Professional relationship expert, Dr Dalesa Martinez has always been a busy bee working in the marriage and family therapy industry for more than 15 years, but during this last year, she has been buzzing with situationally unique work! Let’s get some insight on her relationship expert findings from the pandemic so far. We got a chance to catch up with her on the topic:

Dr. Dalesa! It is amazing that you have been reviewed as “transformational!” What type of clients do you see and what type of successes do you experience?

I currently see adolescents starting at age 16, adults and couples. Most who are dealing with relationship issues, challenges with anxiety, and other life stressors. The transformation happens because I help them to unpack the “tape that plays” in their head. We all have it; the doubt, fear and anxiety that comes from our past experiences — and even from trauma. We explore the impact that it has had in order to work together to create a completely new story based on the person that they want to be.

Change is a huge struggle and even a fear for some. How would you define “change” and what helps you understand this?

Change happens often not because we want it to, but because it has to. There’s usually some crisis that occurs, even small ones, that put us in a space to feel that change is necessary. Most people think that it shouldn’t be scary, but it IS! Any shift takes us out of our comfort zone, but it is necessary to grow to our next level.

How would you say this pandemic has affected relationships in general?

People have been isolated, and that has been a negative for some and a positive for others. Overall, I believe that the pandemic forced us all to explore some areas of our lives that maybe we weren’t aware of, such as our career, family relationships, friendships, etc. I believe that the positive that came from it is that we learned to recognize that the people we care for may not be there tomorrow, and a lot of us have strengthened relationships with others (and ourselves) as a result.

What would you say to those whose relationships didn’t last during this time?

I’d say be grateful! Just because a relationship did not last doesn’t mean it wasn’t valuable or worth it. Some people may have recognized that a relationship actually wasn’t healthy for them, and that’s always a step in the direction of growth. Others may have experienced heartache or uncertainty, and while this is hard to go through, it is happening FOR you. All of our experiences can be reframed to help us better understand the parts of ourselves that we kept hidden. A loss of a relationship may serve just that purpose.

Many say that they are now going through a lot of big changes all at once that have caused arguments and tension in their relationships. How should they handle this?

Communication is important in any relationship. Spend the extra time that we have finding ways to connect, instead of allowing the tension to take over. Talk to your partner about how overwhelmed you have been feeling, how hard the transitions have been, and then listen intently to how they perceive you. You may find that you are struggling with the same things, just in different ways, and that can help you to create a stronger bond.

If there’s one piece of advice you would give new singles to follow daily, what would it be?

Spend every day loving yourself! There’s a lot of pressure to be a part of a couple, but there is so much value in solitude. People often want relationships to help them to heal from old wounds. I find that the healthiest and happiest relationships have done their healing BEFORE they enter a relationship. Prepare to find your healed partner as a healed partner!

For those relationships that are still going strong, what can you share with them if anything?

Keep it up! Remember why you fell in love in the first place, connect often, take time for one another away from all of life’s stressors, and be there when the stressors arise. If what you’re doing is working, don’t change it, just get better!


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