Parenting through Rise-filtered glasses
As a new parent, you might find yourself cut off from some of your usual social outlets, stuck at home for long stretches of time with only the baby for company. At this time, family and friends can be more important than ever, providing support and advice to boost your confidence and help get you through the tougher days. If your friends and family live far away, or if you don’t have face-to-face access, online social media can help you and your partner feel more connected to the outside world. Emotional support and positive feedback from other parents can also be invaluable as you figure things out [1] [2]. Social media can give you access to this, but it also helps you stay in touch with old friends who keep you connected to the parts of your life outside your parenting role [3]. Beating loneliness with online social interaction Your baby is always going to be your first priority, but these other social connections are important. As humans, we need to have meaningful relationships with each other – when we disconnect socially it can affect our health, making us more stressed and more likely to get sick, and affecting our sleep and concentration [3]. Social media can help you feel less isolated but it’s important to pay attention to the way you use it. Parents who actively engage with friends on social media tend to feel less stressed and more positive about their role as parents [2] but people who just spend more time on social media without engaging tend to feel more isolated, not less [3]. The difference here is between use and interaction. We’ve all spent time staring into our phones, refreshing our social media feeds in the hope that something new will come up. But this isn’t going to help you feel more connected when you’re knee-deep in baby wipes waiting for your partner to come home. You’ve got to reach out and engage with people if you want to experience the positive effects of social media. Turning off the filters It’s also important to keep some perspective on what you see through the lens of social media. We all know that Facebook life isn’t real life, and that nobody ever looks as good as they do on Instagram, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of seeing things through Rise-filtered glasses and believing everybody on social media is having a better time than you.  If social media is your only window into your friends’ lives, you might start thinking they are living happier, more connected lives than you [3]. Try to remember that you’re only seeing an edited glimpse of what your friends want the rest of the world to see. When your social networks start making you feel worse instead of better, take a step back and have a think about who you could reach out to for a chat. It’s the social aspect of social networks that’s valuable, so the next time you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through posts, send a message instead – ask for advice, vent your feelings, or just tell someone a funny story about your day. The empathy, advice and humour that you come across online can give you a life-affirming confidence boost and make you feel better about how you’re getting on as a parent [4]. You might even want to start by making a post here on Click.   References [1] Madge C., O’Connor H. (2006). Parenting gone wired: Empowerment of new mothers on the Internet? Social and Cultural Geography, 7, 199–220.[2] Bartholomew, M. K., Schoppe‐Sullivan, S. J., Glassman, M., Kamp Dush, C. M., & Sullivan, J. M. (2012). New parents' Facebook use at the transition to parenthood. Family relations, 61(3), 455-469.[3] Primack, B.A. et al (2017) Social Media Use and Perceived Social Isolation Among Young Adults in the U.S. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 53(1), 1-8.[4] Fletcher, R., & St. George, J. (2011). Heading into fatherhood—nervously: Support for fathering from online dads. Qualitative Health Research, 21(8), 1101-1114.
Article | social media, parenting
6 min read
Children’s loyalty issues after separation
Children face difficult loyalty conflicts when forced to choose between their parents. If being close to one parent means being disloyal to the other, children can feel stuck in the middle. Trying to choose between two parents they love can feel like an impossible situation. It’s often hard for parents to spot loyalty conflicts. Most parents just want to do what’s in the child’s best interests, but their perceptions of this can be clouded by feelings about the other parent. As a result, loyalty conflicts are often caused by unconscious behaviour and subtle messages from parents, and are usually unintended.  How to recognise loyalty conflicts If your child is frequently upset at handovers, seems unwilling to visit the other parent, or even refuses to go, they may be experiencing divided loyalties. Your child’s feelings are heavily influenced by your relationship with your ex-partner. This relationship is likely to be complicated, especially in the early days when you are still working things out. As co-parents, it’s important for you and your ex to have an ongoing relationship. You may need to address some of the following issues: Competition. Your children matter more to you than anything else in the world, and it can feel wonderful to know how much you mean to them. You may instinctively want to try and prove that you’re a better parent than your ex, but this can be confusing and worrying for your children. Remember that it’s best for the children when both of you are on top of your parenting game. Insecurity. If you are already the children’s main carer, separation can feel like a challenge to your role. You might feel like you have more of a right than the other parent to raise your children. It might even feel like your ex is suddenly putting effort into spending time with the children when they didn’t before – this can feel particularly threatening. Anger. It’s common to feel angry during and after a separation and there may be a part of you that wants to punish your ex. However reasonable this feels, it’s essential for your children’s happiness that you leave them out of your disputes. Don’t use your children as bargaining chips, and don’t expecting them to share your anger. Control. You will have to relinquish some control when your children spend time with their other parent. This might make you anxious, but it’s best for the children if you avoid criticising the other parent’s way of doing things. Children are generally good at adapting to different house rules and parenting styles but it can be difficult for them if their parents try to undermine each other. If you there are no immediately obvious reasons why your child is experiencing difficulties, it’s possible there’s a loyalty conflict. Give your children permission to be as close to the other parent as they are to you. Watch out for the hidden messages that children pick up on, and make sure you and your ex are doing as much as possible to make sure your children are comfortable and happy in both homes. Separated partners tend to reassess each other in the light of their relationship breakdown. If your ex has hurt you and disappointed you, you may feel that they’re untrustworthy, selfish, uncaring, irresponsible, and whatever else comes to mind. But it is important to remember that this assessment is about your ex as a partner, and not as a parent. Hard as it may be, try to focus on their good points as a parent. Remember that this is how your children see them, and try to separate your feelings from your children’s. Talking this through with a friend or a counsellor could help you to find new ways of adapting to being a single parent. If you and your ex are struggling to agree the arrangements for your children, a family mediator can support you in deciding what’s best for them.
Article | children, parenting apart
5 min read
Jealousy and affairs
Most of us experience feelings of jealousy in our relationship from time to time. Sometimes, it’s just a fleeting feeling that’s easy enough to let go of; other times, jealousy can take hold, settle in, and turn to anxiety. Mild feelings of jealousy can be useful. A little bit of jealousy might remind you not to take your partner for granted – but when jealousy won’t let go, it can become extreme or obsessive. Jealousy, left unchecked, can ruin a relationship. Where does jealousy come from? Often, it's linked to something in your past which has left you with a sense of insecurity. If you're insecure in your relationship and very dependent on your partner, then you may have more triggers and be more likely to become jealous. You may find it helpful to explore where your feelings of insecurity come from. If it’s something you’re able to identify, try to accept and own it. Have an honest conversation with your partner about your insecurities, and explain that you’re trying to work through them. Affairs People have affairs for a variety of reasons. It isn’t always about sex, but an affair is usually a sign that something in the relationship is not right. An affair is a breach of trust between partners. Trust is essential in any relationship, and it's often taken for granted. Finding out that your partner has had an affair can be a huge shock. If your partner has had an affair, you may feel insecure and jealous for a long time. You may choose to end the relationship but if you and your partner both want to try and repair the damage, it’s likely to take some time before you feel confident in your partner again. There’s no set time on how long it will take to rebuild your relationship, but it is possible to recover if you’re both willing to move on from the affair and work on the underlying issues. Many relationships do survive affairs and can sometimes end up being stronger over time. As time passes, trust can be restored and you may find yourself feeling more secure in your relationship. An affair will nearly always bring about a change in a relationship, but it doesn't always spell the end.
Article | jealousy, trust
3 min read
The Leaver and the Left
When you and your partner reach the decision to separate, you may both be in very different places, emotionally and psychologically. Although people go through similar stages of adjustment, couples often go through them at different times and with different degrees of intensity. Understanding how this affects you can help you to avoid some of the common misunderstandings that arise during this difficult stage. The Leaver The Leaver is the person who initiates the split. They are likely to have been unhappy in the relationship for a long time before the separation. During this time, the Leaver typically goes through stages of dissatisfaction, sadness and worry as they detach themselves emotionally from the relationship. By the time the split happens, the Leaver has already worked through much of the emotional loss of the relationship, and is able to move on from the breakup much more quickly than their partner. They may experience great guilt and sadness, but there will also be a degree of relief. Significantly, when the separation happens, the Leaver is several miles down the road of adjustment to this major change in their life. The Left The Left, on the other hand, may have had no idea that the relationship was in such trouble. They might accept that the relationship is not perfect but still feel that there is time to work on things, or that the relationship is just going through a difficult stage. The Left’s reaction may be shock, disbelief, and anger. They may still hold some hope for reconciliation. Their life has been turned upside down and the process of adjusting psychologically and emotionally to the separation is only just beginning. Significantly, they are at the start of a road that they did not choose to walk down. What this all means The Leaver, who is psychologically prepared to move on, may not understand why the Left is so emotional. They may be disappointed that their offer of friendship is being rejected. They may complain that their ex is not accepting the reality and getting on with things. They may become frustrated and impatient for decisions to start being made about the future. For the Left, however, this emotional stage can be far more intense and is likely to last longer. The Left may feel that their ex is cold and unfeeling and that their distress is not being acknowledged. They may have lots of questions to ask about why the relationship has ended which they are not getting answers to. Their feelings of rejection can be intensified if they sense that their ex wants to move on quickly. They may feel that they are being forced into thinking about issues that they are not yet ready to deal with. It’s too painful for them to move on, and they may need some time alone to adjust. Misunderstanding each other’s different emotional states can lead to communication problems, adding further complication to an already difficult situation. Whether you are the Leaver or the Left, give yourself the space you need to move on, and remember that your ex-partner is going through an experience very different to your own.
Article | breakups, big changes
4 min read
“Prevented from seeing my son”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I am a single dad who has an almost 6-month-old son. His mother and I are not in a relationship. My son was the unexpected result of a short casual affair. DNA proved that he is my son and I have been paying maintenance. I have also formed a relationship with him and love him very much. I have been seeing him several times a week without his mother and have also had him stay overnight once. His mother is a good mother to him but she has now decided to stop me seeing him and has said I have to apply legally to see him. There is no good reason for this. I am a good father, I do not drink, smoke or am abusive or violent. She has also said I will be able to see him only in a Supervised Contact Centre until he is 6 years old. Is this correct? I am sure she has stopped me seeing my son because she wanted to get back with me into a relationship which for various reasons I do not want. I do not have Parental Rights yet as the mother has refuse to sign the form giving me these rights. I now have to apply to the courts. I feel that for my son to have a Birth Certificate which says Father Unknown is unfair to him . I have booked a Mediation Appointment. Can anyone advise me on what visitation rights I may be able to have. My boy is missing out on a loving extended family situation.
Ask the community | contact
Deciding who will stay home with the baby
When your child is born, the decision around who will stay at home and who will return to work can be a tricky one. If an assumption has been made that you will be the one staying home on full-time caring duties – perhaps because of traditional roles, or because your partner has a higher paid job – it might not necessarily be what you had in mind. While it may make sense financially, and while you may want to support your partner’s career, it’s possible you’ll still have reservations about being a stay-at-home parent. Exploring the options It may be that the decision makes so much sense financially that you feel like you don’t have a choice. This could make you feel trapped or uncomfortable. If it has felt like a forced or assumed decision, try explaining to your partner how you feel. The first step is to open up a conversation, so you can explore different options rather than assuming you will be the one to stay at home. Using language like “I feel like” rather than “You make me feel”, can really help here. Draw up a few plans together to see how things might play out if your partner stays home and you return to work, or consider some compromises, like reducing your hours and sharing childcare. You may discover that your partner is more willing than you expected to look at the alternatives. Wanting to keep working If you love your job or are invested in building a career, it may be that finances aren’t the only consideration. Consider your partner’s point of view too if the situation is reversed. Find a calm moment where you can talk freely and establish an agreement to hear each other out properly. Put your child’s needs first and decide what is really going to be best. Once you and your partner agree on who is going to be the main carer, establish some ground rules about how it’s going to work. Talk about how the working parent would like to be involved too – video calls at lunch time, bedtime stories after work, weekend outings, or whatever works. A non-traditional upbringing The phrase ‘primary carer’ just means the parent who stays at home with the child or spends the most time with the child. Like many parents, you or your partner may feel that mums are better as primary carers and dads are better at providing, ie putting food on the table [1]: One survey revealed that the majority of parents (76% of mothers, 56% of fathers) say that the mother has primary responsibility for childcare at home [2]. This is a popular view, but it’s not necessarily true. Traditions are already changing – as many as one in five dads are insole charge of childcare at some point during their week and dads represent one in ten of all parents who stay at home to care for their children full time [3]. Many dads, including those who have a primary caring role, still feel the weight of society’s pressure to conform to a traditional role of breadwinner [4], but studies have shown that fathers can be just as good as mothers in giving care and responding to their children’s needs [5]. There is no evidence to suggest that children will have a better start in life with a more traditional setup [6]. Whichever of you is going to be the primary carer may need some support and encouragement. Nobody is a perfect parent right away but talking things through can help provide a reassuring confidence boost. After all, whatever the setup, you’re both learning together.   References [1] Jordan (2009) [2] EHRC, (2009) [3] Lammy, (2013) [4] Doucet & Lee, (2014) [5] Kovner Kline & Wilcox, (2014) [6] Cabrera, et al., (2007)
Article | parenting, work
“Saving my marriage”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   My husband of 18 years has threatened separation/divorce because he feels we argue too much. While I don't agree with “too much” I feel what we argue about is stupid. We have 3 beautiful boys and we love each other deeply, have a connection and we are best friends. However, as of late our arguments have gotten too much. It's the same thing over and over again. He has turned off google maps on his phone and when I asked him about it he says it feels like he's on a leash if I know where he is at all times. Thing is... where could he be if he's at work all day? Sometimes he leaves for lunch just to get out for fresh air, go to the store or whatnot. No big deal. I am only left to wonder if he wants to do something he shouldn't so I won't find out. The only reason I want the maps on is for peace of mind if he suddenly cannot contact me/broke down and etc... I only use it for those reasons and nothing else. He has said he is not comfortable with me knowing where he is when I already know where he is--work, store and whatnot. So what's the big deal? I have peace of mind knowing he can see my maps when I am out and about with the kids or alone at night as I sometimes have to do shopping when he gets home from work. If he has nothing to hide he should not see an issue with this but he does. I have asked him what's the real reason you don't want me to see your maps and he says he doesn't know. As I stated we both love each other very much and can see each other spending the rest of our lives together and growing old. We are happy except for when we argue but cannot get past this and it would be a ridiculous reason to divorce!
Ask the community | communication, arguments
Sex during pregnancy
During your pregnancy, sex can become a complicated issue. Your desire can decrease, your discomfort can increase, and you might just lose interest altogether. Or, you might still be in the mood but find that your partner is backing off! All of this is perfectly normal and very common. Sexual enjoyment tends to decline as pregnancy goes on. Around 22-50% of pregnant women find intercourse painful and many women find it difficult to orgasm. It’s normal for your libido to decline too, largely to the change in hormones, and feeling sick, tired and physically uncomfortable [1]. And, as your body changes, you might just feel less sexy. This is particularly likely during the later stages of pregnancy, when you’re all achy and bloated. About a quarter to a half of pregnant women feel less attractive than before, and only 12% feel more attractive [1]. Giving it a go If you do feel up to having sex, there’s no reason you shouldn’t give it a go. For the majority of healthy pregnant women and their partners, sex is perfectly safe, even in the last few weeks before you give birth [1]. If you’re not sure whether it’s OK, seek advice from your doctor or midwife but, if you do want to have a go, give yourself time to be in the mood, and accept that it might take longer than usual. It’s possible that your partner will be reluctant, which can be frustrating. However, don’t assume that it’s from a lack of desire, or a loss of sexual attraction. One possible reason for hesitancy is a fear of harming the baby, which inhibits at least a quarter of male partners, and a quarter to half of expectant mothers [1]. Talk to your partner. Have an open and honest conversation about how you both feel right now. If your partner admits that they’re feeling funny about sex, try not to get annoyed or take it personally – you won’t be pregnant forever! If you’re feeling a bit insecure, make it clear that you are learning to adjust to your changing body and that, even if sex is off the table, a little TLC would be appreciated. Finding other ways to feel close If you really don’t want to have sex, don’t force yourself. Be honest with your partner, offer reassurance that it’s not a personal rejection, and ask for the support you need. It might be helpful to discuss this article, and reassure yourselves that these are common adjustments that couples face during pregnancy. If you’re feeling icky and your partner tries to reassure you that you look beautiful, accept the compliment and choose to believe them. Lots of people find their partners especially attractive when they’re carrying their child. Finding other ways of being intimate that aren’t sexual – like hugging, kissing, and massage – can help you bond when sex isn’t available. Just spending quality time together can help you maintain a sense of closeness. And remember that you won’t feel like this forever. Though there will be new challenges for your sex life when your baby comes along, the physical changes you’re experiencing during pregnancy should return to normal about three months after the birth. Some women even experience more intense orgasms than they did before [1].   References [1] Von Sydow, K. (2000). Sexuality during pregnancy and after childbirth: A meta-analysis of 59 studies. Reproductive Health Matters, 8 (15), 183. doi:10.1016/s0968-8080(00)90068-5
Article | pregnancy, parenting together
4 min read
Sex after giving birth
If you weren’t having much sex during your pregnancy, you may be looking forward to getting things back on track. But, for many couples, it can take a while to get things back to normal after the birth. Your body might take some time to return to a state where sex feels OK. This is a common experience for many women after giving birth: Following birth only 10-15% of new parents don’t experience any problems at all. Mothers and fathers commonly feel worried about resuming having sex [1]. 13 months after the birth, 22% were still having problems sexually [2]. Try to accept that it’s normal to need time. Even when you’ve recovered physically, you might not feel in the mood, or you might be slow to be turned on. Give yourself a chance and don't pressure on yourself to bounce back, even if your partner is keen to be intimate. Remember that there are other ways to be sexual besides penetrative sex and, if those are still off the table, focus on improving the quality of your time together, giving each other lots of cuddles and affection, or just having meaningful conversations. Feeling guilty about not feeling sexy   Despite the understanding that your body is still going through a lot, you may still feel guilty for not being in the mood or not feeling able to satisfy your partner. Even if your partner isn’t expressing any disappointment over the lack of sex or changes in your sex life, it’s common to be worried about how things might be perceived from the other end. One study of women who had recently had children showed that: 57%... were worried about the sexual satisfaction of their spouse following the birth of their child [2]. If you’re carrying guilt around with you, it might be a good idea to talk this over with your partner and remind yourselves that you’re not alone – only 14% of women and 12% of men report having no sexual problems after giving birth [2].   If you’re not up for having sex, let your partner know that you still desire him, but that you just need a bit more time. It may be difficult for your partner to understand the effects that such drastic body changes can have on your confidence. Taking the time and effort to explain, can help put your partner in a better position to show sensitivity and help build up your confidence. Be descriptive of your own feelings, and ask him to be mindful of them.  It will probably help to have the conversation with your partner beforehand. Explain why you don’t want sex at the moment, and what you can offer at this time. Sex may not be as high on your partner’s priority list as you think, but asking about it can be a great opener to discussing how you’re feeling and what you’re worried about. The conversation may even help put you at ease. If physical intimacy is your partner’s preferred way to express love, it doesn’t necessarily have to mean sex. People who express love physically while still appreciate a stroke of the hair as you walk past, or a surprise cuddle while they are doing the washing up. Hugs, snuggles on the bed, hand-holding, massages – these will all help a physical person feel loved at a time when you don’t feel up to having sex.   References [1] Sagiv-Reiss, D.M., Birnbaum, G.E. & Safir, M.P (2012). Changes in Sexual Experiences and Relationship Quality During Pregnancy. Archives of Sexual Behavior. October 2012, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 1241–1251 [2] Von Sydow, K. (2000). Sexuality during pregnancy and after childbirth: A meta-analysis of 59 studies. Reproductive Health Matters, 8(15), 183. doi:10.1016/s0968-8080(00)90068-5
Article | sex, parenting together
4 min read
Sex with a pregnant partner
Since finding out she was pregnant, your partner might have been reacting to you differently during sex, or avoiding intimacy altogether. It might seem like she’s aroused less often or less attracted to you. Aside from simply missing something that you enjoy, sex an important way to feel closer to your partner. Without it, you may worry that you will struggle to stay close. While it might feel like it, a lack of sex during pregnancy is not a personal rejection. A quarter of new dads say they’re worried that their partner may no longer be interested in having sex [1] but it’s important to recognise that a decrease in sex during pregnancy is normal, and not your fault. Less sex during pregnancy is normal Your partner may be experiencing a decline in libido. This is very common during a time of changing hormones and physical discomfort like backache and water retention. Bear in mind that 22-50% of pregnant women experience painful intercourse, and reaching orgasm becomes progressively more difficult as pregnancy goes on [b]. Sex may have become a stressful experience for your partner. On top of this, about a quarter to a half of pregnant women feel less attractive during pregnancy, and only 12% feel more attractive [2], so your partner may just not be feeling as physically confident as she’d like to. Be open and honest with your partner. Talk about your concerns and tell her that you want to be supportive. If she is worried about her changing body, you can reassure her that you still find her desirable, but the most important thing is to respect her needs and desires. If she is experiencing a loss of libido, remember that this has nothing to do with you as a sexual partner. It might be helpful to discuss this article with her – talk about how these are common changes that couples face all the time during pregnancy. Can sex during pregnancy harm your baby? Up to half of women and at least a quarter of men worry that having sex during pregnancy will harm the baby in some way [2]. From a medical point of view, there is no reason to ‘forbid’ sex for the majority of healthy pregnant women and their partners, even in the last weeks before the birth [2]. If you’re not sure whether you fit into this category, seek advice from your doctor or midwife. Remember also that anxiety around sex isn’t always rational, and your partner may find it difficult to shake the fear. If that’s the case, try other ways of being intimate. You may find that other kinds of sexual activity that don’t involve vaginal penetration are a bit easier but, if not, things like hugging, kissing or massage can all help you feel closer to each other. Looking to the future Don’t expect things to pick back up again too soon after the birth. Your partner will need time to recover, and you might soon sense another obstacle to your sex life – fatigue. Irregular sleeping patterns, feeding schedules, nappy changes, and constant attention to the baby will probably continue to get in the way of your sex life. You might want to consider asking a family member or close friend to take care of the child for a while so you and your partner can spend some time together as a couple. If you’re used to having spontaneous sex, this might seem a little too regulated, but it might be a start. Finally, try to remind yourself that it’s not forever. As your child settles into more regular patterns of sleep, you’ll begin to find that there are more chances to be intimate without being interrupted by a crying baby.   References [1] Houlston, C., Coleman, L. Milford, L., Platts, N., Mansfield, P. (2013). Sleep, sex and sacrifice: The transition to parenthood, a testing time for relationships? OnePlusOne. Retrieved from: http://www.oneplusone.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Sleep-Sex-and-Sacrifice-OPO-report-FINAL-embargoed-until-29-May-2013.pdf [2] Von Sydow, K. (2000). Sexuality during pregnancy and after childbirth: A meta-analysis of 59 studies. Reproductive Health Matters, 8(15), 183. doi:10.1016/s0968-8080(00)90068-5
Article | pregnancy, parenting together
5 min read
“My man has four kids and I do everything”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   For the past 12 months I have looked after my partner 100% as well as his kids. I do it all! He has paid for a few holidays for me, bought me some clothes and then tells me "well my ex gf paid for her own trips" I said yes, but she also hated your kids... He has told me plenty of times a nanny would be cheaper. He says I am still not enough in this relationship as he expects me to dedicate 100% of my time and I'm not allow to start my own business as it means I am working outside this family... He says that his income comes in and he is either working to pay for this family OR spending time with me and the kids... He thinks that the 5 schools days they are not home I am not allowed to spend on my business. He also says the fact I am broke is my own problem... I have now (i dont know why I didn't check this earlier) found out that nannies doing my work in this area WITHOUT cooking and cleaning for the man get $400+ board+food .... It works out that he has given me $200 per week and put me down for being broke and that he pays for me for everything. So I told him today I want the money per week as a nanny and he said I am being ridiculous, that I am his girlfriend and should ask for money. So I just sent him the following and I am waiting for his reply. Am I wrong? 1. “all of me, all of you” - Provide me €300 per week I will continue as I have been and provide €20,000 in a bank account in case we break up. My hours extra outside current home duties will be discussed and what my time spent on can be agreed on so you feel “connected”. If we become engaged and another contract is agree then that €20,000 goes back to joint account. If I start making an income in the outside work we agree on then the €300 stops. And we can discuss the amount of my income I put back into the family. If we have a child this amount becomes a new discussion. 2. Provide me with €400pw and I continue doing exactly as I have. I currently dedicate 4 days to this family and my extra days can be doing what I want without judgment from you. 3. We sort out my financial independence of €9000 based on the time I have already dedicated into this family, I will move out and my future financial situation is my own issue. Then we can the start dating and we can meet for dinners when you don't have the kids, and I will physically pay my half of holidays with my own money. I can come and hang out with the kids and sometimes spend the night, and as your girlfriend I can help you out with the kids for pickups and if you travel. I will be there for the kids in the same loving way except we don't need to be worried about who thinks they do more. At that stage any help we provide each other will be fair and done out of love. 4. I can leave now, we can clear this up with €9000 for my time into this family that I dedicated. If you choose this I will walk away and make no dramas and we just end things nicely.
Ask the community | stepfamily, arguments, finance
“Moving on after a breakup”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I met someone who made me feel so loved and special when they met me. At that time, I was so confident and full of happy prospects in my life. They came into my life and became so attached to me. It was the first time that I received so much affection and attention from someone, and I easily reciprocated. I cared, went out of my way, and gave them my all. Two years later, it seems I have given too much that I no longer know myself. My priorities are always second to theirs. I could always wait for them even when they never waited for me. Despite taking me for granted and making me feel so isolated, I always go back to give and forgive them even more. How did I end up to be the one who is more attached? This person only thinks of me when they are lonely. Our last conversation ended when I told them that they had completely forgotten me, and I will forget them too from now on. They responded ‘ok’ and left. I regret expressing my foolishness, as if it mattered whether they would approve my decision or not. To be honest, it doesn’t hurt me that they left as much as they coldly obliged to it. Were they just waiting for this moment? Was I such a horrible person to be with? I can barely imagine the confident and happy person that I was before I met them. I feel so caved in, antisocial and unconfident in my own shoes, as if I have failed so much. My abilities to work or operate other aspects in life has also decreased drastically. I just needed to express that here, in case someone could share their wisdom with me. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
Ask the community | ex-partner
“My husband doesn't trust me”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   So my husband and I have been together for 13 years now. We have two beautiful girls (age 6, 7). We’ve had our ups and downs, and managed through tough times. However I’m starting to think more and more I’m just living a life that he expects me to live. Since the time we’ve been together I’ve made tons of compromises to help him with his mistrust and jealosy: I’ve stopped using make up because he said guys keep staring at you, I’ve stopped to dress how I want and every time asked for his approval on clothes, I communicated with him every minute of the day where I was, etc... So now 13 years later, I’m still doing it. With me being a mom, trying to please my husbands jealosy, I’ve lost myself and exhausted. So today I feel like it is s last Dora, I returned from my business trip after not being home 4 days, he was not happy that I went of course. Besides him being mean to me almost every time I called to speak with kids he texted after I let him know I’m driving back from the airport, he said “Just let me know when you are five minutes out, so I can leave the house. I cannot see you now and not be mad at you for going on the trip”. He said “Return to your kids and take care of them”. I do not choose to go on the trip, it is my job.
Ask the community | trust
Money troubles while pregnant
When you and your partner are expecting a baby, the pressure you’re under can cause regular issues and arguments to be amplified. Arguments about money are particularly common during pregnancy, partly because of changes to working arrangements, and partly because of the extra expense of having a baby. A stressful time of life Many couples (around 40-67%) experience a drop in relationship quality, usually from the start of pregnancy until the child is around 15 months old. Everyone is different, but that’s generally when things start to feel a bit better again. Set some ground rules about what you will do next time an argument breaks out. You may want to decide to take a break from the conversation and return to it when you’re both feeling calmer. Try saying something like, “Can we talk about this again once we’ve calmed down a bit?” If you’re really struggling to reach compromises, our online course “How to argue better” might help. Try to avoid having these discussions in public places where the money pressures feel prevalent, like in the supermarket, or the bank. It’s usually much easier to resolve things privately in your own home. Making a budget You may both have different ideas about spending and saving. A budget can be very helpful in bringing you together to plan for the day to day. Budgets are especially useful if you intend to reduce your working hours.  You may also find that existing money problems that you’ve managed to keep on the back burner are suddenly coming into focus. Whatever stage you’re at, it’s never too late to start planning. If you’re not sure how to get started with a budget, you can find a free planner and some online guides through the Money Advice Service. Include work and childcare in your discussions and think about any new expenses. If you’ve never been parents before, you may want to sit down with some friends who’ve recently had babies and ask them to list all the things you’ll need to buy. Your midwife can help with that too. Find out your entitlements You may not know what benefits or state-funded support you’re entitled to. Benefits and financial support can be tricky because they are liable to change over time and will depend on your circumstances. Check out Citizens Advice and the Money Advice Service, who will be able to talk through your budget and help you learn what you are entitled to. You may be entitled to grants such as Healthy Start or the Sure Start Maternity Grant to help cover the basics and support you with essential one-off costs, or longer-term support like tax credits towards childcare costs, and Child Benefit. You can find out what you are entitled to using a free online benefits calculator, such as entitledto or Turn2Us. Finally, be honest with yourselves and kind to each other and you’ll significantly improve the chances of talking about money without an argument.
Article | pregnancy, finance
4 min read
Adjusting to an unplanned pregnancy
Couples that plan for pregnancy are often mentally and emotionally prepared for it when it happens. If you weren’t trying for a baby, you’ll have to adjust much quicker to this life-changing news. Feeling overwhelmed It may be a while before you can take it all in. When you’re overwhelmed by news that shocks you or changes your outlook on the world, it can feel like your thoughts and feelings are out of control. Before you start considering your options, take some time to think through how you feel. Try not to get too caught up with how you’re supposed to feel. Just be honest with yourself and, when you’re ready, regroup with your partner to talk it through. Try to cast off any guilt and try not to judge each other. This conversation is likely to be emotionally charged, so be gentle and sensitive. Avoid making absolute statements like, “This is never going to work” and, if things get heated, take a break from the conversation and return after you’ve both calmed down. Take the time and effort to listen to your partner’s point of view. Even if you disagree, it’s important that you are both heard and understood. When it feels too soon in your relationship Research has shown that couples deal with challenges better when they’ve had time to bond as a couple and build up a sense of togetherness. If your relationship is still new, you may not feel like you have that connection yet [1]. Having a baby together is a big commitment, and both of you will want to feel confident that your relationship is strong enough to take it on. Talk with your partner about the kind of relationship you both want for the future. Having these conversations can help build a sense of togetherness, and you might discover that your relationship has compatibility and long-term potential. Feeling unready to be a parent You may not feel ready because of practical things like lifestyle changes or financial security. Or the reason could be more deep-rooted. If, for example, your relationship with your own parents was a struggle, then you may be worried about repeating that relationship with your own child. Sit down with your partner and unpick what could be influencing how you feel. Explain that you’re still trying to understand your own reactions and feelings, and that you’re just looking for support to explore things. Lots of mums and dads will tell you that the feeling of being ‘ready’ never really kicks in. Feeling this way just means you’re taking it seriously and want to get it right. Remember that your partner is there to support you in your role as a parent – you’re not expected to figure everything out by yourself. You can help each other to learn how to be parents. Remember that while you are both adjusting to your new roles, you are still two individuals in a relationship together. Make a conscious effort to talk about things other than the pregnancy. Taking time for yourself to keep in touch with friends and maintain hobbies can help you feel like more than just a parent.   References [1] Reynolds, J. (2008). Supporting Couple Relationships: A Sourcebook for Practitioners. OnePlusOne http://www.oneplusone.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Supporting-Couple-Relationships-Sourcebook-For-Practitioners.pdf
Article | pregnancy, stress
4 min read
The pressure of becoming a father
If your partner has high expectations of you as a new father, it can put a lot of pressure on your journey into parenthood. High expectations Sometimes people expect their partners to make them happy. This is a lot of responsibility for one person, and it can become a heavy burden. If you’ve experienced that kind of pressure from your partner, you might also have experienced a sense of failure when they become disappointed or unhappy. So, when you consider the lifelong journey of parenthood, you may worry that expectations of being the perfect father and the perfect partner are just too heavy to bear. The truth is that you alone can’t make your partner happy. As each of you invests love and effort into the relationship, you can certainly contribute to each other’s happiness but, ultimately, each person is responsible for managing their own happiness. It might be helpful to talk this through with your partner and explain that you feel this sense of pressure and expectation. Open your sentences with, “I feel” rather than, “You make me feel”. Try to refrain from criticising or attacking, and just talk about what it feels like for you. Be ready to listen to your partner’s responses. You may learn something about the thoughts and feelings that have led to these expectations in the first place. Confidence Sometimes, high expectations come from within. It may be that you’re just lacking confidence in yourself. You’re not alone – evidence has shown that lots of new fathers worry about being able to take good enough care of a newborn, or doubt their ability to keep a child safe [1]. The concerns voiced by the greatest number of fathers related to his ability to "take good enough care" of his child (61%) and his ability to "keep your kids safe" (52%). Or, perhaps you worry that you’ve not experienced the best examples of parenthood from your own family and are worried about repeating the same mistakes. Discuss your fears with your partner, or with a close friend or family member that you can trust to reassure you. Taking postnatal classes with your partner can really help you prepare yourselves for the initial demands of parenting. They might help you to start thinking about fatherhood with less hesitation or trepidation. Ask your GP or local children’s centre about parenting classes near you. Always remember that you and your partner are parenting together – you’re allowed to ask for whatever support you need. Feeling heard You may feel you don’t have the opportunity to talk about your own expectations and thoughts for the future. Conversations with your partner might have felt one-sided, leaving you feeling like your own thoughts and emotions matter less. Choose a quiet time to sit down with your partner and explain that you’re not feeling heard. Try to avoid pointing the finger or blaming your partner; just talk about how you feel. Bring notes if it helps. Discuss your expectations of your fatherhood role and see how they compare to your partner’s. Where there are differences, discuss ways you might be able to compromise. This may need to develop over a series of conversations, so keep working at it.   References [1] Litton Fox, G., Bruce, C. and Combs-Orme, T. (2000) Parenting Expectations and Concerns of Fathers and Mothers of Newborn Infants. Family Relations, 49(2), 123–31 (P.126).
Article | fathers, stress
4 min read
Eight steps to being a good birthing partner
The birth of a child is a huge moment for you as a family, and it’s understandable that you’d want to do all the right things to support your partner. If you’re feeling nervous or unsure about your partner going into labour, these eight steps may help you feel more confident about how to offer the right support. Have discussions with your partner about where she’d like to give birth. Does she want to give birth at home, or in a hospital? Does she want a water birth? Talk about the kind of birth she wants more generally. Find out whether she wants an epidural during labour, or if she is interested in hypnobirthing. It’s useful to understand your partner’s feelings on this so you can help support her when the time comes. Try not to push your own feelings on her, and keep firmly in mind what kind of experience she is hoping to have. Focus on the experience your partner is going to have, and try to avoid telling stories of other people’s birthing experiences. Ask beforehand what kind of support and encouragement your partner is going to want from you during the labour. But be prepared that this may all go out the window when the time comes.   Have a supply of food and drink to hand for both of you. Bring a toothbrush and a fresh set of clothes. She’ll be really grateful for this after the birth. Ask if there’s anything else she might want – things like lip balm and a fan or cooling spray can often be welcome during labour. During labour, ask your partner, “What would you like me to do?” Don’t assume she will just tell you. If you have any other questions, worries or concerns about the birth, don’t hold back from talking to your partner about it. You can also talk to your midwife, who may be able to reassure you that you’re on the right track. It’s quite common for you to feel a bit anxious, but there’s plenty you can do to help and support. Remember that the little things can go a long way.
Article | birth, labour
2 min read
When grandparents don’t approve
The birth of a baby usually brings joy to the whole family. But, when the grandparents don’t approve, it can create tension for all of you. It’s important to try and resolve this, as grandparents’ input into your child’s life can  be quite beneficial. Grandparents pass on family heritage and traditions, promote skill development, and serve as a source of friendship and support [1]. Whether the problem is with your own parents or your partner’s parents, leaving it unresolved could mean your family misses out on love and support. It can also cause extra strain on your relationship as a couple. Why grandparents disapprove If your parents disapprove of your partner (or if your in-laws disapprove of you), they may be struggling to adjust to the fact that you have just made a very strong form of commitment in starting a family. If they disapprove of the relationship, they may have chosen your commitment to parenthood as an opportunity to express it. Or, sometimes, new grandparents can be pushy, controlling or critical without even knowing it. They might think they’re being supportive or helpful. Facing resistance from your own family can be frustrating – exasperating, even. If either of your parents have caused arguments between you and your partner in the past, you might fear more of the same, but there is hope. Research shows that parents’ initial disapproval over their children’s pursuit of parenthood is often short-lived. The following statement comes from a study on same-sex couples: For many parents that experienced initial disapproval from their families about pursuing parenthood, often times this reaction “softened” with time [2]. Helping your parents accept your family Whether the issue sits with your partner’s parents or your own, resolving the thing and moving forward requires both you and your partner to work together and agree on your approach. Having the conversation together as a couple shows that you’re united. But it might be better if you each take the lead with your own parents. As a couple, decide exactly how much involvement you want your parents to have. Look for compromises and try not to make anything feel like a personal attack on either of your parents. When talking about loved ones (even if they’re being annoying), it’s natural to want to defend them. Start by reminding your parents how much you value them and that you’re looking forward to their involvement with your baby. Talk with them about how you’d like them to be involved, rather than about what you expect from them. Tell them about the help you would appreciate, and the help that won’t be necessary. Remember to say, “We have decided” rather than, “I think”. This will reinforce that you’re a team and that you’ve thought things through properly.  Once you’ve agreed your boundaries, it will become much easier to see when one of your parents has overstepped the mark, and you’ll be able to agree on an appropriate response together. Even if your parents are applying pressure unintentionally, family conflicts and fallouts can disturb the peace in your relationship. Stay open and honest with your partner throughout, so that when you come to face external difficulties from others, you can work together to deal with it.   References [1] Schmeeckle, M., & Sprecher, S. (2004). Extended family and social networks. Handbook of family communication, 349-375. [2] Koller, J. M. (2008). A study on gay and lesbian intergenerational relationships: a test of the solidarity model. ProQuest.
Article | grandparents
5 min read
Finding out you are having a disabled child
If you’ve been planning for a baby, you may have a picture in your mind of what your family life will be like. When the doctor tells you that your child might have a disability, this picture will have to adjust very quickly. This can be a truly difficult time for new parents. Dealing with the change in expectations can be stressful for you both, triggering emotional responses at an already overwhelming time. If the disappointment is prolonged, it can create a negative atmosphere and tarnish an experience which you hoped would be exciting.    Why might this be happening? We have no frame of reference You might be struggling to deal with your expectations simply because you don’t know what to expect. You may not know any other parents who have a disabled child, or you may not know anyone with a disability. As a result, you could feel like you have no one to talk to or get advice from. This can leave you feeling isolated. However, while you may not know anyone in your current network of friends and family, there are thousands of other parents in similar situations to yours. Ask your GP to refer you to a local support group for parents of disabled children, or visit a support site like Contact. Talking to other parents can help you get a better understanding of how raising a child with additional needs might impact your couple relationship and other areas of your life. We feel helpless One of the overriding feelings in this situation is powerlessness, particularly during pregnancy. Sometimes there’s little or nothing you can really do to help your child. This feeling can be quite overwhelming, and although the desire to help comes from a good place, it can sometimes lead parents to withdraw. The difficulty here is recognising what you can control, and accepting what you can’t. Understanding this might help to limit your frustrations and allow you to focus on what you can actually do – for both your baby and your partner. If it helps you, write a list with two columns – one for what you can help with and one for what you can’t – and talk the list through with your partner. This can help you see where you might be putting too much pressure on yourselves, and focus more on what you might be able to accomplish. We have different ideas of what life will be like You may have accepted that your child will be born with additional needs, but perhaps your partner is still trying to come to terms with it. As a result, you may each have completely different expectations of how it will affect your lifestyles. If one of you is more positive than the other, or carries a different outlook, it could lead to arguments or create tension in your relationship.  To ease tension and reduce conflict, it’s important that you both talk about your expectations for the future are and discuss how you might come to a compromise. Make time to listen to and reassure each other. Taking the time to anticipate the challenges you will face, will make you more likely to have realistic expectations and more able to deal with difficult situations when they come up [1]. Coming to terms with reality It’s OK to grieve for the loss of the life you imagined. Talk to your partner, and offer support if they’re feeling the same way. Be prepared to go through a range of emotions and accept that you both may not be at your best for a while. Keep in mind that you are still becoming parents and try to focus on the joys that your child will bring. Support networks such as Contact can help put you in touch with other parents in similar situations who can share their positive parenting experiences with you.    References [1] Pancer, S. M., Pratt, M., Hunsberger, B. & Gallant, M. Thinking ahead: Complexity of expectations and the transition to parenthood. J. Pers.68, 253–279 (2000).
Article | disability
Couple time with a disabled child
As new parents, you probably know that you won’t have as much time together when the baby comes. But if you’ve been told that your baby might be born with a disability, it could mean you’ll spend even more time and energy caring for your baby and helping them overcome their early difficulties. Estimates suggest that more than half a million children in England alone have a mild to seriously disabling condition or chronic illness [1], so lots of parents across the country are also facing this extra strain. Why you might have less quality time If you’re expecting to be busy looking after your baby and catering to their needs, then you know you’re likely to have less quality time with your partner as a result. Consider the following and see if any of them apply to you: A large part of quality time is talking through the things that matter. In tough times, some people use busyness as a coping mechanism, and the conversation might feel just too difficult to have. Rather than facing the issue and discussing your fears and expectations with your partner, you might instead be busying yourself away with other tasks. There may be a string of healthcare appointments to attend, dealing with the pregnancy and the practicalities of your child’s condition. You may need to make preparations for the baby’s arrival, and spend a lot of time researching ways to modify your home environment for your child. You may both be so wrapped up in the preparation stages that you’re barely spending any time together as a couple. When a child has a disability or vulnerability, they often need extra focus and attention. You may worry that your relationship will drop down the priority scale even further when the baby is born. What you can do to help yourself and your partner You and your partner might find it difficult to discuss how your baby’s disability or health complication could affect your family dynamic and how you will work together to support them. But burying the issue, tiptoeing around it, or pretending it isn’t there, puts you at risk of leaving yourselves unprepared when the baby arrives. It takes courage to talk about the issues that frighten us. If you’re struggling to find the words, try writing down what you’re feeling before you share it with your partner. As things progress, aim to have regular discussions and start making preparations together. It’s important for you both as parents-to-be to work on talking openly and positively about your fears and expectations [3]. Discussing and anticipating the kinds of issues you might face will help you deal with difficult situations when they come up [2]. The extra challenges you face as parents will challenge your relationship too so, even if you need to prioritise your child’s needs, it’s important to look after your relationship, and set aside a little couple time too.   References [1] Glenn, F. (2007). Growing together, or drifting apart. London: One Plus One. [2] Pancer, S. M., Pratt, M., Hunsberger, B. & Gallant, M. Thinking ahead: Complexity of expectations and the transition to parenthood. J. Pers.68, 253–279 (2000). [3] Stamp, G. H. The appropriation of the parental role through communication during the transition to parenthood. Commun. Monogr.61, 89–112 (1994).
Article | disability
4 min read
Bonding with adopted children
Whatever your reasons are for adopting, you may wonder if you will have the same bond with your child as a biological parent would expect to have. See if any of these feelings resonate with you: 1) You might think you’ve missed your chance to bond You may be concerned about missing out on the initial bonding that takes place during and after pregnancy. Some mothers also worry that missing out on the bonding experience of breastfeeding will be detrimental. 2) You may worry about the child’s history The majority of children awaiting adoption have experienced difficult childhoods, often coming from families with a history of drug or alcohol problems, domestic violence, neglect or abuse. Knowing this, you may worry that their history and experiences will make it difficult to bond and establish trust. 3) You may have initially hoped to adopt a young child The majority of couples are likely to be matched with a child between the age of one and four, and around 20% are five and above. If you and your partner were hoping to adopt a newborn, this might come as a disappointment. You are not alone. Around one in five parents come to adoption hoping to be matched with a baby, and many others express a preference for being matched with a child as young as possible [1]. It may help to know that, throughout the adoption process, lots of potential parents compromise on at least one of the criteria they started out with, usually related to the age of the child. Some parents even open up to the idea of accepting two or more siblings, having started out wanting to adopt a single child. Most parents who change their criteria report being happy with the decision and see it as a natural part of the adoption process [1]. You will have an opportunity to learn about the case history of a child before and after a match is made. During the matching phase, take the opportunity to ask questions about the lives and experiences of potential matches. It’s important that you’re happy with the match and it’s OK to ask for extra information at any time. Once a match has been made – and this can take several months – there will usually be a handover phase where your child makes the transition from a foster home to living with you. This is a further opportunity to learn about the child’s background, but also about their routines and current lifestyle, so you can help them adjust to living with you. Remember that nothing is yet set in stone, and that a match won’t be made until you are happy to go ahead. If you need some time to adjust, you can take that time, and make your own decision. The more active you remain in the process and the more information you have about the child you are adopting, the more likely you are to find the process a positive one, and help to create a successful match for you and your new family. How do parents bond with adopted children? Allow the time and space to get to know your child and build up a bond. Even with a natural birth, bonding is not automatic, and many adopting parents find that they feel the same way about their adopted children as they would a biological one. Your concerns over parental bonding may start to ease when the child comes into your care. If your child has been in a difficult or unloving environment, it may take longer to establish trust, so be prepared for the bonding process to take a bit longer. But have faith – even if you are adopting a child who’s a bit older, you are not necessarily at a disadvantage where bonding is concerned. Children develop attachments with the people who offer them a sense of security and support, consistently over a period of time. Sharing your feelings with your partner could provide an opportunity for you both to talk about any concerns or questions you might have. Remember to explain that these worries you’re having are not an indication that you’re questioning your decision to adopt, but rather, that you’re just looking to explore and make sense of your feelings.  For more information on adopting, take a look at: www.baaf.org.uk and www.adoptionuk.org.   References [1] Selwyn, J., Meakings, S., & Wijedasa, D. (2015). Beyond the adoption order: Challenges, interventions and adoption disruption. London: British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF).
Article | adoption
6 min read
“Help – partner looks at porn”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   So reading this has brought me mixed feelings on this topic. So I'm 19 and my boyfriend is 21, we've been together for a little under a year 1/2, we live together too. Our sex life blows, we have sex twice a week and he can't last longer than 2 minutes without cumming. And when he cums, he can't get hard again, ever. So I never get a happy ending and he doesn't even try. He's not romantic what so ever. I try to be sexy and spice things up but nothing works, its like trying to get intimate with a wall. And he always tells me that he's not a big sex guy in general, and I respect that because I do not want to cause a rapey vibe what so ever. So I was playing music off his phone and I went to his safari and went to type in the dubstep song Purge Planet, and PornHub came up. I was shocked because he's not a big sex guy as he tells me so what the fuck are you doing on porn hub?? I find it disrespectful because he knows how insecure i am and it just fucks with me emotionally, i read articles that say its okay to be uncomfortable and its okay for him to watch porn because its not cheating. But honestly i'm really bothered by it. I don't even wanna know what he looks up.
Ask the community | sexless, pornography, rejection
“Wife texting another man”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Recently I found out my wife has been in quite inappropriate conversation with another man, i seen their chat pop up while using her laptop and the content of one message was out of order so i clicked to read further into this. It had been going on 3 months or so and very sexual chats and even some non revealing but teasing photos had been sent. He was leading most of it but recently she seemed to be enjoying it more and playing along (she sent the photos) he kept asking for more revealing photos and she was teasing along. It took me a while but i eventually confronted her about my disgust and i tried to be reasonable and understanding and asked was something missing from our relationship. I had on many occasions felt we were missing something and a few times asked her and she kept saying all was fine. After talking to her about this she admitted she is a bit bored and the younger man made her feel good and it was flattering, she agreed it was inappropriate and promised me it would stop. A few weeks passed and all seemed great but i walked in one day of her taking a close up of her cleavage lying in bed. She quickly passed it off and denied it. She has moved all messaging to snapchat so no history is available and she gaurds her phone closely which was never really a thing before. I feel its still happening but dont know how to confront her again incase i come across as posessive and contrilling as im sure she will acuse me of this. We have always been a very open and trusting couple and this leaves me heartbroken and i feel ive lost trust in her since this but i dont want to be watching over my sholuder the whole time. I feel betrayed even though by the messages nothing has happend physically ( well at least not up to a few weeks ago) but i really tried to be understating to make things work and feel she played along and made me feel she would stop to save any further conversation as she has never been into having relationship chats. Is the snapchatting her workaround so i dont find out or am i being paranoid. Her job leaves her open to late nights away and he lives near her job and although i dont thinks anything has happened im fearful it can easily under the circumstances as its normal for her job to have her in late and different times each night. I think if it is still going on i will lose all trust and not want to be with her but we have kids and i adore them and i would lost without them. Any advice welcome and thanks in advance.
Ask the community | cheating, trust, emotional affair
“Dating with a guy with a kid”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hi guys, I really need your help here please as I am going desparated now. I met this guy four months ago when I was traveling to LA for my vacation. Quickly we clicked and bond together. We really enjoyed our every single moment there so we decided to keep contact and talk everyday when I came back to FL.We’re really open and transparent about our private life. I’ve never married or had a kid so everything is pretty simple from my side. He is actually still married, he and his wife submitted the divorce file and waiting for court hearing. They have 8 year old son and he’s mainly custody of the kid as his wife is flight attendant and unable to take care of the kid full time. So weeks ago he decided to bring his son with him to visit me. When his wife found out, she went crazy, they had fight, yelled to each other and she did everything to ruin his trip, acted like a bitch (as he said). Previously she was the one to control everything in their married life and he and his son have to do whatever she wants. Now since he’s with me, she may think that things are out of her control and therefore extremely upset about that. She tried everything to catch thie attention, including putting herself in trouble (like sleeping pill overdose) and my boyfriend had to be there take care of her. Eventually my boyfriend still visited me 2 days ago and they are staying with me for 2 weeks. His son is pretty a good boy but his head is packed with all the bad things from his mother about me so he’s cold to me and dislike me. And my boyfriend is too soft to his every single request, with no rule for kids and I have feeling that he’s spoiling the kid a little too much. Whatever his son asks, he follows and I haven’t seen him say no to his son during 3 days here. He came here to visit me but we hardly hold hand, hug because his son sticks around him all the time and barely talk to me though I’ve been trying to be nice. He slept with his son as well and only came to my bed at 2 or 3am and then back to his son at 6am before he woke up. I feel like I am the person who is left out in my own house, everytime his son openly talk to me, his mom called and later on, he dislike me again. I don’t really have experience with kid or dating a guy with kid so I am pretty lost here. I even feel a bit insecured because of my boyfriend’s enabling characteristic and the fact that his wife is having trouble with her boyfriend. I don’t know if it’s just my feeling or it’s common to all others who date a guy with kid. How could I do to get rid of this kind of feeling or what should I do to make this situation better, to make his son like me a bit more? Or will I have to run around and deal with his crazy wife if I still want to be with him in the future? I really appreciate your advices please
Ask the community | long distance, ex-partner, step-parents
Talking about same-sex parenting
As a same-sex parent, planning for a child differs from the traditional route in obvious ways. Whether you’ve chosen to adopt or work with a donor or surrogate parent, you’ve had to make some big decisions to get to this point. It can be difficult to turn to others for a quick chat about how to child-proof your kitchen without the conversation leading to the topic of how to raise a child can be raised in a same-sex family or which of you is going to take on which duties when the child arrives. You might find that a lot of the traditional advice and information that’s been handed down through regular channels doesn’t immediately relate to your own experience, or face discriminatory attitudes from the service providers who are supposed to support you, Your employers and other colleagues might also be putting barriers in your way. All of this can lead to difficulties around the practical arrangements of childcare and other financial matters, making you feel isolated and confused about where to turn. Why is this affecting our relationship? Discrimination can affect your relationship in several ways. Your relationship may already be under strain from parenting [1], so any additional pressure can be much harder to deal with [2]. It can also be troubling because it’s difficult to face the issue head on. It’s not easy to resolve stress that comes from outside your relationship, and it’s hard to talk to people who don’t understand or respect your desire to become a parent [3]. How can I improve things? Take a moment to remind yourselves why you wanted to become parents in the first place. Remind yourselves of the journey you’ve been on and all the challenges you’ve dealt with so far. The discrimination you are facing is not your fault, and bears no reflection on your capabilities as a parent, or your potential to learn new skills and raise a child. There is no evidence to support claims that children should fare any worse in a same-sex household [4]. It may also help to remember that there are others out there facing similar challenges to your own. The number of same-sex couples raising children is on the rise [5], and the introduction of same-sex marriage represents a significant step towards more widespread acceptance. Where to get support Try seeking support from statutory services either privately or through your GP, to talk through anything that’s bothering you. You can also turn to online forums, such as the one here on Click, where you can voice your concerns anonymously amongst people in similar situations. You may also be able to lean on your social circle. At first, you may find it helpful to seek the support of a few trusted family members and friends. Research has shown that couples who maintain close ties with their family and friends can feel the benefits in their general wellbeing and quality of life through practical and emotional support [6] [7]. Research has shown that family members who initially express disapproval often warm up to the idea once the child arrives [8]. Keep reminding your family that you love and support each other and that, while you would prefer to have their support, you will still be parents regardless. Letting your family know that their negative attitudes won’t affect you gives them a more realistic choice to make about how involved they want to be. And remember – it’s your decision to become a parent and you have the right to be supported through that process. Make room for the voices that want to help you and politely ignore the ones that don’t. With a bit of self-acceptance, you may find that there are more people on your side than you realised.   References [1] Petch, J., & Halford, W. K. (2008). Psycho-education to enhance couples transition to parenthood. Clinical Psychology Review, 28(7), 1125-1137. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2008.03.005 [2] Shapiro, A. F. and Gottman, J. M. Effects on Marriage of a Psycho-Communicative-Educational Intervention With Couples Undergoing the Transition to Parenthood, Evaluation at 1-Year Post Intervention. J. Fam. Commun. 5, 1–24 (2005). [3] NatCen (2014). British Social Attitudes. [4] Crouch, S. R., Waters, E., Mcnair, R., Power, J., & Davis, E. (2014). Parent-reported measures of child health and wellbeing in same-sex parent families: A cross-sectional survey. BMC Public Health, 14(1). doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-635 [5] ONS (2013) [6] Gierveld, J. D., & Tilburg, T. V. (2010). The De Jong Gierveld short scales for emotional and social loneliness: Tested on data from 7 countries in the UN generations and gender surveys. European Journal of Ageing, 7(2), 121-130. doi:10.1007/s10433-010-0144-6 [7] Moor, N., & Komter, A. (2011). The impact of family structure and disruption on intergenerational emotional exchange in Eastern Europe. European Journal of Ageing, 9(2), 155-167. doi:10.1007/s10433-011-0207-3 [8] Koller (2008)
Article | same-sex, parenting
4 min read
Separating from a pregnant partner
If you and the mother of your child have separated, you might be worried about what time you’ll get to spend with your child. If the relationship between you and your ex is volatile, you might not be able to hold a conversation long enough to discuss joint childcare arrangements. Why do I feel scared about this? There a few reasons you might feel this way: If you’ve recently separated, emotions will be running high and everything can be quite intense. It’s common to be overwhelmed, and this could be affecting your worldview. You may have heard stories of other dads not getting the chance to play a part in their children’s lives after a separation. 13% of non-resident fathers say they have no contact and never see their child [1], and this is a frightening statistic for expectant dads contemplating a separation. You might worry that you don’t have as many legal rights as your partner, or that they will move on with someone new who could take on a parenting role with your child. How can I help the situation? If your partner is angry and doesn’t want anything to do with you, first let the dust settle. Give her with space, and respect the decisions she makes for your child. The law will always favour your child’s needs, so the best thing you can do is demonstrate that you will be a positive influence in your child’s life. When the time is right, you could talk with her about doing a parenting plan. We offer a free online parenting plan where you can make decisions and make plans without having to speak directly to your ex. You will get a notification when they have made a suggestion, and you can agree, disagree, or find a compromise – all the while focusing on the best arrangements for the baby. Research suggests that even though regular face-to-face meetings are most ideal, frequent contact by phone or email can make up for distance from your child [2]. Although this kind of contact may not be ideal, it should enable you to maintain your parent-child bond. This is particularly good news if you live in a different location to your partner and your child. If your partner ends up blocking you from seeing your child, then you may need to go down the legal route. While the courts recognise the importance of the mother in the very early years, there is no gender bias. Researchers from the University of Warwick found that fathers applying for child contact had been “overwhelmingly successful” and that dads fared just as well as mums when making contact applications [3].   References [1] Eloise Poole. (2013). What do we know about non-resident fathers? Retrieved from Modern Fatherhood: www.modernfatherhood.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Briefing-paper-Non-resident-fathers.pdf [2] McGene, J. and King, V. (2012) Implications of New Marriages and Children for Coparenting in Nonresident Father Families. Journal of Family Issues, 33(12), 1619–41. [3] Warwick University (2015). Study finds English and Welsh family courts not discriminating against fathers. Retrieved from: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/study_finds_english/
Article | breakups, contact
4 min read
Pregnant and splitting up
If you’re pregnant and going through a separation, you might be worrying about how the breakup will affect your child. Stress One of the things you might be thinking about is how the stress of separation or divorce might affect your baby’s development in the womb. Research has found that relationship strain during pregnancy appears to be linked to negative cognitive and behavioural development in children [1]. If separation is the right thing for you as parents, it’s possible to minimise the stress and remain supportive to each other. This might be very difficult, especially if there are unresolved issues between you but, by being reasonable, rational and respectful, it is possible. Take your time to talk through a plan of action. If you decide to stay together, talk to your partner about how you can help reduce stress during the pregnancy. Maybe take up some light exercise together, or practice some yoga designed for pregnancy. If you do have arguments, take the calm and collected approach. If things get heated, take a break and return to the issue when you feel calmer. A two-parent family You may want your child to be brought up by two parents, especially if you were raised by both parents and want your child to have a similar upbringing. Some studies have found that children in two-parent homes are less likely to grow up in poverty [2], and are also less likely to develop emotional problems [3]. But, single-parent families are becoming more common and there is lots of support available for single parents. The number of lone-parent households in the UK grew steadily from 1.8 million in 2003 to nearly 1.9 million in 2013 [5]. While some research suggests that children in single-parent families have poorer outcomes, other research shows that, when it comes to their overall happiness, family composition doesn’t really matter [6]. It’s the quality of the relationship you have with your child that counts. If you stay with your partner, talk about how you want to raise your child. You both may have different ideas of what family life will be like. Take the time, hear each other out and make compromises where you can. Adjustment You may have been brought up in a single-parent household and found it hard to adjust to life. You may have witnessed conflict between your separated parents and, at times, may have felt caught between the two. A poll of 500 young people found that one in three felt that one of their parents had tried to turn them against the other during the breakup [4]. If your own upbringing in a single-parent household was difficult, it’s understandable that you wouldn’t want your child to go through a similar experience.  It’s important to nurture a good co-parenting relationship with your ex-partner. A good place to start is to seek mediation or create a parenting plan so you can agree on how you will raise your child.   References [1] Bergman K., Sarkar P., O'Connor T.G., Modi N., Glover V. (2007). Maternal stress during pregnancy predicts cognitive ability and fearfulness in infancy. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2007 Nov; 46(11):1454-63. DOI: 10.1097/chi.0b013e31814a62f6 [2] Gingerbread (2018). Single parent statistics. Retrived on 16 April 2018 from: http://www.gingerbread.org.uk/content/365/Statistics [3] Parry-Langdon, N. (2008). Three years on: Survey of the development and emotional well-being of children and young people. Office for National Statistics [4] Office for National Statistics (2013). Families and Households: 2013. Retrieved from http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/family-demography/families-and-households/2013/stb-families.html [5] The Parent Connection. Children in single parent families no less happy than those in two parent households. Retrieved from: http://theparentconnection.org.uk/blog/children-in-single-parent-families-no-less-happy-than-those-in-two-parent-households [6] The Parent Connection. 1 in 3 young people say one parent tried to turn them against the other during divorce. Retrieved from: http://theparentconnection.org.uk/blog/1-in-3-young-people-say-one-parent-tried-to-turn-them-against-the-other-during-divorce
Article | breakups, pregnancy
4 min read
Grieving for an aborted pregnancy
Making the decision to abort a pregnancy is tough, even if it feels like the right thing to do. Some couples face a difficult time in their relationship following that decision. Guilt With any major life choice, it’s natural to go through the what-ifs and the maybe-I-should-haves. This can happen no matter what decisions you’ve made. People carry guilt individually but, if a decision is shared, the guilt can weigh on you as a couple and potentially lead to blame-shifting or resentment. Grief Some people and couples still have a grieving process to go through, even if it was their decision to terminate. The following research refers to miscarriages and stillbirths, but the lessons of grief are applicable: In the study, most mothers and fathers struggled to understand their partners' grieving style. Fathers described having to focus on practical tasks and needing to remain strong, which meant that the way they grieved was very different to their partner’s [1]. People grieve and express loss in different ways [2] [3] and develop their own coping styles, which may not be recognised or understood by their partner. Some people are not consciously aware of their own coping style. How can I help? If you’re feeling upset or vulnerable after the abortion, it may be worth talking to a counsellor, or someone else you can trust. Talking through your pain is a helpful part of the healing process. Speak to your partner about how you are feeling and talk about what you might find helpful during this time. Keep in mind that your partner may be grieving too –perhaps in a different way – and try to offer support as well as asking for it. Coping with guilt There’s often a temptation to bury guilt or pretend it’s not there. Instead, try to recognise your guilt when it flares up, and talk to your partner about it. Talking it through and being heard may help you find some relief. Keeping the dialogue open and honest can also make things easier if it comes up again. If you’re able to support each other and show patience, you may even find that you become closer in your relationship. Coping with grief If you and your partner have different coping styles, it can be a source of frustration in the relationship. Take the time to talk sensitively with your partner about how you’ve both coped with grief in the past. It might not be the easiest conversation but, as you learn to understand each other’s coping styles, you’ll find that you have more tolerance and patience for one another. In the study, even the most bereaved parents were able to accept each other’s entirely different coping styles, and went on to become closer together in sharing their loss [4]. References [1] Campbell-Jackson, L., and Horsch, A. (2014). The Psychological Impact of Stillbirth on Women: A Systematic Review. Illness, Crisis & Loss, 22(3), 237-256. doi:10.2190/il.22.3.d [2] Dyregrov and Matthiesen (1987). Anxiety and vulnerability after the death of an infant. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. 1987, 28: 16-25 [3] Gold, K.J., Sen, A., Hayward, R.A. (2010). Marriage and Cohabitation Outcomes After Pregnancy Loss. American Academy of Pediatrics [4] Avelin, P., Rådestad, I., Säflund, K., Wredling, R., Erlandsson, K. (2013). Parental grief and relationships after the loss of a stillborn baby. Midwifery. June 2013, Volume 29, Issue 6, Pages 668–673. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2012.06.007
Article | abortion, grief
4 min read
Understanding postnatal depression
Postnatal depression (PND) is a type of depression that some women (and some men) experience after having a baby. It can affect around 10 to 15% of women [1] and it tends to occur within the first twelve months after birth. Like other types of depression, it is often misunderstood. If your partner doesn’t understand or underestimates the effects of PND, they might not be able to empathise with you and support you through it. This can cause a conflict in the relationship. Why is this happening? Your partner's misunderstanding or ignorance might be frustrating, but it may just be a lack of knowledge. As a nation, we’re not very good at differentiating between having a low mood, and being depressed. Your partner might assume that, if you have PND, you’ll be sad all the time and cry a lot. So, if your PND manifests itself in other ways, such as sleeping a lot, feeling numb, or withdrawing, it may not be recognised for what it is. Your partner may also assume that, if you didn’t get PND in the first few months, then you can’t be experiencing it now. However, PND can happen any time within the first year after giving birth. How can I help? Firstly, it might be helpful for your partner to know and recognise PND symptoms, some of which may include: Low mood. Loss of interest in usual activities. Feelings of worthlessness. Loss of energy. Crying spells. Insomnia. Fatigue. Anxiety. Poor concentration [1] [2]. PND is a real illness, and anyone suffering from it needs professional help. So it’s important your partner not only understands what PND is, but is willing to learn how it affects you. Try to open the conversation more broadly. Rather than trying to explain PND, try simply asking your partner for support. Different people have different ideas what kind of behaviour is supportive, so your partner may just have a different perspective to you on the subject of PND or depression in general. Relationships between couples following the birth of their child can be fraught, and depression is more likely to develop in both mothers and fathers in the first year of birth [3]. If you feel that your partner is not really paying attention or seems to lack interest, try to remember that people's perspectives are often formed through other people’s attitudes to depression – usually someone quite influential like their own parents. Stick with it, and ask for your partner's undivided attention to explore the issue. Encouraging your partner to speak to a medical professional or a health visitor could be helpful, as they are equipped to explain PND from a psychological and biological standpoint. They may also be able to provide further resources for support for you both. References [1] Yiong Wee, K., Skouteris, H., Pier, C., Richardson, B. and Milgrom, J. (2011) Correlates of Ante- and Postnatal Depression in Fathers: A Systematic Review. Journal of Affective Disorders 130(3), 358–77. [2] Andrews-Fike, C. (1999). A review of postpartum depression. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry, 1(1), 9. [3] (Davé, Petersen, Sherr, & Nazareth, 2010).” (p.29)  
Article | postnatal depression
How to reduce stress during separation
Splitting up with a partner is a stressful process whether you were married or living together. If you are ending a marriage, rather than a cohabiting relationship, you may come into contact with divorce lawyers at some stage. Using collaborative (rather than adversarial) lawyers may help you and your ex-partner avoid getting into long, drawn-out battles that could be difficult for the whole family. When ex-partners take control of the situation and communicate in a respectful way, separation or divorce is likely to be quicker, less expensive and less stressful. This isn’t going to be realistic for every couple but if you can agree some basic communication rules at the start of the process you may be able to avoid a longer battle. You may find it useful to take a look at the Getting it Right for Children course. The course will show you how to work on core communication skills that can be useful throughout the separation process, including: Staying calm and listening Seeing things differently Speaking for yourself Sticking to the point Negotiating Working things out The legal side As well as setting some ground rules with each other, it’s a good idea to read up on the legal side of things, so you feel more in control of your divorce or separation. The Legal Ombudsman has a downloadable guide that can help you decide some key decisions and what to think about when using a lawyer to help with your separation. The guide is based on common issues and complaints including finances and property, and includes top tips to help make the right decisions during the divorce process. You can download a copy of the guide from The Legal Ombudsman.
Article | separation, divorce, stress
2 min read
“Child arrangements”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hi. My partner and I have been together for 7 years on and off as he has a drinking problem and bad group of friends and kept breaking up because of that. he was illegal at the time we met and I supported Him all the years till last year he got his rights to stay in the country on the basis of his 2 kids. He got his rights but still didn't want to work and was depending on me. I was paying all the bills etc. We kept arguing for a few months because of that and then all of a sudden I had to go abroad for a family emergency with my kids and he was at the time staying in my home and he did not go tact us whilst we were away, I tried so many time to get hold of him and only sometimes did so we got into an argument and I told him to leave as I was tired of taking all the responsibilities as I only worked part time and we have kids to support too. When I got back from abroad he had dissapeared from the home. he had taken all his belongings with. I tried to contact him but phone went to voicemail. I asked his friends and all said they didn't know where he was so I contacted the police after 48hrs and reported him missing and a week later I heard he went abroad to visit family. He contacted me a few times after that from there and then all of a sudden he stopped. He came back to the UK without informing me and I heard from.a friend of mine that he is back and wen I bumped into him he made like he did not know me so I left it as that as I didn't know eat to say or do. I later tried to call him, I sent him text msges but till today it's been 4 months now he not responded. my kids miss him so much. I am going through depression at the moment I cannot even go to work due to stress. As a single parent it is very difficult for me. I have 2 kids with him and a son from my previous husband. I don't know what to do as he does not provide anything not does he contact the kids. I am finding it so difficult to cope on my own as my youngest is not even 2yrs old. I cannot afford mediation or court fees. I really need him to help with the kids. I would like him to take or see the kids as it's affecting them. I have noticed a change in them since they got back and the dad was gone. I have spoken to child maintenance service and they will try help but I need help into child arrangements. I have tried to text him but has not got back to me regarding this. Could someone help me in this situation?
Ask the community | contact
“Issues around drinking”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I've had a relationship with a woman for nine years and we've had our ups and downs. She has had a bad past with alcoholics (exes) so she was very critical on no drinking. After no drinking for over six months, proving it's not a problem for me, she began telling me “if you really want to have some after work please just do it at your house”. I agreed and would have some every now and then. Never getting drunk and no fighting the entire time. We recently got engaged a few months ago and moved into a new house together a few weeks ago. As we were moving in she began buying me beer saying the man of the house should be able to have some socially and after a hard day work. Strangely enough even her ex, with his new woman was allowed to come help us with the move and he was getting drunk on beer at our new home while I sipped some vodka. Everyone having a great time and no problems. A few days ago after a long 12hr day, I came home and had a couple of shots to unwind. Afterward she “finds” the bottle by the back door where I smoke a cig, she gets into my bank account statements and sees i have indeed had drinks at my past home... And gets so furious that I am basically kicked out of the new home without any sit down adult conversation about what the issue is. As it turns out, she says I was supposed to announce to her when i was going to have some, which means to her I was dishonest and lied by keeping it “secret”. Of course, I don't remember being told that and so I'm naturally confused so much about being told I can drink at my own home, and her buying me beer, and even having an ex and family over to the new house drinking, and then being so furious about having a drink when i came home after a long day. Despite an apology for any misunderstanding, and pointing out that if she didnt know, after telling me I could... Then consider the fact that there was no getting drunk and that we never had a problem caused by it for the entire time. She simply says i decieved her and knows about her past. Yet lets her ex come over drinking, and bought me beer??? Not only does this seem like a complete hypocrisy, and feel decieved myself, and even asked for an adult conversation to sort out the misunderstanding, with an apology for such... Its been nothing but a heavy text war. I have no clue on how to proceed with fixing this issue while I feel emasculated left without a home. Even if this is somehow worked out, and come back, it would really feel like my home if I can be kicked out of my own place without the decency to even have an adult discussion. I can't even see where I have done anything wrong, while she demands that I admit my wrong doing. Is there any possible way to proceed to fix this?
Ask the community | arguments, communication, addiction
“Relationship issues after birth of child”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I have issue with my partner after our girl was born. I am being always very close to my partner and we did pretty everything together. This baby for us is like a blessing since I am low count guy and I have few chance to achieve this naturally. Basically I am very keen in doing home duties from cleaning to grocery and household stuff shop. I always have done this, even before pregnancy. During pregnancy I supported my partner every day by helping her with shoes, eating and also being always at scan and check. Of course I did mistakes sometime because my love one is anxious and tends to overreact to problems and sometime I used bad words because I was panicking too. However always recognized my mistakes and made my apologies, now I am changed and tends to be more calm and paced when she get anxious. However, I use to snore and in the last ya my sleep become quit deep. The his made me incapable of listening my partner calling me sometime for help on nappy changes and nights with the baby. However, it was not like this always and I did what I was capable of doing, since for both of us is just the first child. In addition I work and I am trying to make my work do not forbid me for being next to them. Despite this my partner said that she hate me for not being able to help her in the nights, she hate everything of me and want to leave. This started an evening when I was returned from the usual shop for all of us and by closing the door the lock woke up the baby. From that day every single minimal thing is something to argue and tell me how I am shitty. I am confused worried and really exhausted of being treated like this from the person that I LOVE. Please someone has any advice? Cheers
Ask the community | parenting, arguments
“Visitation and day-to-day care”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hi I'm in need of some support tips on how to deal with this situation. I am currently in processes of court order I've made to an ex-partner who is the father of my child. There was a lot of things he's done, I had to step up and finally tell someone what was going on in ma 5-yr relationship with the father of my child, which I wanted it to end a bit earlier in the years. I've been and sorted with lawyers, child for lawyers, appointments i attended. After a few of those I've done. Few months maybe more later. Its 2018 now I never heard bk from the lawyers at all or from the courts for a follow up about the cases. I had and heard no contact from no lawyers nothing. A letter came in and I opened it, and it says it was dated on the 2nd of march, I had to attend a conference court case on the 2nd of march 2018. I didn't receive the letter till the 29th of march that's when a letter arrived in my mail box. Why did it take that long to arrive in ma post. I contacted the family law centre to follow up why was the letter sent late. I received the letter in ma mail on the 29th of march, and on the letter it stated and dated on the 2nd march. Apparently I missed the court case. I turned up to the actual first one he didn't, then when I ended hearing about another one I didn't get notified about it for a few weeks he turned up to that, and I didn't. As now I don't know what he capable of he's sly, and I just need some tips how to cope with not been schemed and get stuff put on to me that isn't true. I raised and cared for ma son his whole life I've been there,while his father wasn't around, he's housed, fed, clothed, enrolled him into school he's doing great at school. I really want the father to get visitation at a centre where he's supervised. Not alone as that's why I took him to court - violence, etc... Just abuse.
User article | contact, physical abuse
“I can't stop grieving”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   My ex broke it off about six months ago. We had some contact since then and about two months ago we met up and slept together. We started communicating more after that but had an argument the following week and he just cut contact. He said he couldn't talk to me and I said if he couldn't then he had to move on from me. I got no response back and he hasn't made contact since. I feel so hurt and still stuck in limbo. I'm so sad all the time and can't talk to anyone about it. I told my mum I was depressed about it still and her reaction was "Well, it's been a long time", as if I shouldn't care anymore. But I can't stop hurting. Today is really bad. I started taking St John's Worts about a week ago as I've been really low for a while now. The relationship was on and off for a long time. He wanted me back about a month after we initially split with me, but I didn't go back because he had finished it so many times and I couldn't bare the on off anymore. Now I'm lost. The reality of not being with him hurts even though being with him hurts too. Has anyone got any advice for how I can move forward and stop this pain? Do I contact him to get closure, or should I just let him go?
Ask the community | ex-partner
“I can't accept this rejection”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I am fresh out of an 8-year relationship, 3 months out and counting. My ex & myself are getting on well, both trying to support each other through the break-up. (although she has told me multiple times she wants me back I don't feel the same) In the meantime I have met someone else. She is a warm, genuine stunning woman whom I didn't mean to fall in love with, however I have. We went on nights out in a crowd of people and always ended up dancing and laughing. We got on like a house on fire. One day I told a 'friend' how I felt about her & well it got back to her & she very nearly shut down, told me she didn't want a relationship just yet & I should give myself time to get over my ex. But we still went out, still got on & still had such a laugh. Slowly as the months passed it was fairly evident we was opening up to the possibility of a relationship, despite her resistance. I then made the single stupidest mistake of my life. I went to my ex to clear the last of my stuff out & well one thing lead to another & we had sex. I regretted it imminently & apologised. My ex was very level headed about the whole thing & told me it didn't matter - 'one for the road'! Somehow the girl I was interested in found out but not before I had 'the moment'. By 'the moment' what I mean is the moment I fell properly hard in love, with her & it was like nothing I felt before - they say your heart punches out your chest & I can say its true. I knew at the moment she was the one. Now I know she has a 'history' - not all of it pretty, she is certainly not whiter than white some of which included adultery, but her past is her past. As far as I'm concerned I fell in love with her not her past. When confronted my on the sex I told the truth & she went apoplectic - & rightfully so. I was such a idiot I couldn't - can't - believe I did it. She banned me form going out with our friends - which are mostly her friends & doesn't want to know me at all. The barriers up & its not coming down. I suddenly realised although we never went on a date, or kissed or spent any real time alone she clearly felt more than 'close friends'. A month & a half later after busting my ass trying to at least relight our friendship she shot me down again - telling me she only wants a 'working' relationship and nothing more - ever. This I'm finding REALLY hard to accept. We were so close. We had so many laughs & overnight its gone. I'm talking to friends about her & using their suggestions but nothing seems to get through. Then some days shes chatting to me & smiling with her stunning eyes, then others nothing. When I look her in the eye I can see the hate where there used to be love. When she answers the phone & realises its me you can actually her her tone change. about the only thing I can still do is make her a coffee. People tell me she doesn't like men. I've been told there might be 'something' in her past which I have either reminded her of (which I'm not her past) but not told what. I've also told shes scared of a relationship. The latest is shes just not interested in me like that which I find so hard to accept, I don't understand how she can just turn it off like that. One of her friends has said I should stick it out & wait but it probably wont be this side of Christmas which I find impossible but whatever it takes, she is 100% certain she will come back. Others say I should just sit her down & have it out with her & if shes still not interested then walk away. She has a very close friend who I know & I wonder if I should talk to her but if she finds out I think it kill of anything that remains. My question is why can't I just except it? Should I wait? Give it more time? Or go face to face with her & have it all out. If I give it time how long? Every morning shes on my mind, every night.
Ask the community | breakups, rejection, cheating
Dealing with debt in a relationship
Whether it’s a credit card or a bank loan, help from a family member, a quick dip into the overdraft, or even a payday loan, almost everyone has some experience of borrowing money. In between borrowing money and paying it back, we are in debt. As long as we have the means to pay it back, debt can be a useful way of managing money - but it can end up costing more than it is worth. How debt affects your relationship   Money worries are one of the biggest causes of stress and arguments in UK households [1], sitting in the top three relationship strains for 55% of couples (for parents, it’s 61% [2]). A quarter of people have found money worries getting in the way of their sex lives [3] and one study suggests that couples who get into problem debt are twice as likely to break up [4]. If you are worried about debt, it’s better that your partner finds out sooner rather than later. When you are under pressure financially, your partner will pick up on it and bear some of the brunt of that strain. Many people feel ashamed of debt, or think they can handle it better alone. However, keeping debt a secret can just make things worse. By sharing the concern with your partner, you can share the burden and work together towards a solution [5]. For practical tips on talking to your partner about debt – whether it’s you or your partner who accrued the debt – visit the guidance page on our ‘Debt and relationships’ service. Getting into debt   Couples can get into debt when entering a new phase of the relationship, like moving in together, getting married, or having a baby. These times are always challenging, no matter how positive and exciting the change. Your relationship is intensified and magnified as you step up the commitment and costs can escalate. In these times, couples tend to have big expectations of the future, and how their lives will be [6]. While it can be tempting to load up a few credit cards to get the things you want, it’s important not to borrow more than you can reasonably plan to pay back. Being in debt makes it much harder to live up to your expectations of the future anyway. The more debt you have, the more likely you are to argue, and the less time you are likely to spend together [6]. How to deal with debt Talk to your partner. Get things out in the open and share the burden. Put all your debts in front of you. Open your post and check your accounts. Hiding from debt won’t make it go away and could make it worse. Make a budget. Look at what you are spending and where you can cut back. Work out how much you can afford to pay off each month. Contact your creditors to can organise a payment plan, even if it’s only a small amount. Speak to a debt advice organisation. Free services like The Debt Advice Foundation can help you get all this information together and offer tips on how to negotiate repayment plans with creditors. Dealing with debt takes time and understanding [7]. You can make things easier by getting help from debt organisations, but keep in mind that money issues can persist. You may need support not only with money issues, but also with the relationship strains that can accompany them. If you and your partner want some extra support, counsellors such as those at Relate may be able to help you deal with relationship issues, whether debt-related or not [7]. The good news is that once the debt has been paid off, relationship quality has been shown to improve again [6]. References [1] 4Children. (2016). “Britain’s Families: Thriving or Surviving?” [2] Undy, Helen, Barbara Bloomfield, Kate Jopling, Laura Marcus, Peter Saddington, and Patrick Sholl. 2015. “The Way We Are Now: The State of the UK’s Relationships 2015.” Relate, Relationships Scotland, Marriage Care. [3] Ann Summers & Relate. (2012). “The Sex Census.” [4] Kneale, D., & Trinley, W. (2013). Tales of the Tallyman: Debt and Problem Debt among Older People. International Longevity Centre - UK. [5] Falconier, M. K., & Epstein, N. B. (2010). Relationship satisfaction in Argentinean couples under economic strain: Gender differences in a dyadic stress model. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 27(6), 781-799. [6] Dew, J. (2008). Debt Change and Marital Satisfaction Change in Recently Married Couples. Family Relations, 57(1): 60–71. [7] Papp, L. M., Cummings, E. M., & Goeke‐Morey, M. C. (2009). For richer, for poorer: Money as a topic of marital conflict in the home. Family Relations, 58(1), 91-103.
Article | communication, finance, debt
4 min read
Say goodbye to the birds and the bees
Talking to your children about sex and relationships can be a daunting prospect but, while it might be tempting to put it off, it’s best to start sooner rather than later. It’s time for the birds and the bees chat to be replaced by open and honest conversations – not just about sex, but about relationship skills like managing emotions, resolving arguments, and listening to other points of view [1]. Try to purge your mind of any negative memories from your own childhood. Even if your sex education was a big awkward talk; or a pamphlet on the sins of the flesh left conspicuously on your bed; or just years of silence, it doesn’t have to be like that for your children. Relationships education is changing The school curriculum is changing. What used to be SRE (Sex and Relationships Education) is becoming RSE (Relationships and Sex Education). Your child will still learn about sex but within the context of understanding relationships, which will help them recognise the good and bad relationships in their lives. Relationships education is likely to include information about a variety of relationship types, including friendships. There is a compelling case for children learning skills to help them talk about their feelings and be more aware of the quality of their relationships [1]. This change comes at a valuable time, as more children are reporting being unhappy with their friendships [2]. Schools are already doing more to teach about online safety, including sexting, cyberbullying and pornography. Young people are spending more time online [3] [4] and, as a result, they may be facing sex and relationship challenges that you never had to deal with. The Department for Education will give schools more guidance about the new RSE curriculum soon and learning about this as a parent too can help you support your child in making safe, sensible choices as they get older. What parents and children think In light of these developments, we teamed up with youth charity The Mix to ask children and parents what topics they’d like to see covered in relationships and sex education. The top five most important topics listed by parents and carers were: Staying safe online Bullying and cyberbullying Being aware of who knows what is being shared online What makes a good and not so good friendship Abusive relationships Bullying and abusive relationships were also particularly important topics for young people who wanted to know more about recognising – and getting out of – bad relationships. Overall, nearly 90% of parents agreed that sex education would be improved by including relationships education [1]. Talking about relationships and sex The coming RSE lessons in schools will be a good opportunity for you to learn together and build on your child’s learning by starting your own conversations at home. While it might seem tricky or embarrassing, it’s best to talk openly and honestly. The more open you are, the more confident and competent your children are likely to be in their own relationships [5]. It’s often easier to talk about sex and relationships by taking advantage of opportunities to talk, like using an issue they’ve experienced at school, a storyline on TV, or a pregnant friend. Don’t wait until they’re already going through puberty, and don’t plan a big ‘sit down’ conversation. Think of it as an ongoing conversation that can be returned to as needed [5]. When your child shows curiosity, answer their questions honestly, but don’t feel you need to expand in great detail beyond what they ask. A good guideline to bear in mind is that if your child is asking you a question, they’re ready to learn the answer. If you find it difficult, you might want to look into a course like Speakeasy, which was set up to help parents feel more confident talking to their children about sex, and to make them more aware of opportunities to do so [6]. If you can’t find a course near you, there are lots of helpful tips on the FPA website. Working with your child’s school Many of the parents who took our survey were keen to play a part in their children’s relationships education [1]. Young people are also more willing than in previous generations to talk to their parents about things that matter to them [2], but it’s easier to get these conversations in early, while children are still young. As they get older, children and young people tend to lean away from parents and teachers, preferring to learn from peers, or by looking things up online [1]. RSE is more effective when schools and parents work together [7]. Making yourself aware of what’s on the RSE curriculum when it launches can help you think about how you might approach conversations at home, perhaps building on topics that are being taught in school [6]. So, keep your eyes and ears open for the new curriculum details in 2019 and, in the meantime, follow our blogs for expert information about relationships.   References [1] OnePlusOne (2018). Relationships and Sex Education: A submission to the Department for Education. [2] Office for National Statistics (2018) ‘Children’s Well-Being and Social Relationships, UK - Office for National Statistics’. Retrieved online from the Office for National Statistics website: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/articles/measuringnationalwellbeing/march2018. [3] Ofcom (2017) Internet use and attitudes: 2017 Metrics Bulletin. Retrieved online from the Ofcom website: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/105507/internet-use-attitudes-bulletin-2017.pdf [4] Frifth, E. (2017) Social media and children’s mental health: a review of the evidence. Education Policy Institute. Retrieved online from the Education Policy Institute website: https://epi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Social-Media_Mental-Health_EPI-Report.pdf [5] Wilson, Ellen K., Barbara T. Dalberth, Helen P. Koo, and Jennifer C. Gard. (2010) ‘Parents’ Perspectives on Talking to Preteenage Children About Sex’. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 42 (1): 56–63. [6] Kesterton, D. and Coleman, L. (2010) 'Speakeasy: a UK-wide initiative raising parents'confidence and ability to talk about sex and relationships with their children', Sex Education, 10: 4, 437-448. [7] Pound, P., Denford, S., Shucksmith, J., Tanton, C., Johnson, A. M., Owen, J., Hutten, R., Mohan, L., Bonell, C., Abraham, C., and Campbell, R. (2017) What is best practice in sex and relationship education? A synthesis of evidence, including stakeholders’ views. BMJ Open, 7: e014791.  doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014791
Article | sex, sex education
9 min read
“Why is he staying with me?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Ok this is a long one I have been with my husband for 15 years and married for 8 we have 2 children At Christmas he was out on his Christmas do i was browsing through Facebook before i went to sleep and a photo popped up with him tagged it showed him very cosy with a young girl. it disappeared around a minute later from Facebook but it was enough to make me think, so the next opportunity I got I looked at his phone and found more photos of him and this young girl on his phone.They are with other people but very cosy and they look like a couple. I did not mention it at first but i just tried to have a discussion about our relationship in which he admitted he had not been happy for 2 years. I thought then and there it was over but he sent be a huge bunch of flowers and seamed to want to work it all out. However i just couldn't shake the pictures from my mind so i eventually brought them up. He assured me they were just very good friends(his words) She had worked with him for 2 years and i had no idea who she was. its only a small office i know all the other ladies by name and i have never had any issues i used to pop in every now and again (for valid reasons he forgot his lunch things like that at his request) i had never seen this girl or heard him mention her. He then said he hadn't mentioned her because they talk about me?? As you can imagine things deteriorated between us and i was very hurt angry and confused. I lost a lot of weight and he seamed pleased by this kept telling me i looked great i was only a size 12 before all this (she is about a size 4 thats a guess very skinny) But then in the middle of all these arguments he though it was appropriate to book to go to Vegas with his friends. Ordinarily i wouldn't mind this but I had wanted to go to Vegas for my 30th 6 years ago at the time we couldn't afford it which is fine and he promised me we could go for my 40th i have been planning this and looking forward to it. financially we are a lot better off now i have been promoted and earn equal to him and there is the option to do overtime whenever i need/want. We could afford for us to go to Vegas now but i wanted it to be something special for my 40th. We have no debt nice cars a lovely house but i would give it all away to feel like i matter to him anymore. I'm struggling to understand why he is staying with me. No I'm not going to pretend I'm perfect I'm not i get very very angry and shout and sometimes say things i don't mean not violent I'm not a violent person at all. classic me (we wouldn't be here if you had kept it in your pants) but i often feel that i do these things to get him to sit up and take notice (wrong i know as it just makes him angry) We find it hard to have conversations without them becoming a argument. His work organise charity things and i have never been invited to 1 he says he wants that part of his life separate from me and he should be entitled to have that. i don't want to stop him doing anything i just want to be part of his life, i don't want to go to everything i know we have issues with childcare my parents live a long way away but help when they can, his parents are closer but don't really do much. I'm really struggling. He now says he's suffering from depression. I have booked him an appt at a the Drs. I'm trying to be supportive i know how horrendous depression can be. When i look back tho i don't think he has ever really considered me and I've probably just put up with it but I'm so so hurt by the Vegas thing he says he going and that's that. What would you all do? I'm lost, confused and don't want to destroy my children's lives. If you all think I'm in the wrong please say I'm especially interested in a male perspective. I have male friends but they are my friends and obviously give me the whole what are you doing with him get rid talk but i am also fully aware they only have my side.
Ask the community | trust, jealousy
“Our life paths don't line up”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I don’t know if we should continue our relationship. We have been dating each other for a couple of months and are very much in love and have communicated to each other that we both feel very compatible and have a great connection with no issues with each other. We also feel that we are a perfect match. The only hang-up is that our careers and life situations and paths don’t quit line up and is complicated. He is still uncertain with his career plans, and is currently in the military and trying to figure out if he wants to stay or not or pursue another career. I have been very supportive. Due to the current custody situation with my son, I can’t move out of the city with my son and we both feel that stability is important for a child, which I have been giving him as a single mom. I am 39 and he is 33, and we both want a family with kids, but the longer I wait, my chances decrease. We are both seeking a serious relationship, but cannot get over the hurdle of trying to figure out and see a clear future with each other in order to move forward. We have discussed this and he says that he’s holding back from truly loving me completely because of this.
Ask the community | career, stepfamily
“No sex without porn?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I've been with my boyfriend for about a year. He is older, I just turned 50 and he is 63. He said he hadnt been with a woman for over 20 years and when we got together he seemed like he wasnt nervous or unsure at all. I thought it would be weird and awkward for him and he’d be out of practice but quite the opposite. We had sex a lot at first, like most new relationships, it wasnt mind blowing and he’d complain if I had the slightest stubble ( Im italian and have dark coarse hair, shave in the morning and have stubble by that night. I took it in stride and dis what I could. Anyway, the sex started getting less and less unless I dressed in some outfit and made it happen. Now he barely touches me, wont do oral and Im clean, I have to be on top and he doesnt really get that hard. Finally we watched a porn the other day and he got rock had instantly and after 5 minutes of sex he cums. So now Im like wow, he can get hard as a rock, but cums in 5 minutes. And this after telling me for months he thinks he has low T and has a hard time getting stiff or even aroused. My self esteem is in the toilet and now even worse. So it seems I dont make him excited or turn him on, he has to have porn.
Ask the community | intimacy, sex, pornography
“Was it his depression?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I was dating my ex for around a year and thought we were strong and suddenly four weeks ago he dumped me by text and said he wasn't in love with me and never was. Some background to this. We met last year and neither of us were looking for a relationship it just kind of happened both of us had been badly hurt i was in an abusive relationship and felt i couldnt trust anyone but he was different and i fell in love with him and we were happy so i thought. I knew he suffered depression as do I but we seemed perfect. Then his father had a stroke and weeks later we found out cancer on the brain and lungs caused this and he died within 4 weeks of us finding out. I helped nurse his dad daily and he asked for my help and supported my partner throughout and was with him when he passed away at christmas. I did everything to support him i even collected his dads ashes as he couldn't face it. He became depressed and withdrawn and a bit cold towards me emotionally and physically he lost interest which i completely understood as he was mourning his dad. Things seemed to be getting better then suddenly he told me he didnt love me and i was to needy even though i was there at his request constantly and i can find someone who will treat me like i deserve to be treated and loved and he didnt want a relationship or intimacy with anyone at the minute and hes not even sure what the hell he wants in his head and needs space. As you can imagine its broke my heart im in love with him and adore him like mad and i dont know what i did wrong. But...now he cant stop texting me daily and wants to spend time with me and wants my help and advice and he texts me every day all day and even last week while he was in spain he spoke to me and text me as soon as he got off the plane and wanted to see me as soon as he got home and i stupidly went because i love him so much and he said he wants me in his life. Hes also going off to Paris in a couple of weeks to sort out and run a new business and has to be there for two weeks and home for a week for the next 3 months and im so confused with what's going on with his feelings towards me as he obviously feels something but im scared to ask because i dont want to lose him completely. Could his depression have made him say those horrible things to me as ive never said a bad thing to him and we've had one fight in all that time and i dont know what to do as i dont want to be with anyone else but him. Will being patient make him realise what hes lost with me? Help..
Ask the community | decline, depression, personal struggles
“I regret my decision to break up”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   My now ex-girlfriend and I had a really strong relationship until the beginning of this school year in September when things began going downhill. We had a relationship for over a year when I decided to end it about 2 weeks ago. After many ups and downs, and getting through a lot of rough patches, I finally pushed the decision to separate after these reasons pushed me to: Throughout the year, I was feeling more and more uncomfortable with the way she behaved around other guys at school. To me, it seemed she was being really talkative and flirtatious, which made me really uncomfortable. She claimed that it was just a part of her “personality” when I approached her about it and that she is just friendly, but it still seems to me that her behaviour around other guys and the amount she talks to them is a bit too much. One of the hardest things to get around that caused me to want to break up is my distrust in her when it comes to seeing other guys. About a month ago we went through a large rough patch when she got in an accident and totalled her car. Instead of riding the bus, she decided to get a ride from another guy that she knows I do not like, which I cannot keep her from doing as it is her choice, but was frustrating and made me uncomfortable. I didn’t find out until about a week later she had gotten more than one ride from him since the accident and did not tell me she was doing that. I already felt unsure about my trust with her and if she had been cheating or seeing other guys behind my back before this, although I have no evidence I just have a gut feeling with no explanation. There are several other reasons for our break up like her friends disliking me, and her making friends with people I know are up to no good. I claimed she is irresponsible, and she claimed I was overreacting about these things. Lately though, I have felt like I regret my decision and want to be back with her because things seem harder when I’m not dating her, but only when our relationship doesn’t introduce more of a problem. My questions are, why do I feel that she’s cheating on me without evidence? Do I have reason to be mad at her for what she’s done? Should I get back together with her or is this a lost cause? I am really stuck and the amount of emotional turmoil I feel is going on right now is making it hard to see the answers to these questions clearly.
Ask the community | trust
“Channel 4 documentary looking for participants”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Are you aged 17+ and lost touch with your mum, dad or sibling? Have you seen them on social media or know where to find them? Are you ready to make contact, but need help reaching out? A brand-new Channel 4 programme could help support you through the next big step In today’s world, it’s never been easier to connect with people quickly. In ‘One Click Away’ (working title) we follow young people as they use social media and mobile technology to contact a family member they’ve never met or not seen for a long time. While the simplicity of connecting online might appeal, knowing how to navigate what happens next can be difficult, without additional support. This programme will bring two family members together for four days, whilst they get to know each other (again), under the guidance and experience of independent reunification specialists. While not every attempt will be successful, these experts are highly experienced in helping families to reunite, and the hope is that positive and lasting relationships will be forged. For more information, please go to www.electricray.com/oneclick Your application will be treated in confidence and there is no obligation to take part.
If you are under 18, please ask a parent/guardian to call or email on your behalf. Applications close 30 April 2018. All data will be processed in accordance with Electric Ray’s privacy policy.
User article | family
Do parenting styles matter?
Different parenting styles can have different effects on children’s outcomes How you choose to parent your children will depend on many factors, and your partner’s preferred style may differ from your own. What are parenting styles? In 1991, the psychologist Diana Baumrind identified four key parenting styles that are still talked about today [1]. These are: Authoritarian Authoritarian parenting is a very strict kind of parenting with clear rules in place, that aren’t to be questioned by children. It’s a sort of ‘do as I say’ philosophy which can be very effective in the short term but in the long term, it can lead to children feeling less happy, less confident, and with lower self-esteem. Authoritative Authoritative parenting differs from authoritarian parenting in that rules and guidelines are balanced with warmth and caring. Children can question the rules and are offered explanations as to why they are in place. Children with this type of background tend to be more confident and socially responsible, and may be better at making decisions for themselves [1]. Permissive Permissive parenting is where parents have very few rules and allow children to set their own agenda. These parents may sometimes seem to be in a friendship role rather than a parental one. Children raised in very permissive environments may have trouble coping with stress and difficult situations when they get older [2]. Rejecting-neglecting This is an extreme type of parenting where parents don’t respond to their children’s needs at all. This can be incredibly damaging, leading to children with low self-esteem, a lack of self-control, and difficulty in school. Neglecting a child, which includes sustained emotional abuse, is illegal.  Do parenting styles matter? The way you interact with your child has an impact on how they get on in life. Your parenting style will affect your child’s behaviour, the way they process their feelings, how they do at school, and even how they develop physically. It is generally thought that authoritative parenting, where you balance structure with warmth, leads to the best outcomes for children [1]. As a parent, you will develop your own style, which may be a result of the parenting you received as a child, your life experience, your beliefs and values, and any other learning you’ve picked up along the way. It may be close to one of the above styles, or perhaps a combination of two or more of them. In addition to the effect on your children, your choice of parenting style can also affect your overall happiness as a couple and as a family. As long as you and your partner can agree on parenting decisions, you’re likely to feel better and have better relationship quality [4]. What if my partner has a different parenting style? It’s OK to have different parenting styles, and even to have different goals as parents. Your child can get along perfectly well as long as you work together. One useful thing you can do is talk to your partner and try to identify both of your parenting styles. Work out your similarities and where you differ. This can help you prepare together and figure out where you might need to compromise. If you can reach a united front, your different parenting styles can be successfully managed [6]. It’s also worth remembering that a parenting style isn’t necessarily a permanent state. If you’re having a tough time, or you’ve been arguing with your partner, the impact on your feelings can affect the way you do anything, including parenting [5]. Try to be aware of how you feel, and work on resolving conflict when it comes up. With communication and compromise, the two of you will be able to give your child the best possible start in life.   References [1] Baumrind, D. (1991). The Influence of Parenting Style on Adolescent Competence and Substance Use. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 11(1), 56–95. [2] Benson, M. J., Buehler, C., & Gerard, J. M. (2008). Interparental Hostility and Early Adolescent Problem Behavior: Spillover via Maternal Acceptance, Harshness, Inconsistency, and Intrusiveness. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 28(3), 428–454. [3] Rinaldi, C. M., & Howe, N. (2012). Mothers’ and fathers’ parenting styles and associations with toddlers’ externalizing, internalizing, and adaptive behaviors. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 27(2), 266–273. [4] Don, B. P., Biehle, S. N., & Mickelson, K. D. (2013). Feeling like part of a team: Perceived parenting agreement among first-time parents. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 30(8), 1121–1137. [5] Reynolds, J., Houlston, C., Coleman, L., & Harold, G. (2014). Parental Conflict: Outcomes and interventions for children and families. Bristol: Policy Press. [6] Chen, M., & Johnston, C. (2012). Interparent childrearing disagreement, but not dissimilarity, predicts child problems after controlling for parenting effectiveness. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 41(2), 189–201.
Article | parenting styles
Top ten reasons divorce petitions are rejected
The family law organisation Resolution has shared a list of the top reasons divorce petitions are rejected by divorce centres. Getting divorced is complicated enough with emotions flying around and practical arrangements to deal with. If you’re getting ready to file for divorce, it’s useful to know some of the pitfalls of submitting your application, so that you can handle the process as efficiently as possible. In 2015, there was a change to the way divorces are processed, with the responsibility for considering cases moving from district judges to legal advisors in new divorce centres across England and Wales. The change helped highlight some of the errors commonly made on applications for divorce petitions. Nationwide, around 40% of petitions are returned due to errors or missing information. This slows down the process and creates extra work for the person filing for divorce. The main reasons for petitions being returned include: No fee being enclosed with the application. Incorrect details on the form, such as the wrong place and date of the marriage. Marriage certificate not included. When you file for divorce, it’s important to check that you’ve included the right information with your application. The main things you need are your and your spouse’s full names and addresses, and your marriage certificate. You can find all the details on gov.uk, with a link to the form you need to submit. If you want further support in getting all the details of your petition right, you might want to consider talking with a family solicitor. Most solicitors will be able to offer 15 minutes of free legal advice as you decide the best course of action. Here, in full, are the top ten reasons divorce petitions are returned: 1. No fee enclosed.2. Details of marriage, incorrect. Names do not match marriage certificate. Place of marriage. Date of marriage. 3. Jurisdiction page, incomplete and incorrect.4. Other proceedings or arrangements, incomplete.5. The facts. Grounds do not match statement of case. Two grounds selected. 6. Statement of case, insufficient detail or incomplete.7. No marriage certificate received. No original marriage certificate enclosed. No translation of marriage certificate. Only photocopy of marriage certificate enclosed. 8. No certificate of reconciliation received from solicitor.9. No fee remission contribution received.10. Service details. Not complete. No address for service for all parties.
Article | divorce
Planning parenting time after separation
Every family is different. If you’ve separated from your partner, your plans for parenting time will depend on several factors: The ages of the children. Young children suit a ‘little but often’ routine, whereas older children can deal with longer blocks of time. Parents' work and other commitments. Shift workers may have more restrictions than parents who work from home. The accommodation of the parent who doesn't live with the children. How far apart the two homes are. Parents who live 10 minutes apart will have more opportunities for frequent visits than parents who live two hours apart. The children's wishes and any specific needs they have. The type of co-parenting relationship you have. This includes factors like how well you communicate and co-operate. In the early days, many families start without much of a plan. Visits are arranged at short notice, and activities are open and flexible. This can work well if the children are getting to see both parents regularly and there is a strong co-parenting relationship. A flexible arrangement requires good communication, and give and take on all sides. If children don't know when they're next seeing their mum or dad, they may worry, especially if there are sometimes long gaps between visits. Co-parenting requires frequent communication and co-operation, so it’s important to establish the parameters and remain consistent. Work out a plan together. Consider the practicalities and your own expectations but, most importantly, ask the children how they feel about it all. Things to bear in mind Children cope best with predictable and regular routines. If the children are of school age, it can be helpful to separate routines for term time and holiday time. You'll probably want to have special arrangements for days like birthdays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. If you want to take the children away on holiday, you will need extra planning time.Be prepared to consult each other well in advance before you make any commitments. Have some flexibility to make changes now and again, but don't make changes without consulting your child’s other parent. Try to be considerate and accommodating when discussing changes. When it comes to parenting time, quality is more important than quantity. If you’ve only got limited time with your children, make it count – they will remember the good times. Children like doing ordinary, everyday things as well as having treats. Be prepared to review the arrangements. Don't worry about making your parenting plan perfect on the first attempt. Try it, review it, and then make adjustments as needed. If you want a template to get things started, you can use our free parenting plan at Splitting Up? Put Kids First.
Article | contact
Meeting your partner's children
When you enter a relationship with a separated parent, it can be hard to know how to play things when it comes to your partner’s children. When parents separate, their children often hold on to the hope that their mum and dad will someday get back together. Older children may be more aware of some of the problems that led to the separation but still struggle to accept that their parents are no longer a couple. Whatever age your children are, they may struggle to adjust to their mum or dad finding a new partner, or even dating. This will need careful handling. As the parent, you may well pick up signals from your child and recognise how they are dealing with the change. Each situation is unique and the best way to handle it depends on several issues – the children’s ages, the relationship they have with the other parent, the stage at which you and your partner get together, and whether you have children too. As the new partner, you could find yourself caught up in parenting conflicts between your partner and the children’s other parent. It might feel like you are being tested and caught up in family difficulties that you would rather avoid. Meeting your partner’s children can be daunting, and figuring out the nature of your involvement can be even more so. The following tips can help you avoid some of the potential pitfalls Don't rush things. Allow the relationship to develop slowly and don't expect the children to love you or even like you straightaway. However much the children test your patience, aim for a relationship where you respect each other and treat each other fairly. Be prepared to take a back seat when the children are around. Accept that it is not a competition - the bond between parents and children is always going to come first. Make it clear that you understand your partner's first responsibility is to the children. This will help take pressure off both of you - your partner will need to hear that you accept this. Be patient – your partner can give you their undivided attention when the children are not around. Don’t try to be a substitute parent. Be supportive but don't expect to take on a parenting role. Don't criticise, complain or even joke about the other parent in front of the children. Children of all ages can struggle with loyalty issues, so be sensitive. Accept that there will need to be communication between your partner and their ex - partner about the children. Good communication is essential if things are going to work. Try to understand the loyalty conflicts your partner might be experiencing, even if they don't talk about it. There will be times when they feel pulled in several directions. Even if your partner’s children accept you very readily, try to give them some time alone so they can have their mum or dad’s undivided attention. Try to support your partner when they feel caught in the middle. If there are arguments and disagreements between your partner and their ex, remember that you’re only hearing one side of it. Try and talk to others who aren't involved - this might include friends who are in similar situations or anonymously here on Click. You may start to find that there are common issues, and that they can be worked through.
Article | stepfamily, step-parents
A year of sex
In her book 365 Days: A Memoir of Intimacy, Charla Muller charts the year she had sex every day with her husband, which she gave him as a present for his 40th birthday. The book touched a nerve for many couples when it was first published in the USA in 2008. Muller admits that, like many people juggling work, children and domestic chores, she’d become an expert at dodging sexual contact with her husband – even dreading the wandering hand in the bed at night. “My husband was constantly thinking to himself, ‘I wonder if today’s the day?’, and I was thinking, ‘I wonder if I can hold off till tomorrow?’” Muller considered herself happily married but admits, like a lot of married couples with kids, that sex had got lost along the way: “Its absence becomes a presence in the marriage, a silent tension hanging in the air. It certainly was in mine”. Sex and intimacy   Although they didn’t manage it every single night for a year, Muller says the effect of having sex nearly every day had a great effect on the intimacy of their marriage. Though she admits it did sometimes feel like a chore, she says that having to find the time for sex meant it stopped becoming a big deal. Her husband Brad put it this way: “Sex every day is not a long-term sustainable model, but neither is sex hardly ever. The key was to land somewhere in between”. Just do it A controversial suggestion but it seems that sometimes it’s worth just getting on with sex even when you don’t particularly feel like it. The book claims that men and women are wired differently, and that sex tends to play a bigger part in men’s lives since they are more easily stimulated by imagery and touch. This may, however, be a generalisation. It may be more useful to look at it as though some people are more easily aroused than others, but that deciding to give it a go can sometimes help you to warm up and get in the mood. However, it’s very important to trust your own instincts and desires. If you try this and it still doesn’t feel right for you, stop. Psychologist Janet Reibstein suggests seeing it a bit like exercise – it can start off as a physical effort but gets better the more you do it. “It’s not wrong if it’s not erotic from the start. [Couples] should never blame [each other] for that difference between them”. Why it’s worth it Reibstein says that some people only express intimacy through sex – it may even be their main way of expressing love. So, if their partner goes off sex, they feel rejected and unloved. For those people, it might seem like the solution is to have sex outside the relationship, but that won’t stop them from being upset by the lack of intimacy within the relationship. Others prefer to create intimacy by talking and then start to feel like having sex because of the intimacy they have built. When one partner finds it hard to talk, and the other needs this to feel intimate, it can become a vicious circle. What to do if you feel you’re not having enough sex If you and your partner have different levels of sexual desire, you may start to feel that there is not enough sex in your relationship. The onus is on both partners to recognise each other’s sexual language, but either of you can take responsibility for starting the conversation. However the conversation starts, it’s important that you both recognise and accept the differences in your sexual desires and, rather than seeing that difference as rejection, enter into each other’s language. That can mean talking, and creating a mood of intimacy, and working to fulfil each other’s needs, as well as your own. References Suzi Godson: www.suzigodson.com Donnelly, D., and Burgess, E. (2008). The decision to remain in an involuntarily celibate relationship. Journal of Marriage and Family 70(2):519-535. Sex and the Psyche: The Truth About Our Most Secret Fantasies, by Bret Kahr, Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Psychotherapy and Mental Health at the Centre for Child Mental Health in London, and Honorary Visiting Professor in the School of Arts at Roehampton University
Article | intimacy
5 min read
A quick financial guide to divorce
If you’re going through a divorce, money might be the last thing on your mind, but having your finances in order can help make sure you get a fair deal in the separation. Assets Among the stack of emotions surrounding the end of your marriage and the possible effect on your children, it’s important to get a handle on your assets well in advance of court proceedings. This means everything you own and the money stored in your accounts. During divorce proceedings, the court will assess your and your partner’s joint assets, but also any individual bank accounts and credit cards you hold. It’s worth doing a roundup of all your current accounts, savings accounts, and any investments you have, to give yourself an idea of what is likely to be taken into consideration. If you own your home, whether jointly or separately, you can get it valued for free. This will allow you to compare the value with the remaining balance on your mortgage to see if you have any equity – in other words, whether you would make or lose money if the house were sold. As well as accounts and property, the value of any expensive items you own, such as cars, jewellery, or musical instruments may be considered by the court too. Assets that you brought into the marriage are not usually considered, so anything you owned before getting married shouldn’t come into play. This might include a house you sold to buy a joint home with your partner. Gathering this information in advance can give you an idea of your combined assets and help prepare you for court. Debts Your debts will also be considered. If you and your partner have any shared debts in both names, including overdrafts on joint accounts or outstanding balances on credit cards, then you both have a legal responsibility to pay them off. If you’re having trouble with debts, let your creditors know that you are going through a divorce as they may be willing to freeze the interest temporarily. You won’t be able to close any shared or individual accounts until they have been brought into credit. You may also have shared debts that are held in your own name, such as a personal credit card that you used to pay for a family holiday. Legally, these are your sole responsibility, even if your ex-partner had a part in accruing the debt.  If your ex is unwilling to contribute, you may need to prove that the spending was for both of you. You may be able to transfer the balance to an interest-free card, to keep the overall costs down in the long run. Hannah Maundrell, editor in chief of money.co.uk, says: “Debts taken out in joint names will continue to be the responsibility of both parties and so both will need to ensure that repayments are met in full and on time. The exception is credit cards where additional cardholders do not share responsibility for the balance and repayments – this sits with the primary cardholder. Those taken out in sole names before a couple combine their finances will continue to be the responsibility of the person that took them out (unless they get their partner added). “The above will generally hold when it comes to divorce; however, in some instances the courts will take both pre-marital debts and those taken on during the marriage into consideration when they’re dividing assets and allocating maintenance payments etc.” When considering how to share out a separating couple’s assets, the first thing the courts will take into account is your children. If you own your home, it’s very likely that your property will be granted to whichever of you has the children living with them most of the time. Even if the home is in your name, it won’t necessarily be given to you. This can be very difficult to deal with, but it’s a possibility that you need to be prepared for. After separation, you will need to start managing your finances as an individual. For many people, this can mean an increase in living costs, as things like house payments and bills are no longer divided between two. If you’ve become accustomed to living with shared finances, you might find it useful to keep a record of what your new lifestyle is costing you. Having a budget can help you identify areas where you might be overspending and where you can make savings. You might also want to look into whether or not you’ve become eligible for certain benefits, including child maintenance. If you have a will and it refers to your ex-spouse, you may need to amend it. You can also add a ‘statement of wishes’ to your will, which is just a letter explaining why your spouse is not included. Once everything is under control, there is a process that allows you to separate your finances from those of your ex. It’s called ‘financial disassociation’, and most credit agencies offer an online form where you can request this. You will need to demonstrate that you no longer live together and that all joint financial products have been closed. Once this is done, your credit rating will no longer be affected by your ex’s financial status. Even after a relationship ends, communication is still important. The more you and your ex-spouse can agree with in advance, the simpler the process will be. Hannah Maundrell says: “Discussing money with your ex may not be an option, but if you can talk things through then it will make life a lot easier. That said, it’s vital you know your rights; you’ll continue to be responsible for repaying joint borrowing, and you’ll both be able to access money in joint accounts. “Write down all of your shared accounts, debts, policies and investments so you can clearly see where you stand and start separating them one by one until all that’s left to do is financially disassociate yourself from one another via a credit reference agency”.
Article | divorce, finance
6 min read
“Caught between husband and daughter”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hi I just want to know if I'm thinking right about all this. To cut a long story short, my daughter (16) and husband are totally at odds with each other. I love my daughter to bits but she has always been a handful. Truckloads of attitude, very highly strung, always right etc! She can also be very rude and disrespectful. I also love my husband but he does tend to be a very negative person, struggles to see the good in people / situations , and he also is very sensitive ie. Takes everything very personally. He can also be very antagonistic and quick to anger and tends to drop hints and be sarcastic rather than say straight out what his problem is. He is also quite an anxious person and seems to automatically think the worst all the time and worry unnecessarily. It used to drive me nuts but I've gotten used to it and try and ignore it now if I can. He has many good points which I prefer to concentrate on. However it drives my daughter mad. He is a great provider and is never violent but sometimes I find it hard to get close to him because of the negativity. He also doesn't take a whole lot of interest in the kids or their lives. Seems to notice every bad thing they do but rarely praises. My daughter openly tells him that she hates him and that he is a douche and that she wouldn't care if he was out of her life. Which I think is terrible and it really upsets me when she says this. But what upset me more is his reaction. In my opinion, he acts just as bad, threatening to leave, saying he isn't going to stay in a house where he is hated etc. I've tried to suggest that they talk to each other but that never goes well as neither of them ever admit they are wrong. I think they both are. My daughter is a hormonal, strong minded, determined teenager. As far as my husband is concerned, sometimes I feel like I am dealing with 2 teenagers ! I can see both points of view but whose side do I take here? I feel like the meat in the sandwich ! The constant enmity between them is really getting me down. I don't feel like I should have to choose between them but that is how I feel a lot of the time. Am I thinking right here? So confused and depressed. I just want to have a happy, functional family.
Ask the community | arguments, despair, control, parenting
Long distance loneliness
Being apart from the person you love is hard. While absence may make the heart grow fonder, it can also fuel loneliness – and loneliness is a big deal. Some even believe that loneliness can do as much damage to our bodies as smoking [1]. But, more positively for those in long distance relationships, one study suggests that couples who are coping with living apart often have more intimate and meaningful interactions than couples who live together [1]. So how can you make the most of your long distance relationship and take the edge off the loneliness? The most important thing in keeping a long distance relationship going is communication. Here are a few ways you can keep the communication oiled. Have a communication schedule. This might seem a bit mechanical but having a specific time for your chats means you can look forward to spending time your partner without putting your own life on hold. If you know when it’s happening each day, you can develop a routine that works with the rest of your life. Knowing each other’s day-to-day schedules can help you feel closer. Do things together, even though you’re apart. Try reading the same book, or watching the same movie at the same time. Play online games together or even do the same crossword in the paper – find an activity you like and share it from a distance. Plan your future. Have a goal in mind for where the relationship is headed, and when you might be able to move closer together. Keep talking about this so you’re on the same page. Talking about your future can help keep you both positive. Talk to people when you’re down. If you’re really missing your partner, let your friends and family distract you and buoy you up through the hard days. Talk to your partner about your worries. This builds trust and helps avoid the misunderstandings that can happen when there’s no face-to-face interaction. Keep the sexual side of the relationship alive. Sexy texts or even phone sex can help you beat sexual frustration.  It will be lonely at times – that’s almost unavoidable – but a physical distance doesn’t have to stop you being an intimate, committed couple. And, if couples living apart have more intimate and meaningful interactions than couples who live together, there’s plenty to be positive about. References   [1] Crystal Jiang, L. Hancock, J.T. (2013) Absence Makes the Communication Grow Fonder: Geographic Separation, Interpersonal Media, and Intimacy in Dating Relationships. Journal of Communication. 63 (3) 556–577  
Article | long distance
3 min read
Mediation for separating parents
There was a time when people's first response to a parenting dispute was to send a solicitor’s letter and threaten the other parent with court. However,  more people are moving away from court and turning to mediation to help them sort things out for their children. Why the change? Parents have got the message that going to court takes longer and is more expensive than using mediation. On top of that there's uncertainty about what the outcome will be in a court case - what if neither parent gets what they want? The time, cost, and uncertainty of going to court can all add worry to an already stressful situation. Family court judges have always known that parents are usually the best people to make decisions about their children. But, when parents don't get on and can't communicate, agreeing on a decision can be easier said than done. Nobody likes going to court but parents can often feel like they have no choice if the other parent refuses to negotiate with them. Mediation is often the answer, as it gives separating parents a dedicated space to negotiate their way to an agreement. To encourage people to consider this option, the government has introduced changes so that parents are now expected to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before they can apply to court. What happens in a MIAM?   As a result of these changes, the MIAM has become the first stop for parents who want help in sorting out disputes about their children. The MIAM is usually a one-to-one meeting between a parent and a mediator although occasionally both parents can be seen together. Once the mediator understands what the problem is, they will provide information about the different options open to parents and guidance about which approach might be best for them. Parents then decide what they would like to do. Mediation is voluntary and, for it to work, people have to be willing to give it a try. Parents always have the final say. Occasionally, the mediator will advise against using mediation. In either case, if mediation is not going ahead, the mediator will provide the signed confirmation that someone has attended a MIAM. This form is needed to make an application to court. Reasons why people think mediation won’t work   'We've tried to talk but we just end up arguing' 'It's their way or no way!' 'I'm not treated like an equal parent' 'They refuse to talk to me so what’s the point?' 'They won't reply to my messages' If any of that sounds familiar, then mediation can definitely help. It's the mediator’s job to make sure that everyone's views and feelings are taken into account, especially the children’s. Using an impartial, trained mediator helps to keep the focus on the children and on future possibilities rather than dwelling on past complaints. Most importantly, parents stay in control of the decisions in a private, supported, and respectful environment. From a child's perspective, the thought of one parent taking the other to court can feel scary. They are likely to feel much happier with the thought that their mum and dad are sitting down to talk about them and working things out together. How to find a mediator You can find your nearest mediator through National Family Mediation. There are charges for MIAMs and mediation but if you are on a low income or benefits such as Income Support you might qualify for free mediation through Legal Aid. This article is written by Bernie Davis, specialist family mediator.
Article | mediation
3 min read
Having a baby doesn’t have to hurt
If you're about to have a baby, you may have heard all manner of scare stories about how your relationship will suffer. It doesn’t always have to be that way. We’ve scoured the research and found some encouraging tips about how to look after your couple relationship as you make the transition to parenthood. While it’s true that many couples face a decline in relationship satisfaction when they become parents, there are also couples whose relationships stay strong, and even improve during parenthood [1]. If you feel like you’d rather be one of those couples, read on, but be warned – it’s going to get a little rough before it gets smooth. Whatever happens, things will change. There’s no point pretending they won’t. If you want to be one of the couples who keep hold of the happiness that their love for each other brings, one of the first things you need to do is acknowledge the risks. Simply knowing what you’re facing will help you avoid the pitfalls [2]. Babies are incredibly demanding. They rely on you for food, shelter, cuddles, getting from one soft surface to another and, very importantly, clean underwear. They don’t know how to use a toilet, they sleep irregular hours, and the only way they know how to communicate with you is by crying very loudly. They need you. All the time. This demand on your time and energy can wreak havoc on your emotions. You and your partner are learning new skills, you’re exhausted, and you’ve got less free time than you used to have. It can be hard (impossible, even) to squeeze in things like nights out with friends, trips to art galleries, snuggles on the sofa, lazy days with the Sunday papers and that old cherished pastime, sex. [3] With all this new activity, exhaustion, and a decrease in couple activities, you won’t be surprised to find yourselves feeling a little raw and ragged. It’s no wonder new parents sometimes find themselves snapping at each other about who does all the housework and who was supposed to pick up nappies on their way home from going out to buy nappies. But there is a glimmer of hope: not all new parents experience a decline in relationship satisfaction. In fact, some couples find they adapt so well to the changes that the shared experience of parenting can bring them closer together than they were before [3]. Research has thankfully shown that there are certain things you can do which will help you maintain a good relationship as you make the transition to parenthood: Talk to each other When you’re considering trying for a baby, one thing you might want to think about is how well you communicate now, and what you can do to improve things. Research shows that couples who have good communication before the pregnancy are likely to be happier with their relationships after the baby is born [4] [5]. Remember you’re a couple and keep saying “I love you” Having a baby will change your identity. As well as being a friend, a lover, an electrician (or whatever you are), you’re also going to be someone’s mum or dad. It’s not just a change in what you do; it’s an extra part of who you are. But remember that you’re also still a partner and a lover. Making an effort to express your love and affection for your partner is one of the things successful couples do to ensure their relationships don’t suffer [6]. Acknowledge that things are going to change You don’t have to be terrified, but you do need to acknowledge that things are going to be different in your relationship. Admit this to yourself, and talk about it with your partner. When couples have similar expectations of parenthood, they are more likely to cope better with the changes [1]. Accept that you’re going to be busier, and that it’s going to be harder to find time for intimacy for a while. Talk about how you’re going to handle this together. Even if it turns out to be tougher than you expected, you’ll be facing the challenges together, and you’ll find it easier to talk about further adjustments that you need to make. Whatever you do, just keep communicating. Let your family help Obviously, this isn’t possible for everyone. Your family might not be local, or they might just not be very helpful but, if you can lean on your child’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., do. Wider family can offer tips and advice if they’ve had children of their own (you don’t always have to follow this advice, of course!) and practical support. If your family aren’t much help, perhaps you’d find it easier to lean on close friends. Most people love to feel helpful, so you should never feel guilty for accepting help [7]. Take a parenting course There are loads of great parenting courses available, and many of them include elements of relationship support. Visit your local children’s centre or ask your GP where you can access parenting support. It is often free and, as well as equipping you with valuable parenting skills, it can also help you connect with other parents in your area. Whether you feel like you’re struggling or not, parenting and relationship practitioners can help make difficult things better and great things stay great [8]. As we often say here at Click, the most important thing is to keep communicating. Accept that things are going to change. Talk to your partner about how this might play out. Discuss your hopes and fears, and make sure you are both on the same page. Don’t forget to be a partner as well as a parent. And, perhaps above all, seek out and accept help wherever you can. Having a baby doesn’t have to hurt your relationship.   References [1] Kluwer, E. S. (2010). From Partnership to Parenthood: A Review of Marital Change Across the Transition to Parenthood. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 2(2), 105–125. [2] Clements, M. L., Martin, S. E., Cassil, A. K., & Soliman, N. N. (2011). Declines in Marital Satisfaction Among New Mothers: Broad Strokes Versus Fine Details. Journal of Marriage and Family, 73(1), 13–17. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00783.x [3] Houlston, C., Coleman, L., & Mitcheson, J. (2013). Changes for the couple relationship during the transition to parenthood: Risks and protective factors. International Journal of Birth and Parent Education, (1), 18–22. [4] Houts, R. M., Barnett-Walker, K. C., Paley, B., & Cox, M. J. (2008). Patterns of couple interaction during the transition to parenthood. Personal Relationships, 15(1), 103–122. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6811.2007.00187.x [5] Kluwer, E. S., & Johnson, M. D. (2007). Conflict Frequency and Relationship Quality Across the Transition to Parenthood. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69(5), 1089–1106. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2007.00434.x [6] Koivunen, J. M., Rothaupt, J. W., & Wolfgram, S. M. (2009). Gender Dynamics and Role Adjustment During the Transition to Parenthood: Current Perspectives. The Family Journal, 17(4), 323–328. http://doi.org/10.1177/1066480709347360 [7] Glade, A. C., Bean, R. A., & Vira, R. (2005). A Prime Time for Marital/Relational Intervention: A Review of the Transition to Parenthood Literature with Treatment Recommendations. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 33(4), 319–336. http://doi.org/10.1080/01926180590962138 [8] Glenn, F. (2007). Growing together, or drifting apart: children with disabilities and their parents’ relationship. London: OnePlusOne.
Article | communication, parenting together, big changes
7 min read
“Difficulty coming to terms with her past”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I've had an online female friend for a couple of years (I have been single for some time and quite comfortable with that) and we use to chat every few weeks via a chat program and occasionally over Skype. Recently she was facing some problems at work and was clearly stressed and anxious about her future. As someone who helps many friends I offered to help her with this issue. We resolved the issue over a two week period and got to know each other much better. Soon the phone calls became marathon sessions of up to 6 hours at a time, just talking as friends and being very open about our lives, loves lost and gained, and our general history. She is also going through another small issue for which I lend an ear to vent into. It became clear that she had faced some significant challenges in her early life which led her to join the military as soon as she could leave home. I found her strength of character, intelligence and sense of humor fairly intoxicating but as she had shown no interest, left it alone. Later she hinted at an interest but not wanting to damage a friendship by making a mistake I have continued to leave things as they are. I have been described as unusual for a guy in that I have strong feelings about the importance of trust and respect in relationships and never betraying someone by being unfaithful. I would rather end a relationship on a basis of mutual respect than cause someone pain just because of an inability to face up to issues. In a recent call she dropped some bombs (well to me they were bombs) about several relationships she had with married men (all military and mostly while on deployment). She said that she was attracted to these men and they to her and that in the military it's basically accepted that if you are away from home and mentally stable, you can be unfaithful and it's no problem. She said that each time both parties were just having sex and that no 'relationship' was created or intended. She also talked about being completely comfortable with using guys just for sex. She is still Facebook friends with all these men. I can safely say that many men I know would love to have a sex only relationship such as those she engaged in. Everyone has a past of some kind and my attitude to people's past relationships is generally that the past is the past but in this case, her flippant attitude towards the fact that these men were betraying wives that loved and supported them, and trusted them to be faithful and not bring home an STD threw me completely. In fact it makes my stomach turn. She does not appear to have remorse/guilt over the potential impact to the families involved and only once referenced them in a negative light as 'silly mistakes'. She has also mentioned married guys hitting on her recently and her main reason for not jumping them was because they were not attractive, not because they were married... You often hear people say 'Don't judge' and I am trying to resolve in my own head if I am wrong to not understand how a person that has been betrayed herself, is clearly intelligent, confident and driven, could care so little about others. I have also wondered if in fact she does feel bad about these 'non-relationships' and laughs them off to avoid talking about them and it just comes across as cold, or that perhaps she is simply a deeply selfish person I should avoid. So now my first instinct is to withdraw and not have anything more to do with her because it seems to me that it requires a significant level of detachment and lack of empathy to sleep with married men and not have any concerns for the potential destruction to an innocent person's life. I'd be interested to know if I'm overreacting or simply missing the plot here and that in this day and age it's considered ok to be unfaithful or that it's bad for the man but understandable and not so bad if a woman knowingly helps a man betray his wife because I need decide whether to continue holding out the hand of friendship or to simply cut her off entirely. Feel free to be as blunt as you want as I'm not the sensitive type, just looking for answers. Thanks.
Ask the community | trust, cheating
“I cannot trust a trustworthy man”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hello. I’ve met my partner a year ago, I love him dearly and have wanted to meet someone like him for a long time and see such a good future ahead of us... cue the ugly anxiety and insecurity from my part that raises its head constantly in the relationship (past trust issues with exes, life situations have greatly shattered my levels of trust and distorted my reality of how I perceive what is potentially threatening to my happiness) Recently, I made the mistake of looking at his pc..out of morbid curiosity to see what pics of his ex looked like. I opened up a can of worms as there were photo albums of them just kissing- photo after photo, the album was even called ‘kisses’. There were also folders of Valentines celebrations, plus many more seemingly happy and romantic times they’d shared. He’s always lead me to believe that this woman he was with for a few years wasn’t the one for him and that he didn’t see a future with her- despite his proposal to her a few years back. He’s always said they had no connection and that he is completely over that relationship. I know I shouldn’t have done this..but I deleted the photo albums. A few weeks ago, I stupidly returned to his pc and saw that he’d moved the photo albums I deleted to the original file paths on his computer- making me question why the hell he would want to keep photos of him and her kissing passionately and sharing valentines dinners. What I want to address is both why he would want to keep these pics and also what it is that I’m so insecure about. He’s never given me a reason not to trust him yet I can’t help but feel I should prepare myself for hurt. I’ve seen a counsellor about my levels of anxiety and insecurity but it was a short term solution to a long term issue of mine. I feel like I’m sabotaging a good relationship by looking for things to hurt or worry me and I would so appreciate anyone else’s views or advice on this. I can’t tell my friends or family as I feel too embarrassed by it all and my partner has understandably had enough of trying to reassure me. Please don’t judge me.
Ask the community | trust, jealousy
School holidays for separated parents
However well you are managing the week-to-week parenting arrangements with your ex-partner, the school holidays may present new challenges. If you have the children most of the time, you might be looking forward to having a break from the routine, and getting some fun time together with the children (and possibly  some ‘me time’ without them!). If you are the non-resident parent, you may have mixed feelings. You may be excited about  treating your children, and spending a bit longer together, but also anxious about potential conflict with your ex-partner. If you can work out the arrangements well in advance, you should have an easier time of it. As parents, you can both make plans, and the children will know what to expect and look forward to. However, it isn’t always easy. Planning the holidays can often lead to arguments about time, costs, and who needs a holiday most. It can also bring out the competitive nature of ex-partners. While you might feel that you have good reason to fight for your case, conflict can often leave children trapped in the middle. So, how do you keep things respectful and ensure that your children get to spend quality time with both of you? Here are a few suggestions for happier holidays: Talk with your children before making any firm plans. Don’t use your children as messengers between you and your ex. Try to see things from your ex-partner’s point of view – you will both have different feelings about how best to manage holidays. Tell the children about changes to activities, but do not overwhelm them with details. Be respectful of your ex-partner when discussing plans with your children.  Disagreements are bound to arise when dealing with your ex-partner. If you find yourself locked in battle, try to step back and remember the big picture. Try and manage everyone’s expectations as best you can, be prepared to compromise, and remember… there will be other holidays. Your children will benefit from being able to have a good time with both of you. If you can keep that goal in mind, you may be able to avoid a lot of potential disagreements. These tips can help you keep it civil: Make it a priority to develop workable plan with your ex-partner. Don’t argue with your ex-partner in front of your children – even on the phone. Avoid talking to your children about your ex-partner’s behaviour. Be polite and efficient when you’re sorting out the details. Focus on the strengths and interests of all family members, including your ex-partner. Remember that holidays can form a significant part of childhood memories. Finding ways for your children to cope better, and trying to be mindful of your ex-partner, can go a long way to smoothing the path and giving your family happy memories to cherish forever.
Article | contact, school
Making a commitment: goals and dreams
What are your goals and dreams? Take a moment to think about why you'd like to achieve certain things. Often there’s an underlying need – such as stability, excitement, popularity or self-fulfilment. With some goals, it may be more about being true to the things that matter for you, like caring for friends and family, working in a job that makes a difference, or standing up for your beliefs and values. Discussing your dreams with your partner – sharing what drives you – can help you to feel closer and more intimate as you make a commitment to each other. Hopes and expectations   As well as sharing your dreams, it is important to look at what each of you expects from your life together. Being open and clear about your hopes and expectations can help you work together to achieve what you both want. Your hopes and expectations will be influenced by many things, including previous relationships, friends, family members, the media, your age, and some of your significant life experiences. One of the most significant influences might be whatever you learned from your parents’ relationships as you were growing up. Some of your learned behaviour from your parents may not show itself until you enter a long-term relationship or become a parent yourself, but it can have a much more powerful influence than you realise. Finding yourself behaving like your parents can be a shock, especially if it’s something you have been trying to avoid. It's perfectly normal to have doubts or feel scared about making a commitment. Taking steps like moving in together, getting married, or having children are among the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life. But, if you can share your feelings, and support and reassure each other, then you're on the right track. Money matters Making a commitment can be like a merger. You may need to strike a balance between holding on to some financial independence and covering your new shared responsibilities. Because money is a sensitive and personal issue, many couples avoid talking about their concerns, especially in the early days. But, if you are worried about money, you may be able to help avoid problems getting any bigger by having an open conversation with your partner, and making plans. There are certain factors that can help you determine whether money might be a problem between you – differences in what you earn; what you like to spend money on; how you split paying for going out; how you handle big purchases like holidays; etc. Getting married or moving in together can be expensive, and many couples will need to rely on loans or credit to cover the costs. Before you take on any debts, agree together how you are going to pay it back, and make sure you can manage it together. If one partner feels pressured into financial outlays that they can’t afford, it can lead to unnecessary stress and resentment, so it’s important to discuss money concerns when they first arise. Having a monthly planner can help. You can work out a budget together, including all items that you will cover as a couple, and keeping your individual spending separate. Work out what you will spend each month, and which of you will take responsibility for what. A joint account can be a good way of dealing with shared outgoings like rent, bills, and grocery shopping. Sorting this stuff out early can help you avoid arguments later . Working out your budget may trigger conversations about what will change as you deepen your commitment. Be honest with each other about your worries and expectations. Discuss your attitudes to money and any hopes and fears you may have about financial security. In addition to the monthly planner, you might want to look at your longer-term goals. Write down some ideas for what you want to accomplish over the next few years. This doesn’t need to be set in stone – you can revisit it yearly to see how things are going and what, if anything, has changed for both of you. Even when you don’t agree, having a sense of each other’s goals and dreams can help you to understand each other better.
Article | commitment, goals
“Do trust issues ever go away?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I've been in a relationship with my now girlfriend for about 3 years. We have been living together for about 2 years. We recently have had some trust issues (going both ways), and though we have everything worked out, things feel a little "weird", and I'm wondering - will that feeling ever go away? Without getting into too much detail, she hacked into my email account (which is where I am having a difficult time with the trust), but admittedly she found some things that shouldn't have been there (which is where she is having a tough time). Specifically, a month or so ago, I had posted an ad in Backpage - it wasn't a serious ad, nor did it have any serious intentions, or real intentions at all. I sound like a terrible person writing this, but for years in the past, I had posted fake ads on Backpage looking for the responses to get some sick jolly out of it. I realize how wrong it was now, but - I'm wondering, will this weird feeling ever go away? And more specifically - I feel like while I will get over this issue, and though she says she is over it, I'm wondering if ever truly will be, or will ever truly trust me? People have much worse issues (actual physical cheating, gambling, ETC.) that strong relationships can prevail over - right? Or not so much?  Thank so much for any insight or help. 
Ask the community | trust
“When do I cut the cord?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   My boyfriend went on vacation for two weeks with his family. Suddenly I felt so relieved that he was gone. He was playing video games a lot and appearing very addicted and more into them than life itself. We had a lot of arguments about playing a healthy amount and he only resented me for it. I started carrying negativity around with me because of him without even realizing it. I felt like he loved me because of how he’d look at me after a fight - that twinkle and long gaze still in his eyes. I thought he loved me when he’d tell me how beautiful, hot, gorgeous I was and would wrap me in a big bear hug. I thought he’d love me when he’d regularly go grocery shopping with me and help me cook each meal. I felt like we were a real team. However other things can drain even these special moments in a relationship. He would make false promises about when he would be done his game late at night. He would be inconsiderate about me getting my sleep. He didn’t seem that interested about my job and at his worst said, “I don’t know how much longer I can handle being married to a teacher”. He didn’t see me for me anymore. I’d text him things during this vacation that were of interest and when we’d finally talk a few days later he wouldn’t even think to ask about them. He’d also decide to end the conversation when he was ready - this most recent time because he wanted to go and eat snacks. A much more courteous thing would have been to ask if there is anything else I wanted to say or ask if we were done and to set up a follow-up phone call. Nope, just goodbye and that’s that. I’m at the point of not wanting to care anymore but still caring that he has treated me like shit and dragged me through his depression and stress of the last 8-12 months and still is just barely average on the scale of being a considerate boyfriend (in my eyes at this moment). I get together with friends who make me feel much more heard and interesting. They do it by truly listening. They do it by admiring my profession - many of them are in my profession and they understand its meaning and power. I find myself with someone who wants to hide out in the virtual world playing video games, while I’ve been going to work and slaying dragons face to face daily. I told him on the phone today how it felt nice in some ways to be alone because I didn’t have to worry about being disappointed or dishonoured anymore. He just brushed it off as if it was no big deal. He didn’t want to acknowledge the ugliness of his ways. His false promises. I’m stuck thinking about the seemingly perfect guy he was for the first 2.5 years of our relationship who morphed in the past year into someone very reserved, depressed and obsessed with World of Warcraft. I don’t even think it matters now that the obsession is World of Warcraft. I think it could be anything and his value of me would instantly sink to being second on the list. I’m at a point where being single might actually be better and yet I have my hand holding onto this heart that feels so nice to have my ear pressed against. A warm body that feels so good to snuggle. Someone who loves me without makeup and accepts my healthy diet goals and eats the same way. Someone who values meditation as I do. Yet someone who keeps fucking up, acting selfish and immature and not learning from their hurtful mistakes. This vacation came at a bad time where I feel abandoned. He was just starting to make positive changes - he threw out the weed he had secretly been smoking twice a day (sigh), and was doing enemas and the sauna treatments for the healing program he is on but was not doing properly a year ago. I just feel worse after talking to him. I feel like he is an asshole. I actually hate him for all he’s done or hasn’t done. When he is in the apartment with me you let it go. You are kind to the person in front of you. Now that he is gone however, it sits there and I am full of rage for someone who couldn’t understand my values or concerns or worries. I am reminded of how he has made me feel unheard, powerless, as if my job is insignificant and as if I just can’t compete with his hobbies which are clearly so much more interesting if he has trouble pulling himself away from them to interact with me. I am the prize he thinks he has won and suddenly got too lazy to keep happy. He reads all the self-help, deep quotes, and insightful videos I send him and agrees with their messages or says he finds them inspiring. But his words mean nothing now. They mean absolutely nothing. So I look to his actions and feel disappointed. I see the same selfish ways in the little things. “I’m hungry, so I guess we should end this conversation so I can go get snacks”. Lame. When do I just cut the cord, cry over what never was and move on? OR when does he finally find ways to snap out of the depression and become the kind and considerate and present person he once was? I can’t tell if I am a fool for giving up on someone who is about to be spiritually reborn and awaken from the darkness, or if I am a fool for wasting my time in something that was never meant to be.
Ask the community | addiction, communication
She suddenly ignore me.
I knew one girl in my previous company and we never talk to each other before. I been there for more than two years, one thing I realise is each time she see me, she will smile with me , inside the lift, in meeting room, anywhere you name it. On my last day with my previous company, she suddenly came and see me and said this word to me: " lucky I can see you and she shake hand with me and wish me all the best" , after that I told her that we will see each other again in near future, after three week I left my previous company, I got her contact and I text her for the first time. the first time text is positive but after second text on another date (two week after first text) , she not reply to me anymore.. I want be friend with her not the relation one as I already married. Below are the conversation between us: John said: Hi Sally , how are you? I am John Sally said: Sorry John, from? John said: HP ex staff.. Remember my last day u came and shake hand one... Sally said: Wah.... many ... which is the John Lee? John said: Yes.. haha Sally said: Hehe sorry I dint save your number Sally said: Great Sally said: Now that I recall Sally said: (she put Smiling Face With Smiling Eyes) John said: Hope u doing well Sally said: Thank you... not so well... but stuck in Maxis Sally said: How have u been, ? John said: I am good.. my blood pressure also improve lot... Sally said: Gosh.... I need a glucose n pressure machine now Sally said: Good to hear that Sally said: Hehe John said: U also had Blood Pressure? John said: I really hope one day we can meet up again... hehe..for lunch or dinner. Sally said: Sure, my pleasure Sally said: Now heading north- balik kampung for weekend John said: Oh... ok.. take care and drive safe . keep in touch ya Sally said: Ok After two weeks I text her again said “ How your life recently?” then until now she not response to me..
Ask the community | stress, communication, jealousy
“Man-child husband”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   My husband is in his late 20s and is terrible with money. He has never been GREAT but now it’s awful. We have never shared a bank account until a few months ago before we bought a house. After that, I caught him taking money from my savings acct when he made well enough to pay his bills AND have spending money. Lately, he hasn’t been paying any bills besides $150, but still has no money. He has a part time job after getting laid off, and has no drive to get a full time job. I work full time and I’m sick of paying all the bills by myself. I watch him do fun stuff with his friends while I work, come home, wait to go back to work. He doesn’t contribute to chores. He spends every second he can with his friends. I’m also concerned he has a drinking problem since for awhile he was at the bar or knocking back a 6pack every night. He’s “tried to quit” drinking several times and it only lasts a month. He’s also gained 75 pounds (majority from drinking). Two months ago, his car was repossessed after he said he’d “been making payments”. Now we owe his parents money and I found out a few days ago he has a $2k credit card bill I had no idea about. We just got our tax returns back and he thinks he’s entitled to my half and his half. AND he overdrew his bank account, causing them to take the money from my account. So, for the 2nd week in a row I have no money to pay bills or buy groceries! I have bailed him out with money several times. When his license was suspended and we had court costs....fixing things on his car that he “didn’t have money for”.....money for a down payment for the car..... I don’t believe I’m responsible for the debt he has accrued. I feel as if the tables were turned he wouldn’t be offering any help to me. I feel maybe if he had to dig himself out of debt he will finally learn a lesson. I love the man he used to be, and I really want to make our marriage work but I’m so frustrated. I feel as if I’m ready to settle and have children and he still wants to act like a child. To make matters worse, his mother is always trying to give me advice on “how to be a better wife”. I’ve tried nagging him, gently and encouragingly talking to him, and praying and nothing has helped. I feel like a failure and it’s put me into a depression. I’ve considered temporary seperation, but it breaks my heart to even think about that. Please give me any advice. I feel like it’s a losing battle 🙁
Ask the community | stress, communication, jealousy
“Something she said years ago”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   We've been together for over 30 years...since high school. About 25 years ago, we had a big argument, enough of one that I stormed out for long walk to get my head straight. When I returned, we were both sorry it had happened and the first words to come out of her mouth was, "I made a mistake." At the time, less experience in hand, I assumed that to mean that she was sorry for the argument but now I wonder if she was. Why didn't she say, "I'm sorry", or "It was my fault", or "I shouldn't have gotten mad", or something along those lines. But she said she made a mistake, which leads me to wonder, as I have for many years, if she was trying to fess up to having cheated, which may explain why we got into an argument over something stupid to begin with...her feeling guilty. Truly, a person doesn't make a mistake when they cheat, as it's a choice, not an accidental choice either as it would have to be planned. So in anyone's estimation, is it likely that I have cause for wonder? Did she cheat and when I didn't pursue her statement she decided not to bring it up again thinking all was in the past? This has bothered me on and off for years and pops into my head every great once in a while when something reminds me of those times in the past. I even asked her about this a couple of years ago and she said she didn't remember saying that but it had to be because of our argument. If I found it to be true, I'd most likely forgive her, as it would have happened years before we were married. And it would give me a feeling a finally knowing the truth so that I could put it behind me. Should I ask her again and be steadfast that I want a real answer and explain to her my misgivings about her choice of words having given me this thought? What is the likelihood she really did cheat?
User article | trust, arguments
“Is my husband controlling?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I have been reading a book on controlling partners and there have been clear signs that he is controlling, but even though I am more aware of his behavior, I am having a hard time distinguishing what is controlling and what isn't for the day to day stuff. I will give a few examples of what has happened in the last few weeks: 1- My husband and I want to lose weight and eat healthier. I started to cut up fruit and veggies and I made him a smoothie each day for a week. He has mostly boiled eggs and peeled them. One evening he reminded me that I hadn't made a smoothie for him yet, and I said that I need to show him how to make one. He turned to me and said "oh, I knew that was coming" - implying that I would not be making his smoothies for the long haul. I quickly replied that I was just kidding and got up and made him his lunch for the next day. 2-The other day I was cleaning the house. The last few months I have not been cleaning at all and our house is a disaster. With spring coming, I put in a good 5 hours doing laundry, wiping down the kitchen, dusting and cleaning the entry way. Our entry way was pretty grungy so I decided to wipe down everything including the window blinds. I removed the blinds and took them to the bathroom and quickly cleaned them (about 15 minutes). Later that evening, I was explaining how easy it was to clean the blinds and my husband got frustrated with me and asked me "I don't want to start a fight, but that was the most important thing to clean at this time?" I had to justify that yes it was because of the dust on the blinds, and that it would benefit us later and that I didn't take a long time on them." He dropped the discussion, but I felt criticized. 3- The other night, he asked for a glass of water...well actually he said "you should get up and get me a glass of water." I told him that he could get up, and he looked at me and said (I think jokingly) I could get up as well and get him water. I stood my ground and didn't move, but neither did he...
Ask the community | arguments, despair, control
Dealing with anger during a separation
Anger is a natural and common response to loss. Anybody going through a relationship breakdown is likely to get angry at some point. However, anger can sometimes be scary – not just for the person on the receiving end, but also for the person experiencing it. The intensity of feeling can make you feel like you’re out of control.  You may swing unpredictably from feelings of rage and revenge, to insecurity and sadness, and back again. Simply feeling angry is not necessarily a matter for concern, but how you deal with that anger is important. Feeling angry can be healthy when it gives you the energy to get on and take control; when it protects your self-esteem and helps you to stand up for yourself. It might also help you to separate emotionally from your ex. However, it’s important to remember the following Don’t bottle up your anger and turn it inwards. This can make you less available to your children, depriving them of the valuable relationship they have with you. In extreme cases, it can even lead to depression.   Don’t express your anger as aggression. Aggression, including the silent or passive kinds) can damage you and the people around you. Witnessing conflict is frightening for children and can have damaging effects. Anger directed at the children’s other parent will interfere with the development of a co-parenting relationship and will affect the quality of your children’s relationships with both parents. To make sure that your anger works through in a healthy way, talk about your feelings to trusted friends and family, or a professional counsellor. Take care of yourself – eat well and get some exercise. If you feel your anger is becoming a problem, you may need to change the way you think You may think you have a right to be angry and that whoever it’s directed at deserves it. Ask yourself what good the anger is doing. Weigh this up against the damage it could be doing to you and your children. You may think it’s OK to be angry because it doesn’t affect anyone else. However, it doesn’t do you any good to remain stuck in the past, unable to move on and, no matter how hard you try to keep things in, the people around you may still be affected by your anger. You may see anger as a way to get what you want. Try to let go of this and aim for positive communication. You will stand a much better chance of coming to an agreement with your ex when you can discuss things calmly. To get through an angry phase, you may need to acknowledge past pain. If you feel that your response to the current situation is disproportionate, it’s possible that you’re still reacting past injustices. Although you can’t do anything to change your experiences, you can work on changing your attitude towards them. It can be difficult to do this alone and counselling could help you to explore your feelings in a safe way. If you are being affected by your partner’s anger If your ex’s anger seems extreme or if they seem to be stuck in anger and unable to move on, you may need to protect yourself by limiting your contact with your ex. Your priority is to make yourself and your children safe. You may need to involve a solicitor to help and advise you. The Domestic Violence Helpline offers confidential support and information 24 hours a day.
Article | separation, anger
Family mediation
What is mediation? Mediation is a place for separated and separating parents to talk about their children, property and finances. It is a form of dispute resolution that offers parents a safe place to have an open and honest discussion. Mediation is confidential – everything you say is private and will not be used in any court proceedings. Trained family mediators are non-judgemental and impartial. They do not tell you what to do, and you remain in control of the decision making. A mediator’s role is to support you in finding solutions that work for everyone.   Does family mediation work? Mediation works best when parents want to find a way forward and sort things out. People who use mediation sessions to resolve their disagreements usually come to an agreement sooner and at less cost than those who use solicitors and go to court. Family mediation can also reduce ongoing conflict. You are required to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before you can start court proceedings. This session can help you decide whether mediation is right for you. Using mediation does not stop you from going to court later if you still feel you need to. How much does mediation cost and how many meetings will I need? Prices vary but if you are on a low income you may qualify for legal aid. The number of meetings you will need depends on the complexity of issues that need to be resolved. Issues about contact can take one or two meetings but if you need to discuss property and financial issues as well, you may need three to five meetings. Will the mediator give me legal advice? Mediators can give you legal information but they will not give you legal advice. You can always take legal advice from another source before finalising an agreement you've reached in mediation. I don’t trust my ex to stick to an agreement if it’s not legal. Wouldn’t it be better to go straight to court? Agreements made in mediation are not legally binding. However, experience shows that agreements made voluntarily are more likely than court orders to reflect children’s and parents’ needs, and are therefore more likely to last. It also helps to improve understanding, restore communication and build trust. If necessary, agreements made in mediation can be used as the basis of a court order. In the case of property and financial issues on divorce, a memorandum of understanding produced in mediation can be used as the basis of a consent order. What if I feel pressured to agree to something I’ll regret later? Although the mediator will provide encouragement, you will not be pressured into agreeing anything and it is up to you to make the final decision. If you are discussing property and financial issues, you are advised to obtain legal advice on your proposals before finalising them. Who else will be in the meeting? Usually, only the mediator and the parents are present at meetings. Occasionally it is helpful to have a supporter or a legal advisor present at a meeting but both parents would need to agree to this. Can the children be included? Some mediation services offer children the opportunity to be included in the process. Research has found that children feel better if they have an opportunity to have their say about decisions that affect them. There’s no point – we’ll never agree It is not unusual to feel that agreement is impossible, especially if your previous attempts have failed. However, mediation is a different approach and the presence of a trained mediator can make a big difference to the kind of conversation you can have. Mediation may work where other methods have failed. What if my partner is better at negotiating than I am? How will I get my point across? Mediators are trained to make sure both parents’ views are heard and understood. They do not take sides so they will not be influenced if one person is a better negotiator than the other. I don’t think my ex will come Mediation is voluntary, so people can’t be forced to come. However, the mediator will write to your ex explaining the purpose of the meeting and offering to meet them alone to discuss their options. This can be a helpful for parents who feel reluctant about using the service. For further information and advice about family mediation, visit National Family Mediation (NFM) or the mediation helpline.
Article | mediation
“Is my husband gay?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I've been with my husband for 12 years since we were 18 and 20. About 6 months ago whilst pregnant I accidentally found some internet history that showed my husband was viewing gay porn. I found it on 2 occasions on 2 separate devices. I immediately freaked out thinking our whole life was a lie and he was actually gay using me as a cover or whatever. I confronted him and he said he was embarrassed and assured me he wasn't gay and loved me etc. I forgot about it until recently I stumbled across it again. I'm started to question our relationship and now feel super anxious about it and worried he will later decide he doesn't want to be with me and I'll be a single mum with 2 kids. I've spoken to him about how I feel and he again reassures me he is not gay and loves me and wants to grow old with me etc. I just can't shake the thoughts. It's constantly on my mind and started to affect the relationship and my parenting as I feel constantly distracted. I've had postnatal depression before so not sure if this could be playing a part too in my anxiety or am I right to feel anxious about this. Apart from this he's a loving husband and father who I can't fault otherwise. Please help!
Ask the community | sex, intimacy, sexless
“Was my partner cheating?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Dating for 2 1/2 years I'm in California she is in Nevada. Had a few breakups she has major issues with me and my ex wife being compatible we have kids. In March of 2017 we had a short breakup like a week. We were talking and texting the next day after the break up mostly still Arguing which turned to when I was going to drive to see her then got back together. I asked back then if anyone hit her up, she said a guy she worked for texted her telling her he was divorced from his wife she told him she and I broke up. She told me that was it. Fast forward to January 2018, I'm on her computer looking for a certain pic of us and find a sexually explicit video sent by this guy. In the same file was similar videos of her... obviously sent to him. Called her out she lied saying he or she didn't send anything which then went to He sent video then She did but she didn't remember what she sent etc... She said this happened over a TWO day period during the "break up" Which wasn't really a break up.. I'm petty messed up over all this as doesn't go down that way theses days does it? I asked if they slept together she said no and had stuck to that for two months... Not sure i believe that at all... He is a total freak as she is too, so I'm not convinced. I feel she is still lying so Im about to break it off... Any thoughts? Opinions. Oh and then she tells me just the other day that the videos that were sent were some of the ones shade and sent to me... . She said she did not make them specifically for him.. What do you think I should do? She also was sexting him for that time as well, I told her I saw conversation, she said it was non stop for the two days...advice?
Ask the community | trust, cheating, long distance
“My partner refused to block his stalking ex”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I'm in a relationship with this amazing guy for two years now. Back when we first started dating he told a brief story about a school friend he ended up having an affair with a few years ago. Now two years later this woman sends me a friends request on fb. At this point i dont realise she is the person he told me about. He says its his school friend, and that she sent him a message saying how much she enjoys creeping his love story with me and all my photographs of us (im a photographer), and would i do maternity pics for her daughter. At which point my gut feeling starts stirring. Keep in mind, he only mentions that after asked who is this woman sending me friends request. He gets defensive and says she is just a school friend admiring my photography. I accept her request and forgot about it for a week. Yesterday i get a message from her wondering if i would do the photos. And btw she yet again mentions how she enjoys creeping (her choice of words) our profiles. And she is a school friend. At this point my gut is screaming blue murder inside of me! Im trying to not react without having my ducks in the row. After looking at her profile i relise she is in fact the woman my partner had a brief affair with. However at this point both of them identified themselfes to me only as school friends. In the evening after work i ask my partner if the woman in question is who i think she is. He is surprised i remember and admits that she is. And it also transpires that he already responded to her on my behalf stating that i would love to do the photos for her expecting daughter and that i have a home studio and we also travel to town where she resides from time to time, basically offering my services to his ex without me even knowing. Correct me if i am wrong, but i see such situation highly inappropriate, especially given the fact neighter of them were in a hurry to tell me they were more than friends. I took this really hard. I felt very insulted and disrespected and i lost my cool... I was sooo mad to find out that my man would invite someone he slept with into my home, hiding the fact they had a thing. I responded to her telling her that i am aware they are more than friends and told her to go creep somebody else. Her only response was "oh....." Clearly my partner did not expect me to remember the story he told me two years ago. I told him how hurt it made me feel and asked him to tell her to stop creeping us and leave us the hell alone. He didnt do it. The conflict carried on into today as i was getting more and more upset about his refusal to respond to her and remove her from his social media. He said he doesnt want another conflict. But ots ok to have a conflict with me? I told him if he wants to fix this situation he needs to respond to her and block her to stop the creeping. I dont need him openly inviting his sex buddy into my house, even if just for business.... I left for a couple of hours in hopes he would do it. No such dice. I could not believe the resistance. We had a fight, he unfriended her just to shut me up and refused to message her or block her. Im still very hurt because he chose to avoid a conflict with her, over my peace of mind. I would probably have not gotten this upset, but he had a history of befriending and following lots of women in the beginning of our relationship. It stopped after i asked him to stop. But i am blown away by his resistance to do anything in this situation. Thoughts? Tia
Ask the community | trust, cheating, emotional affair
“My wife had an affair”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Six months or so ago I stumbled upon emails between my wife and her therapist. I didn't know she had been to a therapist however I felt relieved she was seeking help as she wasn't happy. Our marriage was becoming stale and we were not really connecting as a couple and hadn't for a couple of years. I blame myself for a lot of this as I was working very hard and long hours to establish a new business and didn't give my wife the help and attention she deserved with the kids and around the home. I suggested we went to some sort of relationship councelling but at the time she didn't want to so I was surprised but pleased she was coming round to the idea of therapy. As I read the emails, they became more intimate and quite clearly revealed that they were having some kind of an affair. I confronted her about them and she went into a rant about how I had driven her to seek the attention she wasn't getting at home. I couldn't really argue that point but was still shell shocked by this discovery. The last six months have been hard but I have been around for her and the kids. I arranged date nights and on a few occasions we've taken the kids to stay over at friends house and gone out for meals and stayed over in fancy hotels. We are at a point now where I am still trying to make up for the past but I feel she isn't as committed. We have no intimacy and sex seems to be off the agenda. I love her very much and she says she loves me too but last week I discovered that she is still friends on Facebook with the therapist and I feel upset and find trust slipping away again. She says that they don't communicate anymore but I'm not convinced. Since I discovered the affair it seems like she actively avoids any intimacy. She goes off to bed early as she says she's tired and won't let me even put my arm around her when I go to bed. When I try to be intimate with her she makes excuses and she gets up really early. I have suggested relationship councelling again but she doesn't want to. I really want to get things back to where we once we're. A loving intimate couple who spend time enjoying each others company. I feel so alone and the only connection we make is a kiss when either of us leave the house or when we say goodnight. Am I doing something wrong? Am I being selfish or expecting too much? I've rambled on quite enough and apologize for digressing from the title somewhat. I'd love to hear any suggestions or advice as I'm out of energy and ideas.
Ask the community | trust, cheating
Two parents, two homes
After a separation, most children want reassurance that, although life is changing, they will still have access to both of their parents. It can also be important to keep in touch with other family members who may also be a source of support and can help a child adjust to new family arrangements. The quality of parenting during contact matters more than the amount of contact. Effective parenting – showing an interest, offering encouragement, giving love and warmth – is what counts. There are situations, however, where contact may be damaging, such as where there is no previous relationship; or where there are known risks of abuse or neglect, domestic violence, or extreme conflict between the parents. What children think about contact Both parents need to agree contact arrangements, taking account of changing circumstances as children grow older. Younger children benefit from frequent and regular contact, but older children prefer parents to be flexible, as they have their own social activities and friends to make time for. Research into how children feel about contact shows that: Most children want contact. Most children still value the parent who has left home, seeing them as an important part of their family. Losing touch is painful and, even where there is contact, some children want more. Children in the same family sometimes feel differently about the same arrangements. Children tend to be happier when they are involved in decisions and can talk to a parent about problems. Children need to feel that their views about contact are considered. Children usually enjoy contact, but can find it distressing if parents don't turn up as arranged. Other problems for children include: Feeling torn between parents. Seeing parents argue. Harassment or abuse. Being used as a go-between. Relationships with a parent's new partner. Missing the resident parent. Having to move betweentwo homes. Some children will fight against contact. They may feel too upset, angry and confused for a while – this is likely to be temporary. What contact arrangements should be made? There's no single way of arranging contact to suit all children and parents. Some parents share care, where a child spends a percentage of their time with one parent and the rest with the other. Sometimes, contact is every other weekend, holidays only, or day visits. Arrangements will depend on the children’s personal circumstances; the distance between their homes; suitable accommodation; any financial constraints; and the parents’ working patterns. What the children want, and their age and maturity, will also be considered. Adults’ and children’s needs change as circumstances change. You may have to review contact arrangements to fit in with events like moving house, changing schools, a new job, new partners, and new babies. If you need help arranging contact If you find you need help deciding on child contact issues and other aspects of your separation, family mediation could help you to exchange information, ideas and feelings constructively. You would remain responsible for all decisions.
Article | separation, contact
Housing issues after separation
The risk of losing your home, and uncertainty about where you will live, are major worries when a relationship is ending. One short-term option is to carry on living together until you’re ready to physically separate. Many couples find this breathing space useful to find out more about their options before making any big decisions. Although this arrangement can put quite a strain on a separating couple, it can give children a chance to get used to the idea of a separation while both parents are available to answer questions. If you want to leave the home quickly, speak to family or friends who may be able to offer you a place to stay. If you are at risk of violence or abuse and need to leave immediately, you can contact a support organisation like Domestic Violence Helpline, Women's Aid or Refuge. Alternatively, you can go to your local council for advice. Longer term options will depend on things like whether you rent or own your home; whether the children will be living with you; your financial situation; and what your rights are. You can check how these factors affect your personal situation at gov.uk. Broadly speaking, your options are: You stay in the house and your partner moves out. Your partner stays in the house and you move out. You both leave and find two new places to live. One of you moves out, but keeps the option of returning later. If you own your home, it doesn’t necessarily have to be sold when you separate, and the person whose name is on the tenancy agreement doesn't necessarily have to be the person who stays there. Understanding your legal position and the financial consequences of any decisions you make will be an important part of the negotiations with your partner.  A family mediator or family solicitor can help you take a realistic look at the options before you decide on the best option for your family. You can find information about your legal rights online at Shelter or gov.uk. You can also speak to someone at Citizen’s Advice, or contact a solicitor who can help make sure you understand your rights around the family home. 
Article | housing, domestic violence
3 min read
Arguing over text message or email
With modern technology, there’s always the potential for misunderstanding, and never more so than in the hands of a bickering couple. So why do so many of us allow our arguments to be played out over texts, emails and social media? Technology makes arguing easier, though rarely any more effective. If you come home to a pile of dishes your partner promised would be cleaned, the first reaction might be to vent your frustration instantly with an angry text. If a final demand notice arrives while your other half is at work, you might not want to wait to let them know what a downer it’s put on your day. One of the biggest problems with arguments over text or email is that it’s very hard to get the tone right. Tone is often difficult to convey and easy to misinterpret. Communicating with the written word can also lend itself to passive aggressive conversations, where one partner insists everything is fine in a spoken conversation and then allows the real issue to come out through texts or emails. This can be frustrating for the other partner if they want to talk things through. Some tips Think about the times you and your partner have made up after a row. What ended the argument – a knowing smile; a hug; a cup of tea? If you’re apart, you won’t always be able to make up like this, but it can often help just to hear each other’s voices on the phone. Face-to-face communication isn’t always possible and telephone call don’t always work. If you find that your partner deflects difficult subjects or shuts down on the phone, or you find it too emotional to say what you mean, email can be a valuable tool. A reasoned email can sometimes be the easiest way to express and acknowledge different points of view. Writing things down gives you a chance to stop and think, and get your point across clearly. It’s very important to allow yourself a cooling off period. Don’t send important emails when you’re still feeling upset, as you risk making impulsive comments that you may later regret. Instead, try to list the points you’d like your partner to consider. By sending them in an email you’re giving each other time to think about the reasons for being upset as well as ways to resolve them. You can then try to have a calm discussion about the issues on the phone or next time you meet, rather than a full-on argument. Remember that timing is crucial. If you send an email about last night’s bust-up and it hits your partner’s inbox during a hectic day at work, it may just make the situation feel harder to deal with. Pick your moment, and don’t hit the send button until you’re confident they’ll have the time and space to deal with it.
Article | communication, social media
“The man I loved kicked me out”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I need anyone's advice or some kind words to help me thru this.. 1 week ago the man I loved with all my heart and soul (father of my 4 Y.O. son) said he wasn't happy and basically kicked me out telling my son "go with your mom". I love him so much even though very early on I seen all the signs he was verbally abusive and heartless from the beginning but for some reason I put up with all of it. I was a stay at home mom for 5 years taking care of my daughter from a previous relationship and his son also from a prior relationship (I potty trained him and love him like my own son)... To sum it up, every time I got a job he was jealous so I'd quit.. he always took his exes side but she would drop off their son with me when it was convenient to her. He told me I was ugly stupid, a bitch, dumb, and that he wished he knew how I really was before he met me, that I tricked him into getting me pregnant. After my son was born I had post party depression and It never went away. Evolved into depression. I'm only 32 years old but I've already gone thru menopause ( my dr says it's from all the stress and complications from the abortion he made me have) so I gained weight and lost my self esteem and the little confidence i had. My daughter chose to live with her dad instead of seeing me so unhappy. Still I loved him and had the house clean and washed ironed his clothes. In my eyes he was absolutely gorgeous and too good for me. Even though he is bald and desperate to turn back time by working out daily and applies hair regrowth (secretly) every day. I felt myself slipping deeper into depression and feeling useless. I stopped going anywhere with him, feeling too far or ugly and embarrassed. I felt him getting fed up and disappointed in my appearance and I didn't have ambition to even get out of bed. He told me he was unhappy n that i needed to leave. Since he paid for all the furniture i wasn't allowed to take anything. He wouldn't look at me and told me I was a pussy for caring about him so much. I know I sound so stupid after everything he's done to me and its clear I love him way more then he loves me but I'm having a really hard time not texting him. We have a previous court order in affect stating he only see our son 3 hrs a week supervised visitations but my son asks for him and I've let him take him for a couple hrs each day hoping he will show some remorse but he goes back to making me feel beneath him. I feel like I am better then this but it's really hard knowing I've put my all into a relationship and someone who can care less about me.. please help I need advice
Ask the community | breakups, verbal abuse, contact
“I feel lonely at home”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I have been married since a year now. I am little possessive about him. I sometimes overreact because of this. As per my concept I want a person who shares everything with his wife. He likes to take his own space all the time. I feel lonely at home many times. He got a big helping mentality. He daily drops his colleagues( girls) at their home daily after work as they also stay nearby our area. I have no objections in this, though deep inside my heart I don't like it. But i take it very casually. One day he got some urgent work to complete in office. he could not complete it within the office time. So he decided to do the work after reaching home since he cant make other female colleagues wait for him whom he drops daily. I could not understand and find any reason he saying justifiable. Why cant he tell that he got work and ask them to find a way of their own to reach home. We live in a metropolitan city and there's no shortage for a public transport or for taxis. On the same day, I went for shopping in the evening and he usually picks me after I am done with shopping. That day he went straight home saying he got work and I myself found way to reach home. When I called him he said he reached home and if I need he can come and pick me. I said I will manage myself because first of all I din like the fact that he went straight home without picking me. Here I feel that he simply ignoring me and he's giving importance to his colleague gals. He made it sure that they are dropped home regularly and din mind he could pick me back or not. Please advise me. i don't know whether I need to change my attitude in life. I am ready for anything because I need him in my life. I am stuck in life with problems similar to this. Help me out please.
Ask the community | stress, communication, jealousy
“My partner won't get the help he needs”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   My partner and I have been together for 18 months. It all happened very suddenly and took both of us by surprise. Even with his history (divorced, 2 kids) as cliché as it is, it was like fate. He and his ex wife have been divorced for a few years but neither have had a serious partner so the custody arrangement has not been adhered to. As he works away from where we live and his kids also live quite a distance away, he would just stay with them whenever he went to see the kids. I was always uncomfortable with this arrangement, but their relationship ended because of her infidelity and he swore that he had no intention or interest at going back there. He just wanted to keep everything amicable for the sake of the kids. Every time he suggested having the kids on his own, she would push back and come up with some reason that she had to be there. She would repeatedly talk to him about her sex life even after he asked her to stop. Whenever he pushed back she would stop answering and cut contact with the kids. I trusted him implicitly and believed that he was working on changing their arrangements so as we could build a life together. What I was aware of but underestimated was her manipulative nature and how deep her hooks are still into him. Late last year he was visiting the kids and tried to break up with me. It came from nowhere and my gut was telling me that I didn’t have the full story. It didn’t take much for him to break down and say that he got really drunk and has a vague recollection that potentially something happened between them. He said she swore it didn’t but he didn’t believe her. We talked, I yelled, we both cried and we agreed that he needed to speak to a psychologist to learn how to deal with her. He suffers from anxiety when he is near her and it doesn’t lift until he is on the plane to come home. They were together for 15 years – she knows how to press his buttons. Long story short – we worked out the indiscretion with his ex-wife on the proviso that he sought help. Since then there have been some changes at his work and he has been away for an extended period of time. Therefore, has not done anything about seeing a psychologist and we have hardly spent any time together – he knows I am angry about that and he has been very withdrawn and not talking to me as regularly. When he came home a couple of weeks ago, he again ended it saying that there was still too much he had to deal with from his divorce, the kids and that his work situation was just not conducive to a relationship. He then went to see the kids and the whole thing just wasn’t sitting right with me. I have trouble letting things go when they don’t make sense to me. After badgering him for a proper answer, it turns out he still feels guilty about what happened and how horribly he has treated me. I still could not see why we could not work through all of that together… until today when I learnt that after he ended it again he slept with his ex wife. He can’t explain the control that she has over him and he knows she is a narcissist and manipulative but he isn’t doing anything to help himself. I am so angry at him but also I love him so much and can’t shake wanting to work through this but it took him making the same mistake twice to actually make the appointment with the psychologist. I know I deserve better but I am totally destroyed and torn about walking away. If he would just help himself and do the things he is saying he will – we could go back to the supportive relationship we had. So to recap - she is manipulative, he is weak and I am still in love. Somebody please talk some sense into me before I drunkenly beg him to keep working on fixing us.
Ask the community | mental health, ex-partner
“Court order issues”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hi, I've never done this before and it it's my first time ever posting but i needed some advice. Me and my sons dad split when he was 3 months old and hes now 11 years old. We went to court over my son when he was 11months old and court orders were put in place. These were changed in 2010 and they are now for me to have my son unsupervised overnight one week and thursday til sunday the other week. Recently me and my new partner who i have been with for 2 and a half years had an arguement where he hit me, it wasnt expected and hes never done anything like this before but due to underlying issues at the time it did happen. It was reported to the police and we have since resolved this issue ourselves. Since the incident happened someone made a call to social services stating i threatened to self harm and overdose while i have my son. I do have mental health problems but my psychiatrist has been asking about finishing my outpatient care as he feels that now i have been off my medication and stable for 3years i no longer need the help i once did. Obviously the call to social services was a lie, they rang my sons dad to tell him of the complaint. He told me about the call and what was said. He has said about my partner being around our son. Now my partner would never harm my son or do anything that would cause him harm as he loves him like his own children. My sons dad has told me that should my partner come back he will stop my son coming down to my home. I know he will be in breach of the court orders as they state he is to be made available to me on the days stated. What can i do regarding this as i do not want to lose contact with my son over someones lies to social services.
Ask the community | communication, arguments, physical abuse
“I'm pregnant and he ignores me”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I'm pregnant, just found out. All this time it was his verbal abuse that made me get pregnant. He kept saying to me that I'm 30 – which I'm not, I just turned 27 – and when was I planning to have a child? It got to my head and now I'm pregnant and he doesn't want to acknowledge the pregnancy. I have so many issues with him but these days it's mainly because he goes to work comes home and then goes into his room where he plays video games and drinks beer until he is ready to come to bed and then sleep. So he doesn't really speak to me. I ask him to hang out and let's talk but he never wants to. He's also a huge ignoramus. Every time i try to talk about our problems and get him to understand my feelings he runs away literally out the room or he just doesn't wanna hear it. One minute he says kid just tie you down, u won't be able to do anything with life... and I've seen a change in him yesterday because he went to his cousins baby shower. I guess that made him a bit heartfelt since he is now telling me he wants me to keep our baby and he will spend more time with me and I shouldn't do anything stupid because I told him I have an abortion booked. I just feel like he will change as soon as a hit 3 months because it's hard to go ahead with abortion once you are second trimester. My family is also not supportive of us. My mom hates him and says it won't be her grandchild because she hates the father. He has 2 kids from a previous relationship. She says she wants nothing to do with me if I go ahead with the pregnancy and the only way I can go back home is if I abort it. That breaks my heart because it's still a life end of the day. Also I have felt extreme guilt in the past from 2 abortions I did for him... He was always misbehaving and drinking and not taking me or the pregnancy seriously much like now. I don't know why I thought he would change i am so stupid for falling for this again.
Ask the community | pregnancy, verbal abuse, big changes
“Long distance issues”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hi there.. so I’m a 20 year old girl and i have been talking to a guy online for about 3-4 years. We had an on-&-off “virtual” relationship until we decided to finally meet last year. It only lasted a week but it seemed so perfect for both of us. Now I should probably mention that my boyfriend is an FTM transgender and is struggling with depression, anxiety etc. and he also has a very unstable living situation. I am supposed to travel to see him tomorrow (after 3 months being apart), but a week ago he asked me if we could “go on a break”. He said the relationship makes him sad because I can’t be there with him. He said he doesn’t want to break up with me and that he still wants me to visit, but he wants to be “on a break.” Now i am severely confused. I understand that he is struggling and i want to support him, but i am really scared of what’s going to happen when I go there. I don’t want to have travelled so far and then have to stay away from him while I’m there because of this break, when we are finally together after so long? I have never loved someone this much before and I’m scared I’ll get my heart broken again. I already fell apart when he asked for the break.. he told me everything would be fine and he doesn’t want this to go on for long and that he just needs some time but am I wrong to be worrying so much about this? I’m just really scared I’ll lose him.
Ask the community | breakups, big changes, long distance, LGBTQ+

Once registered you can access your own completely anonymous private “space”. Here you can set personal goals and access resources all designed to help tackle common relationship issues.


Getting relationship “advice” isn’t enough any more. I don’t want opinions, I want practical guidance that is concrete and evidence-based. That’s why I use Click Relationships.

Click user

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