Q&A With A Dating & Relationship Expert
Every so often the team will ask dating expert and relationship coach Sarah Louise Ryan a few questions on different topics related to how date, relate and create deeply fulfilling relationships.
Today we ask Sarah a little about the way she supports individuals and couples in how to get the love that they want and deserve. Here are our questions:
Simona “How did you get in to relationship coaching and what are the most positive aspects in your job as a relationship coach?”
Sarah I joined the dating industry as a Matchmaker in 2011 when I was searching a new career in London. I had just graduated in International Marketing and before that had an interest in human behaviour and had studied psychology. I took those two aspects and have worked in the dating and relating space ever since. Over recent years I started to train as a counsellor with the aim to support many in their mental and relational health and was drawn to Psychotherapy and Imago Relationship Therapy, a practice I use when supporting couples who wish to reconnect in their relationship again. I still have my dating agencies but there are wonderful teams behind the scenes helping singles in their dating journey, I still work with singles but support those teams alongside my practice with couples. All of the work and research intertwines beautifully.
The most wonderful part of my job working with couples in relationships is to help them really see, hear and understand one another better. There are times where I’ve worked with couples that have been in so much conflict they could barely look at one another but over time have created so much safety and given them the tools they need to converse that they have been able to overcome infidelity, resentment, lack of intimacy and more. Thee beauty of the work I do with couples is that it is relentlessly positive. They are able to affirm what it is that they like and love about each other, returning back to appreciation, so that over time they feel safe and calm enough to talk about the tricky stuff that has created conflict and disconnection for them.
Simona “You wrote a book, “30 days of heartbreak” What are the best take always from this book, and why should people read it?”
Sarah This book doesn’t have any best take aways per se. It’s a memoir of my own breakup. If I had to say anything about it, it’s that it is real and shows humanness. Anyone that works as an expert in the dating and relationship field also has their own life behind the scenes and relationships to navigate. This book is a compilation of blogs written in real time across 30 days when I experience a break up in a long term relationship. The trauma, pain and struggle was really real and all I could do was feel. I am as much of a creative as I am a researcher in the field of dating and relationships and so I wanted to write away my pain. I did this quite publicly but the content regarding a ‘ghosting’ is what the modern daters call it today, was relatable and raw. It spoke to many people who have ghosted other, those who have been ghosted themselves and even some people who were thinking about ghosting their partners who realised the pain it may inflict. This was written in 2015, many years later of taling therapies, qualifications as a therapist in training and research on relating, attachment, trauma and more, I now understand this relational exit better and use my knowledge to help other who need to heal heartbreak, overcome divorce and breakups or couples who want to reconnect after experiencing relational exits themselves.
Simona “What is the most important relationship advice or takeaways that you can give to our readers?”
We have to do the work on ourselves to be able to connect in a healthy, loving and deeply committed way to another. If we haven’t done the work we don’t understand our trauma, triggers, feelings, communication styles and patterns in dating and relationships. When we understand ourselves better we can relate to others better. Without doing the work we fall in lust and in love with someone and navigate communicating and relating blindly, hoping everything will work out just fine. When we’ve done the work we are able to take responsibility for the things we do in dating and relationships, create boundaries and get in the groove of a healthy, conscious communication style with our partners. Doing the work is absolute gold in relationships. It means that couples then know themselves so well they individually and together feel confident and comfortable to talk about the things that hold other couples back such as sex, intimacy, money, division of domestic duties, relational dynamics, past trauma, family building and more.
Being curious in relationships is one of the keys to building connection but is also key to maintaining a loving relationship as time goes on. Without curiosity relationships run the risk of becoming stagnant and lacking in the energy of friendship which is the very foundation in which they are built in the first place.
Don’t sweat the small stuff and if you can’t help it, it’s not really about the small things you’re sweating about. If you’re arguing about the dishes and its not really about the dishes do the work on yourself and in your couple to get to the core of it. If you’re sweating about the small stuff and it just keeps building up then chances are something greater is building below the surface. Maybe its about not been seen, not feeling cared for, not feeling equal or feeling taken for granted - there’s a whole range of things it could be but if you’re day to day sweating the small stuff either find a way to work on it and let it go or bring it to relationship counselling because I guarantee its not really about the washing or insert any domestic duty you can think about.
Simona “Do you think schools should include at some stage in their curriculum lessons on things such as: finding the right partner, how to plan and organize their wedding, relationship management, parenting, and how to get divorced?”
Sarah I am really passionate about bringing relational knowledge into schools - I’m talking all interpersonal relationships from friendships, family relationships and romantic relationships. Understanding how to choose, who we choose, how we connect and communicate could help so many people through life have the tools to have the interpersonal relationship skills
Simona “What are the different coaching options that you offer and what you can bring to the table?”
Sarah I coach singles who around dating and couples who are having issues in their relationships who would like to reconnect.
When I work with singles it’s often after they have been through a breakup or divorce and ready to start dating again or with singles who have been dating for a while and cant seem to form the connection they are seeking. The things that come up for my clients are often issued around the likes of confidence, fear of rejection, uncertainty about their romantic future or anxiety in dating due to the mass of singles on apps. Theres a whole host of reasons singles come to a dating coach and those are just to name a few. Coaching and reconnecting couples is one of the best parts of my working week. I also own two incredible dating agencies where there is a team ready to help singles if they want to avoid dating apps and meet other singles in real life, offline.
In regards to working with couples I am in training as a Psychotherapist and plan to speciailise in work with couples. I have been working with couples for a while but really value the work of Imago Therapy and will solely be using this modality going forward. I am an Imago Couples Educator which is a type of relationship therapy for couples that is relentlessly positive. It firstly helps bring couples back to centre and connection around what they appreciate about each other. This is a reminder of why they choose each other, I believe it helps couples come back to friendship in times of romantic trouble and this is the base from which they can grow and evolve their relationship, whilst overcoming the hurdles that hold them back. Practically speaking, I hold couples in a safe space and dialogue so they can create conversations with each other around the things that are holding them back from deeper connection. They don’t speak to me about their issues, they speak to each other and I give them the tools in which to do that so they can overcome whats holding them back from that deep, fulfilling connection that they once had. I’ve seen couples come back together in connection anywhere between sessions 3 and 6 and for others dealing with trickier problems it can take 6 months to 1 year. It depends in how much they are willing to do they work with each other and show up for their relationship. I don’t work with everyone and nor do I want to work with everyone. I only work with couples that commit to doing the work of relationship reconnection with each other, who show just as much commitment to the couples counselling process as they do to each other.
Simona ”Thank you very much Sarah for sharing your insights, experiences and advice. Your precious time is highly appreciated”
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Are you ready to take the next steps in dating and relationships? Do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.