December 6, 2013

Making Yourself Understood in a Relationship

Guest blog from Francine Kaye

Francine Kaye is the UK’s leading relationship educator who is regularly called on by national TV and radio for her expertise and advice for couples.

Divorced 19 years ago with two small children aged 5 and 8, Francine experienced at first hand the challenges of an uncertain future as single parent and it was, she says, often scary.

Francine works with men and women who want to mend their marriages, rebuild rocky relationships and regain intimacy. If couples decide to divorce, Francine shows them how to divorce with dignity and gives them the skills to understand what happened and why it happened so they can emerge buoyant and not bitter from divorce.

She is the author of the bestselling books “The Divorce Doctor” and “Time to Live”

It’s not what you say… It’s who you are when you say it!

Making Yourself Understood in a Relationship

Making yourself understood by your ex was never going to be easy.  It’s such a common issue I thought I’d let you into a simple strategy that will help you as much as it helped my clients. (As usual names have been changed for confidentiality.)

Sally is a newly separated mother of two small girls.  She says that no matter how many times she asks David to come over on time to look after their children, he turns up late and she ends up late for her class, or other social events she had planned.   She said she’s made it very clear to David about timekeeping – and doesn’t understand what else to say to make her point.

Deborah and Justin have been apart (nearly divorced) for two years and are still in dispute. Deborah says Justin speaks to her like a child and Justin says that’s because she acts like one.

Both ex couples are communicating from a specific standpoint which is guaranteed to destroy their ‘parenting apart’ relationship.

Let me introduce you to the PAC Parent Adult Child model. When two adults in a relationship communicate effectively, honest requests are made, consideration is shown and respect is offered.  If I want something done and I speak from my ‘adult’, I would not order, blame, shame, criticise, belittle, threaten, or use any other tactic. I would simply make my request. However this is not what’s going on with our couples.

Sally speaks to David as if she were his parent using a tonality which enables David to react in a childish manner.  Sally is telling David what to do and judging by her tone, she is talking to him as she does to their children. This causes David to either stop listening, or turn up late, just to show Sally that she can’t tell him what to do.

Deborah and Justin are both great at this game.  Deborah responds as a ‘child’, becoming annoyed at Justin for acting like the ‘parent’ and Justin speaks from his ‘parent’ and wonders why Deborah acts like a ‘child’.

I hope you are following this so far!

This is not unusual.  In all our relationships we talk either in Parent, Adult or Child mode and equally we react or respond from Parent Adult or Child.  The challenge is to stay in ‘adult’ mode all the time. Regardless of how you are spoken to, your job is always to respond as an ‘adult’. You cannot have a truly adult relationship unless you communicate as an adult. This is vital when you are parenting apart because if you guys are not the adults who can your children rely on?

So how are you communicating with your ex and how does he/she react when you do that?  It only takes one of you to change the communication in the relationship.  Are you adult enough to be the one?

Francine works with men and women on communication skills like the above to transform their relationships with ex partners. This has a practical and emotional impact on you and your children.  To find out more about Francine and how she can help go to or email