quietly sobbing after sex in bed with them next to their sleeping body. You are so unhappy with how they can’t commit to you or be emotionally close to you but you love them so you stay despite the torment. You deserve someone who wants to commit to you and doesn’t just use you sexually!
  • They can come across as very elusive, hard to read or sneaky. They may also work very long hours and disappear for days at a time for strange reasons that don’t add up. They often have excuses at to why they can’t reply to your texts from Friday night to Sunday afternoon. Their phone battery always goes flat on a Friday night.
  • They’re more interested in having sex with you than being emotionally open.
  • They say they can show you how they feel about you through sex more than words. YUCK!
  • Bombard you with flattery early on. It’s fake-they don’t really know you yet. This seduction is all about conquest not a long lasting relationship.


  • They won’t introduce you to their friends or family and you’ll start to wonder as the months go by why you still don’t meet their friends. You’ll notice they keep you very separate.Or if they’re fast forwarders (see below) they’ll introduce you to their friends and family way too early as a way of creating false intimacy!
  • They fast forward the dating process with you and skip important steps!
    They might declare their love for you on first meeting, make you feel like the centre of their world, the dinner date might become a three day sex session and then you never hear from them again. Or they might organise your first date as a weekend away in a hotel, declare you as their dream woman/man/perfect when they hardly know you, demand sexual and (fake) emotional intimacy too early on and talk about babies, marriage, moving in way too early.

    This  fast forwarding isn’t because they are so romantic and besotted with you!! It is because it keeps you engulfed in a huge smokescreen of intensity so you won’t spot the red flags. It’s trickery that fools you into thinking that this huge level of intensity and attention is what is on offer for you in a relationship with them. Sorry. It’s not! Intensity is not intimacy!

    You’re not in a fairy tale and you’re not Cinderella! Cinderella’s relationship probably crashed and burned with Prince Charming but we never got to read about that.  Prince Charming may have turned ‘cold’ just as soon as he turned off ‘hot.’ Cinderella probably loved the adoration but the Prince did not know her well enough to mean his attraction was sincere. Maybe the Prince acted like this to a different girl at every ball at his castle.

    Dating with the intention to have a long term relationship is meant to be about slowly and properly getting to know someone. This is what creates authentic connection not speeding through things.

    best 9

  • They are all about the CHASE and will lay the charm on thick at the beginning. They will pursue you with vigour and speed. As soon as you are ‘hooked’ into the relationship they back off , run or go cold and proceed to the next point.
  • They’re inconsistent and hot and cold and push and pull after being very hot for the first few weeks or months of the relationship.
    They’ll pull away and give you nothing but then suddenly give you something and come on strong to hook you back in.

    Hot and cold is a HUGE RED FLAG that should be hitting you in the face! You don’t want to be in a relationship with someone that blows hot and cold. You will never get intimacy or commitment from them because there will never be balance in the relationship and they will be inconsistent for you to be able to trust them.

    yes 2

  • They are super seductive to you but only with their words–their words and actions don’t meet up. They give you empty promise after empty promise. They might say one thing but their actions completely contradict that.
  • They mainly use text, instant messenger or email to communicate with you during your relationship. This is lazy communication and you deserve phone calls and direct communication. No one is too busy they can’t give you a quick call!


  • They can’t stand closeness.  S/He might walk ahead of you on the street because that distance makes her/him feel comfortable. If you’re struggling to keep up and they’re always marching off in front of you and never ever waiting for you this is a huge red flag despite whatever excuses they give you.

    This means they’ll leave you behind in the relationship, they’re not walking with you symbollically as a couple, they’re thinking mainly of themselves and will put themselves above you always, they can’t be flexible with their own walking speed to meet yours, they may have intimacy avoidance  and they’re not proud of you in public.

  • They are openly admitting that they are not over their ex. Don’t waste years of your life in a relationship with them ‘waiting for them to get over them.’ You deserve more than that!


  • They say they’re over their ex but are always talking about their ex or dropping them into conversation. For exmaple; you talk about going to Uluru and they say, “Oh that reminds me of my ex! Her sister went there and… bla bla..”
    They are not over their ex! Don’t be in denial here!
  • They are very self involved, selfish or put themselves first. Conversations with them might revolve around them. They may even be narcissists. What you see is what you get. They won’t wake up one day and decide to make you a priority.

  • You think it’s a relationship but it’s really just a booty call on repeat. You aren’t in the movie ‘Pretty Woman!’ Sexual connection doesn’t automatically lead to emotional connection! Don’t be blindsided and make assumptions or lie around hoping and waiting that ONE DAY if you’re lucky the friends with benefits thing will eventually become a relationship if you just ‘play it cool enough.’ NO! Don’t waste your life on ‘maybes’ and gambles.  Be with someone who dam well wants to be with you!

    I’ve had clients come to see me who are still in a booty call on repeat “relationship” three years later!

    Sex isn’t currency or a gambling game you have to play at! You deserve so much better!!!


  • The relationship progresses at the speed that they choose. So that might be super fast at the beginning- too fast for you – and then once they’ve got you- POW it stagnates and stops developing and goes nowhere.

    I had a client once that came to see me frustrated because she was in a 18 month relationship with an emotionally unavailable man. She only saw me once and was sure it was her fault and didn’t want to accept some of the gentle points I was making. I don’t think she was ready. She came back to see me six years later and the relationship was at exactly the same point it had been six years ago. It was still at the 18 month mark despite the fact they’d been together for seven years.
    She was ready to do the work and break patterns of only being attracted to emotionally unavailable men. Are you?

Top signs you are attracted to the emotionally unavailable

Do you find yourself in a cycle of relationships with emotionally unavailable partners again and again? Do you wonder why you keep being attracted to the same type of person again and again? 

Sadly many adults struggle with intimate relationships because as children they survived heartbreaking neglect.

Perhaps for whatever reason-your parent/s or caregiver had their hands full with mental health issues/work/addictions or romances. Growing up with an emotionally unavailable caregiver might mean that you pursue relationships with emotionally unavailable partners in your adult life.
This can happen because as a young child you internalised the parental neglect and wrongly believed, “I must deserve this bad treatment.”
When this young child (you) grows up with these unconscious beliefs in place they choose partners who confirm that sense of not being worthy of good treatment. They pick partners who in the same way may be critical or distant or detached.
It feels ‘comfortable’ because it is the love you’re used to.

If you felt easily dismissed by your parent or had to fight hard to get any recognition from them growing up, then you can easily get ‘hooked’ again by partners that you have to pursue that play hard to get.



“If only I could get that detached and distant person to love us then I must be worthy enough to love” is a common thought process.
If you have low self esteem then it would feel alien and strange to be with someone who genuinely wants you! You feel more comfortable being with someone when you are in the lower position which makes you more easily used and dismissed and thus repeating the abandonment cycle again.


Therapy can help you break those unconscious patterns of being attracted to the same type of partner again and again.


I hate it when I hear people say “trust your gut!” It’s important to be very suspicious of your gut if you’re profoundly attracted to someone. Those ‘gut feelings’ are what caused these patterns of attraction to the wrong people!


Your ‘gut’ might make you feel very attracted to those same types that are only pursuing you when you’re not available and as soon as they ‘catch’ you they lose interest in you. This can destroy your self esteem. Therapy sessions can help you change your values and your actions and stop relying on your gut (or unconscious) attractions.



Signs you are in a bad pattern of relationships with emotionally unavailable partners;

-You usually fall for partners who will never ever settle down or commit to you and will often cheat on you multiple times.

-You focus a lot on pleasing your partner and trying to appease their needs and wants whereas your needs and wants seem to fall by the wayside. This isn’t a healthy relationship by the way!

-You feel incomplete unless you are in a relationship or needed.

-You feel incomplete unless you are getting sexual validation from someone.

-You find yourself in relationships that are very one sided where you are prepared to do anything to fix things and they say you’re ‘needy.’


-You are a ‘rescuer’ and want to ‘fix’ your faulty partner rather than accept that what you see is what you get. You may get an emotional high from helping or be quite codepedent.

-You are searching more for the ‘high’ feelings of infatuation and romance rather than a trusting, mutal, mature, relationship.

-You feel like you’re the one that is always more emotionally invested in the relationship than your partners.

-You try hard to mould yourself into the person you think your partner wants.

-Perhaps you are emotionally unavailable yourself and you’re attracted what you give out.

-You aren’t attracted to calm, consistent and kind people that don’t play games because you’re not attracted to them and don’t feel any ‘spark.’

-You are always attracted to ‘bad boys’ or ‘wild girls.’

-You think the hottest sex ever is when you’re trying to seduce or convince a hard to get person to be with you.

-You assume the highs and lows of anxiety, suspense, inconsistency and games are signs of chemistry. (they aren’t)

-You’re only sexually attracted to emotionally unavailable types.

-You believe you have to work super dooper hard to keep your partner interested because they’re so much more worthy and fascinating than you and they could easily lose interest and find someone else at the click of a finger.

-Your parter has all the power and control in the relationship and everything is set by their terms never yours.

-You desire a lot of closeness in a relationship but keep being with people who push you away and want a lot of alone time.

-You get trapped in dead end relationships that aren’t going anywhere for years and fall for the appeal of where the person could be rather than who they are today.

-People tell you that you just haven’t met the ‘right person’ when the reality is probably that you already have met the right person long ago but you were turned off by them because they were too ‘available.’


Start to change your view of the definition of ‘love’ rather than a feeling that washes you away see it as actions that show consistency, kindness and caring.

When you’re dating someone ask them how they ended their past relationships and read between the lines to see if you can spot an emotionally unavailable abandoner. These abandoners cannot commit to a relationship and have all sorts of justifications for ending a relationship with someone-often blaming it on their exes ‘neediness.’  This wasn’t the reason. They broke up with their ex because they are emotionally unavailable.

In the honeymoon phase of a relationship it can be hard to see who someone truly is that’s why it’s important to look at their relationship history. Don’t try to convince yourself that you’re different and special and now that you’re here you can change them! That’s like juggling broken glass.

Don’t look at their relationship history through rose coloured glasses. Who they were in their relationships in the past reveals their present capacity for intimacy.


Please remember you can fall for someone who is totally and utterly wrong for you.

It is possible to break these patterns with the help of a therapist.

Going within is where the solutions lie. Perhaps it is time to take a break from dating and do some work on yourself with a therapist rather than continue this destructive cycle of toxic relationships with unavailable partners.  Take some downtime with me in confidential skype sessions so that you can take the power back and not keep repeating these painful and often soul destroying cycles with your relationships.

Your partner isn’t perfect!

Your partner isn’t perfect and you must stop expecting them to be perfect.

You may idealise them in the first stage of the relationship but it’s important to remember they’re not an angel but they’re merely human.

Putting someone up on a pedestal devalues them and can make them feel very uncomfortable. You objectify them by placing them up above the level of flawed humanity.

You’re not perfect either but by putting someone up on a pedestal you’re digging a hole for yourself to stare up at them! We diminish ourselves because we perceive them as something beyond what they really are and something that they’re not. This can lead to a very unbalanced power play of a relationship or a very codependent prickly hedge!

You might over-give of yourself and put all the work into the relationship to try to “earn” that persons affection.

There’s no true intimacy in these relationships because that pedestal creates a gap between you of inauthenticity.

Many spiritual teachings say that when we gaze into the eyes of our lover we are gazing at a reflection of ourselves, as we are all created as an image of the Divine.

Perhaps in staying grounded in our own authenticity and our own “humanness” we can try to stop seeing our partner as a vision of perfection. Rather loving them as a fellow imperfect human.

Allow your partner to just be.

Cat O Dowd

Relationship Counsellor-Sex Therapist-Art Psychotherapist


What is the top sign that a relationship will fail?


It’s the one biggest predictor of divorce.

Relationship scientists can predict with astounding accuracy whether a relationship is going to last the distance or not when they spot this one trait.

That one trait is CONTEMPT!

Scorn and contempt destroy loving relationships.

It’s one of the top signs a relationship will fail.


Think of when someone rolls their eyes at you, curls their lip or speaks sarcastically down to you. This is a relationship killer. 🗯

Contempt is a mix of disgust and anger. The word originated from a Latin word in 1393 that means scorn.

Contempt breaks up connection by destroying any flow of a conversation between people.

Scorn is the opposite of empathy. Empathy is the glue of happy relationships. People that possess many narcissistic traits are low on empathy.

The more contempt you show your partner, the less you love them.

Scorn says that I’m superior to you, I’m above you and I know better than you. It’s a horrible power play. 

Scorn can poison a relationship even by the tone that is used when speaking to your partner. The tone can be toxic and dismissive even if the content of the conversation isn’t.

Scorn means, “I don’t respect you, I’m better than you.”

It makes you feel worthless.

It’s important to know your rights in a relationship and be able to spot worrying red flags.

If it’s not an abusive relationship then the good news is that behaviours can change. There’s two crucial questions I ask  my couples in a session when they’re showing each other contempt.

Spotting contempt is a good way to start the work on improving your relationship. Get in touch with me to book couple counselling so you can move forward beyond contempt and into a more respectful and loving way of interacting.

Your relationship will thank you.

Cat O Dowd

Relationship and sex therapist- Art psychotherapist


Art- Egon Schiele The Scornful Woman, 1910 Gouache, watercolor and charcoal with white highlighting.