How to get the best relationship advice - the 'who, what, when and where'

Category: Better Relationships | Author and Publisher: Elly Prior | First published: 09-05-2012 | Modified: 30-04-2019

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You may be looking for quality relationship advice when you simply have some questions that you can’t quite answer by yourself. Or...

Your relationship is already in real trouble. In which case, you'll no doubt want to know what to do about it.

Either way, you'll need good, trustworthy relationship advice.

In this article I'll be signposting you to the best relationship advice, both right here on this site and elsewhere:

  • I'll provide links to my articles with a ton of freely available expert relationship tips and advice for your particular relationship problems.
  • I'll talk to you about potentially free or affordable services - online and  locally to you.
  • I'll also give you links to online (fee based) counselling services for immediate personal advice.

Expert relationship advice regardless of your gender

The articles on my website cover relationship advice for women and men and every expression of gender in between.

I make no distinction as I view gender on a continuum, and each person as a unique individual.

How and where to get the best relationship advice for any relationship issue.The complete guide to getting the best relationship advice

Where to find my expert relationship advice articles

I am a qualified relationship therapist with 24 years' experience. So, I have plenty of resources for you to explore:

And while there’s no dating advice specifically, much of my advice for healthy relationships and good communication skills can be applied to the dating scene too. That knowledge and those skills aren’t just reserved for married couples or partners in a long-term intimate relationship!

Free and affordable relationship advice

There are no two ways about it: relationships are hard! And if you’re struggling (or simply want to become a better partner) you’re to be congratulated for reaching out for advice. It doesn’t matter whether that’s from a professional, or from friends or family.

Free relationship advice

1. Relationship advice forums
There are plenty relationship advice forums available. These come with a health warning though. For example:

  • Once you've placed your story online, it may not always be easily erased.
  • You may not be treated with respect by other forum members who always have a comment to make.
  • Their advice is often based on their personal experience, and their suggestions could be unsuitable for your particular circumstances

2. Charities and organisations with a specific interest
For example, at the end of my article on abusive relationships, you'll find a list of relationship help organisations you can turn to for support.

There are also organisations that offer free information and low-cost services for people with addictions, often including help for family members.

Services such as these are often available locally to you too. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find out more about these services from your health clinic, local library or online.

3. Universities, colleges and employers
Sometimes these institutions and organisations offer free face-to-face counselling, so it's always worth reaching out to see if they can help you. 

You may be interested in why professional counsellors tend not to offer free or low-cost counselling (though some will  offer their services free of charge for a charity).

For further information on therapy - including free (couple) counselling - see my article: How to find a counsellor.

Dalai Lama:

Relationship advice from family or friends

Can you expect to get good relationship advice from someone in your social circle?

Yes, of course you can!

But, tune into your own intuition. You'll know deep down when you're being ill-advised. You’ll probably question the advice you’re being given. You may sense that something's wrong, even if you can't immediately put your finger on it. And watch out for the temptation to go along with their advice just because it's perhaps what you want to hear.

It’s also really important to consider if the advice you've been given is biased or unbiased. I'll explain more about this shortly, but just before that...

Do yourself a favour: don't take any advice from someone (family, friends or relationship forum members) if...

  • they like to gossip;
  • their own relationships lunge from one disaster to another;
  • they treat others - anyone - with contempt;
  • they speak in a derogatory manner about others;
  • they like the sound of their own voice;
  • they can't help but turn any conversation to their own troubles;
  • they're too keen to voice their personal opinion.

These kinds of people will clearly not give you good relationship advice!

Be aware of biased advice on relationships

It's real a gift if you have friends and family members who are great to spend time with, and are really supportive and keen to help.

However, the decisions you make and what happens to you will affect them too. Most of these wonderful people, therefore, are likely to offer you guidance and counsel that is biased (although they might not be conscious of this). That means that their suggestions, relationship tips or warnings are likely to be somewhat coloured by self-interest. In other words, they’re unlikely to give the very best relationship advice for you - however well-meaning, wonderful and kind they are.

So, just be aware that the relationship advice from a family member, friend, colleague or other person in your social circle may not be completely impartial.

People who are not directly involved with you are more likely to be able to offer unbiased  advice. What you decide to do has no bearing on them and they won't be affected, regardless of the outcome of your decisions.

So, where do you go for that kind of counsel?

Finding the best possible relationship help

You may well be fortunate enough to have one of those wonderful souls amongst the people you know who's able to respond to your needs without much of their personal stuff colouring their advice.

These rare individuals will have enough self-awareness to ensure that their perceptions and opinions don't get in the way of the advice and guidance they offer you.

10 Things to look for in the person you turn to for relationship advice

In general, the kind of person - professional or lay - who's likely to be most helpful to you...

  1. has great listening skills (see link further down for more information) and pays attention to you without allowing themselves to be distracted;
  2. is non-judgemental;
  3. won't preach (unless of course you're seeking religious advice);
  4. won't be directive (i.e. telling you what you should or shouldn't do);
  5. will absolutely keep your conversation confidential, unless you're likely to harm yourself or someone else;
  6. will ideally have plenty of life and/or professional experience;
  7. will offer advice or a personal opinion only if asked (professionals are unlikely to offer an opinion, though);
  8. can offer wise counsel and information without any expectation of what you do with their advice;
  9. won't think any less of you if you decide to act against their advice;
  10. won't take over and act on your behalf without you asking them to do so (professional counsellors won't act on your behalf).

Where to get professional relationship advice

Perhaps you've decided to get advice from a professional. It's not always easy to figure out what kind of relationship expert you should look for.

So, here's a list of the various professional services or other resources you might want to turn to:

6 Professional relationship advice services

1. Couple counselling
- that's not only for married couples; it's for anyone in an intimate relationship. In my practice I've counselled many an individual who came for relationship advice. Often, one partner isn't prepared to join the other for relationship counselling.

2. Personal counselling
- if you have issues with relationships in general or would like help with personal problems.

3. Online counselling
- for yourself or both of you. To find out how you can connect with your own online counsellor, see my page: Online Relationship Advice.

4. Relationship coaching
- if the two of you just need a bit of a boost and some ideas on how to improve your relationship.

5. Religious counsel
- for spiritual relationship advice. 

6. Legal advice
- either before you get married, start sharing certain assets, or at the end of a relationship when you decide to separate or divorce (see my article on how to find a lawyer).

Be sure to also read my article on counselling/therapy, where you'll find information about what to look for in a counsellor or therapist.

In addition, there are plenty of books and websites written by professionals (like my website!). So if you don’t want to speak to someone, or pay for a professional service, there are plenty of self-help avenues available to explore.

Another option, and one I highly recommend, is professional hypnosis downloads. These are a super convenient, user-friendly and cost-effective way to get help and help yourself. To find out more about how these work, see my article: Hypnosis Frequently Asked Questions and Downloads. (Incidentally, these are great for dating advice, tips and improving confidence too!)

Finally

When it comes to relationship advice, there’s plenty out there for the taking. To narrow down your options, figure out what’s important to you right now and seek out the help that seems most suitable for your situation. 

For example, if you’re having serious issues and your relationship’s on the rocks, a professional therapist is most likely to be your best bet. If money’s an issue, make use of all the freely available professional  advice on websites like mine. 

If you prefer to talk to someone you know, remember to choose wisely when you’re thinking about who to pick!

A happy, healthy relationship takes work - but getting good relationship advice along the way can really help to make the journey smoother :-)

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Thank you so much in anticipation. :-)

How to get immediate help from a licensed counsellor

Your problem is never too small or too big, too silly, too embarrassing or too complicated to get personal advice (anonymous if you want) from a licensed therapist. They'll be happy to help.

  • Click the image below and answer a few questions about yourself and your situation (it takes just a few minutes).
  • Choose how you want to pay (it's safe and secure).
  • Write down what's troubling you to start (chat, text, email, video-chat)...
Images courtesy of: Daniel Lee, Symphony of Love