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Relationship Check Ins

How many of us walk around ruminating on the things that we aren’t telling our partner? This happens often for many women. Not bringing up the little things and even the big ones sometimes. Many of us do this for fear of upsetting our partner, for fear of their response. This can be because either we learnt to be a ‘good girl’ and not complain or ask for too much. This comes from much of the conditioning women experience about staying silent not being ‘too much’ and not ‘being difficult’.


It’s also because when we have brought something in the past and our partners have been defensive, become angry, shifted it back onto us or dismiss our concerns as not important or trivial, we have learnt that it isn’t safe to share. So we hold onto it all. We learn to shut down. We learn to hold it in. We learn to disconnect from our emotions and our sensations in our body. We teach ourselves not to feel and for many women this can turn into anxiety. Anxiety which then manifests in other areas of our lives and we can become over worried or concerned about things not even related to our relationships. Another way we react is through passive aggressive comments which can belittle and emasculate our partners.


For men the situation feels different. Quite often a woman’s shares can feel out of the blue. They had no idea that the share was coming and often leaves them feeling ‘where did that come from?’ Especially when it’s a share that they hear in the middle of conflict which they often reflect to themselves that they didn’t even remember the details and didn’t realise it was a thing.


Conditioned to not to ask for help, not to share or be vulnerable. Encouraged to problem solve and fix, encouraged to ‘get on with it’. Men’s self-worth becomes attached to what they achieve and get done. They can be completely disconnected from their own emotional experience. So for men it can be two things - first the disconnection from one’s own body, sensations and emotional experience means they are unable to be grounded and present for another’s emotional experience and choose to withdraw, project or shut it down. Second because their sense of self-worth is so highly connected to achievement, anything which they interpret as ‘doing wrong’ or ‘being bad’ they internalise it to mean there is something wrong with them and they can often experience huge amounts of shame. Again, leading to responses which are less than supportive and nurturing and in some cases they are explosive.


The benefits of check ins are that for women it creates that space where they can share. That they know they will be listened to. It’s a dedicated space. For men, they know it’s coming and can ensure that they feel in a place to receive feedback or requests. This doesn’t mean that the space is just for women. I often encourage men to also explore what it is they want differently in their relationship or to understand how a specific interaction felt and share it with their partner.


What women often find is these shares create a deeper connection of feeling understood, heard and valued. Once men begin the process and learning of sharing, they too recognise that it also feels good.


Sharing enables deeper connection and therefore intimacy which translates even further into areas such as the bedroom as it creates a container of trust.


If you are employed or employ people, it’s likely that on a regular basis you will receive/give an appraisal or supervision from your line manager/to staff. We understand the benefits at work, however, oftentimes we overlook that what can work in the business context, can also be supportive in our relationships, and this includes checking in with each other about how we feel, what our experience was of a certain situation or if there is something we need right now from the other.


Sometimes it isn’t always possible to have difficult conversations. Sometimes we avoid having them to upset the other person or because it isn’t the right time. What can happen is this unresolved hurt, concern or request goes unspoken. So we hold onto it and in this way resentment can build. Why it’s important to ‘complain’ is explained in the additional resources section at the bottom.


Due to our own woundings we can often fall into the trap that when we experience conflict, upset or feel like some need isn’t being met that we make assumptions about the other person’s intentions. Having a relationship check in to share where and why we got upset, understanding what it meant about us (core wound) means we can get vulnerable without projecting back onto the other.


If something happens in a particular moment that needs addressing in that moment then it can be important to bring it up, eg if your partner speaks to you in an unkind way, setting a boundary in the moment about how you will be spoken to. If their nervous system is activated and they are struggling to calm down, sharing more around that experience, how it feels, finding a solution for you both to do differently in these situations can be written down and saved for a relationship check in.


There are some other reasons why relationship check-ins can be really supportive to your relationship:

  • Communication - relationship check-ins enable open and honest communication between you both. They provide a dedicated time and space for discussion concerns, sharing feelings and addressing any issues that may arise.

  • Understanding - they help each partner gain a deeper understanding of the other’s needs, desires and feelings. By actively listening and empathising, couples can strengthen their emotional connection and build a more solid foundation for their relationship.

  • Conflict resolution - addressing issues early on can prevent them from escalating into larger problems. They allow couples to resolve conflicts constructively, finding compromises and solutions that work for both parties.

  • Reassurance - life is full of changes and uncertainties which can sometimes cause insecurity in relationship. Regular check-ins provide reassurance and reaffirmation of love, commitment and support, helping partners feel more secure and valued.

  • Maintaining connection - in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy for coupes to become disconnected or drift apart. Scheduled check-ins serve as a reminder to prioritise the relationship and carve out time for each other amidst busy schedules.

  • Growth and development - relationships are dynamic and constantly evolving. Check-ins offer opportunities for personal and relational growth by reflecting on past experiences, setting goals for the future, identifying areas for improvement.


If you and your partner are finding communication a sticking point in your relationship, if you feel like passing ships in the night, if you feel that there are many things left unsaid and feeling quite lonely you may benefit from starting a weekly check in process.


If you’re curious about how to go about doing a relationship check in, reach out at hello@carlacrivaro.com and I can email over to you the relationship check in sheet my clients receive. It is completely free, I’ll ask you some questions first so I can establish if there are any other documents I have which may also be worth sending over to you. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Carla Crivaro is a trauma-informed and certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, she works with men and women internationally to reach their goals in delicious sex, profound love and authentic relationships. Carla helps men and women understand themselves and each other, sexually and relationally, in and out of the bedroom. You can reach her at hello@carlacrivaro.com.


Other resources which are supportive around this topic are:


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