Loneliness at university
Going to university can be the start of a whole new social life, but it can also be a lonely time. Loneliness comes from the gap between the social life you want and the social life you have. Any unplanned or unwanted alone time can leave you feeling lonely [1], particularly when you’re in a new place, away from all your familiar people. When you’re young and already going through a lot of upheaval, loneliness can be a powerful sensation. You’re trying to map out your future and your social world is rapidly changing. Your friends – even if they’re not be the same ones you had a few years ago – are becoming more important than ever before [1]. How does loneliness happen? The changes you are going through are often linked to some of the significant factors that can cause loneliness in young people: Changes in your social network. Becoming more independent from your parents and family. Exploring your identity [1]. As we grow up and start to figure out who we are, our social circles tend to shift from away from family, towards friends, perhaps because it’s easier to discuss the big issues with people in similar situations. When you leave home and go to university, you’ll be figuring out more about who you want to be. You may make new friends and start to let go of old ones, choosing to spend time with people who reflect your new interests and ambitions, people who can help you feel like you’re working towards the future you’ve just had your first glimpse of. This doesn’t mean that your family stops being important or that they leave your social circle entirely, but you might notice that the centre of your circle drifts closer to your friends. Transitional periods Feelings of loneliness can be exacerbated by any big life transition, including moving out of your family home and going away to study. A strong support network of close friends and family can help ease this pressure [2] but you may not always have access to this. If you’re going to university and you don’t know anyone, take advantage of the social activities on offer. Make plans to spend more time with the people you meet and seek out others who share your interests. And don’t go thinking you’ve got to rush to find a romantic partner to stop you from feeling lonely! Friendships can be just as good for you, boosting your self-esteem and mental wellbeing, and giving you all the benefits of intimacy and companionship that you’d get from a romantic partner [2]. The power of sharing One interesting way that you can deepen your sense of feeling socially connected is to share your possessions [3], which can be easily done in shared accommodation. As well as simple loans of things like books and clothes (if that’s your thing), there are a few other ways to think about sharing possessions. Setting up a TV or games console in a shared area means you and your housemates can enjoy it together. If one of you has a car, giving lifts is a good way to be helpful (in exchange for a contribution towards fuel, of course). Laptops and printers can be a handy loan for last-minute assignments. You can all save money by clubbing together for kitchen staples like salt, oil, teabags and washing up liquid. You can also save space by sharing kitchen equipment. If, say, one of you has a big frying pan and one of you has a colander, sharing these items can help you feel more connected – but do make sure you wash up afterwards! If you do lend and borrow possessions, be clear about what the boundaries are around when things are expected to be returned and in what condition. If you’re worried, a good rule is to avoid lending or borrowing anything that you can’t afford to replace.   References [1] Laursen, & Hartl. (2013). Understanding loneliness during adolescence: Developmental changes that increase the risk of perceived social isolation. Journal of Adolescence, 36(6), 1261-1268. [2] Lee, C., & Goldstein, S. (2016). Loneliness, Stress, and Social Support in Young Adulthood: Does the Source of Support Matter? Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45(3), 568-580. [3] Gentina, E., Shrum, L., & Lowrey, J. (2018). Coping with Loneliness Through Materialism: Strategies Matter for Adolescent Development of Unethical Behaviors. Journal of Business Ethics, 152(1), 103-122.
Article | university, loneliness
“He 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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   My boyfriend's last relationship failed due to her cheating on him. My relationships have always failed because I've allowed them to abuse, humiliate, and control me. Our relationship was going pretty well until I moved in. We were both used to living alone and not having to answer to anyone. I had spent 4 years in therapy gaining the strength to love myself and create boundaries with people that made me comfortable. My boyfriend hasn't had much therapy and has extreme trust issues. We had been fighting and he told me to leave. He had been trying to tell me who I could be friends with, I wasn't allowed to talk to family or friends to vent about my struggles, I had to make sure it was okay for me to go places, he wanted me to go to bed when he did, I couldn't go in another room to have time to myself, etc. I felt controlled again. I'm 47 years old and didn't feel I needed permission. I did move out. We were texting and he was very angry. Was calling me names and threatened to hurt himself. I was concerned for him and sent his sisters our conversation. Since then we have been trying to work on this and he doesn't trust me at all because I sent our texts to his sisters. I apologized and offered to do more to show he could trust me. I had to leave his house early last weekend because my best friend was in a serious car crash and I was her emergency contact. He didn't believe me and said I needed to take a picture to prove I was at the hospital. I did and my friend was extremely upset. I was devastated that I did something against her will but he said I needed to do what he asked so he could trust me. I have double pneumonia and have been in bed. He said he didn't know if i was telling the truth, but he wouldn't ask for proof. I honestly have done absolutely nothing for him not to trust me except sending our texts to his sisters. Ever. He said I haven't done anything to earn his trust and that I need to. Am I wrong in not feeling like this is right? I really need advice.
Ask the community | trust, emotional abuse, control
“He wants to take the kids”
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 found out that my five years husband was cheating on me and leaving with another woman for three months and I kicked him out. He was making feel I was paranoid and obsessed but i saw his text message as he had his phone sharing things with the laptop so I saw everything... After that I accepted it and was living my life again, after five years I was very depressed and I was not happy at all. We were being cordial for the kids , he came to my house to see them and the last time he came crying he is regretting his decision, that she was controlling him...bla, bla, bla...the worst part I believe him and we kissed. He told me he has to make a big decision. The next day he was texting me about the birthday party of his girlfriend ‘s daughter if I allowed the kids to go. Still one month for the party and i said we will speak in person...so he started getting angry that I don’t allow the kids with him that he wants to marry her...so I said after what we did yesterday and you tell me and she listened it...so she went mental and they had a big argument and now he is blaming me for all that...why i said that...and treated me that he is going to make my life a hell and he will take the kids....I am very tired of always be the one to blame for his lies and for everything... any suggestions what to do??
Ask the community | cheating, someone else
“Struggling to get over being cheated on”
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 with my boyfriend just over 2 years, its been the best and happiest relationship i have ever had and we moved in together early May this year. It was the best our relationship had ever been ( or so i thought) and he was talking about marriage, having a family etc. This all came crashing down when i received a message whilst we were on a couples holiday from a girl telling me that she had slept with my boyfriend a week prior. Ever since this has happened i think i have felt every emotion in the book and it is so exhausting. I have tried having a ‘break’ from the relationship but just couldn’t do it. I feel so weak for not being able to leave and i don’t think i have fully come to terms with the fact that this person probably isn’t who i thought he was. It hasn’t been helped due to him lying about it for weeks until i confronted him with evidence when he finally admitted it, and i don’t know whether the lies or the cheating hurt more? The woman he cheated with is gorgeous, a stripper and older than me and since this i feel completely inadequate. I can’t stop thinking what is it about me that led him to do that? why did he lie so much? how could he jeopardise a relationship like ours? I feel so low in myself and its affecting my daily life. I can’t sleep properly and constantly have flashbacks and we are now 3 months on. I feel like i should be over this by now but i just can’t move on. I love him so much and feel like i don’t know my own identity without him and i just don’t know what to do. Any advice whatsoever would be so appreciated x
Ask the community | cheating, someone else
“Relationship issues and trust”
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 particularly am writing about one of my friend who is desperately looking for help or some therapy to help her through the rough journey. Therapist visits are expensive and a lower middle class family cannot afford it. If you can somehow help her with information or an in depth article on relationship issues and how to deal with it, I'm sure it would help her and millions of maybe other women who can relate to their own story. One day she caught her husband of 26 years cheating on her. He had been seeing the other woman for past 2 years and exchanging sexual messages and spending time together alone with the other woman. He was having sexual relationship with the other woman and also constantly sexting with her for past 2 years. My friends whole world crashed. She could not accept it. Her husband was her ideal, someone she cherished and looked upon always. He was her strength. She could not bear the pain and hurt and would cry for hours locking herself in the toilet. She wanted to leave her husband but could not do so thinking of her kids. Now every time she looks at his face she cannot find the man she once loved. It was as if he was a stranger. 26 years of her life with him felt a waste. She felt let down. The day she caught him cheating was a tragic day. She was running a very high fever, so he lovingly took her to the doctor, gave her medicine and put her to bed and then went to meet the other woman saying he was going for a prayer meet. All along he was planning and plotting while being so nice to her on the face. She could not bear this hypocrisy. Everyday she goes through anguish and pain. She tells me how could he do this to her and then come back home and sleep and share their bed as if nothing happened? She says her whole faith and trust is broken and now she does not know how she can believe in him? She cannot afford a therapist. Please help her with your article or suggestions on how she can move forward. Your feedback would help her greatly. Also, I would like to mention one more thing which I missed mentioning. She had confronted her husband on this and he said that it was nothing and a mistake and would not repeat it. He said she asked him if he wanted sex and so he had said yes and it was only a sexual relation. My friend feels because he got caught and forgot their love and togetherness when he cheated on her. She feels he keeps contact with her and in his mobile her number is still kept saved. N----- talks of death and wanting to die and although she is still with him, she cannot come to terms with her pain and is unable to trust him anymore. This worries me as she was a very jovial and loving person and now she is withdrawn and in her own shell, not wanting to meet people. Please do help. Very worried for her. She is not in a position to hire a therapist. I do hope you would be able to somehow help.
Ask the community | cheating, trust, emotional affair
“Texting behind my back”
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 wife is texting a co-worker who just got divorced after 24 years of marriage. They have been texting behind my back, talking long hours on the phone. He gave her a new phone after her phone broke, I kept my mouth shut after I found out that they are getting to close to each other, but one day after I refused having sex with her, that I feel insecure and she better explains to me what is going on. She said that she will stop talking to him and texting him , but it was not my point , my point was whether i should trust you or not anymore. I know it sounds stupid but I'm the kind of persons who never trust after they have been fooled once ! I asked her what have you been guys talking about , and her answer was " we talk about stupid stuff " , I said " if me and you talk about stupid stuff for more than 20 minutes , you will be bored and want to do something fun instead ". I decided to leave her which i did for a couple months now , and never come back until she or he shows me what was the content of the text messages , otherwise there is no way that i go back with her ! Trust is not a game , she arranged a phone conference with me and the guy , he said that he does not keep his text messages and only the president of the United states can restore them and there was nothing going on between him and my wife anyway !!! now we are on a divorce process and she seems not worried at all , she just put the blame on me !!
Ask the community | cheating, trust, emotional affair
“Non-compliant ex-partner”
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 partner of 13 years is refusing to do any type of parenting with me. He won't communicate with me, blocked me on social media email and phone !! He has my 2 boys that are 11 and 5 and I was happy to let them go live with him as that is what they wanted to do. I just wanted them to be happy. We were going to co-parent but he stops me seeing them, always changes arrangements, changes arrangements if anything planned, all because he does not like my friend. He doesn't like my friend as she can see he's controlling towards me and she does not back down to him, she stands her ground !! He does not like a woman to have an opinion. I have just started court process well went to mimms meeting to try sort it out. I will co-parent and split weeks with him so both get equal time with the kids but somehow I do not think he's going to comply with anything. He tells the kids I don't bother to see them, contact them or anything when that is far from the truth. I have given my boy my old phone topped up so we have contact that way * he accuses me of all kinds of spiteful stuff saying I'm mental, I'm a druggy, and I live in a dump which all are lies. None of the things he says applies to me at all.
User article | co-parenting, contact
“My girlfriend's affair partner”
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 recently found myself in an incredible relationship with a lady that i adore. Knowing we all have a past, i am finding hers a hard one to overlook the reason why she wants to maintain a friendship with her ex that she now has been hisside piece in his affair for a few yrs. Its more convoluted than that so i am trying to be open minded here. She dated him and lived with him, broke it off but saw each other in a non commited way. Said that they would end it with each other if the other got into a relationship, but she found out he was dating someone while they were non commited sleeping with each other. Although mad about it, and his new gf found out he stayed with the new girl. My gf then continued sleeping with him on the side in secrecy for yrs now. She maintains its his affair not hers. He has helped her move, been there when she needed someone. A bond. But now being with me she wants to maintain a relationship with him. But not with me included as "he" would have issues with it. I said i would be reluctantly open to it if she met up with him with me present and she said that it would make him uncomfortable and im being jealous and insecure. My thoughts are she is not over him and she needs to break the tie to him in order to move all into our relationship. I maintain she can have guy friends like i have girl friends but this relationship im not happy with. They have spent 7 yrs from start to now, dating and non commital sex and affair sex. It sounds so obvious writing this down but am i overthinking this?
Ask the community | cheating
“Insecure in love”
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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Can anyone help ease my mind? I've been in a relationship with my boyfriend (who we will call D) for two years. Here is some of our history. In 2009 we met on Match.com, and dated for about a year. I was really crappy to him, lying, cheating, breaking up with him, getting back together with him, and continuing that cycle. We ended it in 2010 - because of me. I started dating someone else, (who we will call J). In 2014 I left my ex (J) because he was abusive, and my current boyfriend (D) was there for me for six months until I got the guts to leave my ex. The sixth month in, D started to let his guard down and let me in again....all for me to go back to J. Needless to say, D was crushed. 2016 approaches, J punches in me in the face. I decided enough is enough, called the cops and moved out that night. Four months after I left J, it was what I swear fate, that I ran into D again. Twice in two days. We started dating right away, not giving myself enough time to fully heal from the seven years of torment I had been through but I didn't want to lose D again. My issue is D has this friend, who we'll call M, who is married. They've been friends for 15 years, met in college because she dated his roommate at the time. Every week D and M will text each other, specifically on "Hump Day", which in itself bothers me. It's just to say hi and see how each other is doing. Some times I feel there are inappropriate memes sent, but D says they're harmless. I have voiced to D my insecurity and worries with this. Yes, she's been married 10 years and yes, over 10 years D has given me more and more chances than anyone should. He's never even given his "baby mama" as many chances as me. I just do not feel comfortable with this. Something in my gut says it's not right. He will change her oil (because he's a mechanic) and then they go out for tacos, not that often, but still. I have voiced this to D a few times, at first he was patient with me. Then, he started getting frustrated. I told him I don't get how a guy and a girl can be friends, and there not be something there. Especially when you've been friends 15 years, there has to be something there. He said there's never been anything between them and that she's like a sister to him and I should really just think of her as having a dick, but I can't because she doesn't. A couple weeks ago, I went through his phone and looked at his texts. He told me I could, but he does not like when I do it behind his back...which is what I did. So he changed his password and took off my fingerprint ID to get into his phone - which frustrates me. Last night I brought it up again how I am not comfortable with them texting. That there has to be something there. I don't care if she's married or not. I've been cheated on, I've cheated on people, I've even almost cheated with a married man, my mom and dad have cheated on one another, my son's father walked away from me when I was four months pregnant. He was, needless to say, frustrated and tried to keep is cool. He said nothing is there, that if they want to have dated, they could have but never did. I asked if there was an attraction there, he said she's not ugly but I'm not attracted to her in that way. I said is she attracted to you? He said if she was, she's never voiced it. I don't know...to me, if you're happy within your marriage or relationship, you don't have to reach out to someone of the opposite sex...even if it's just a hey, how you doing? Am I being ridiculous?!?!? Please tell me honestly.
Ask the community | insecurity, jealousy
“His lack of interest in sex”
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 everyone, So I have been with my partner for four years and, during the start of the relationship, he was somewhat obsessed with porn. He would masturbate anywhere from 1-3 times a day and would lie to my face saying he had cut down on porn or stopped it all together. I thought this had stopped by the time we moved in together however he would just wake up early in the morning to masturbate. We spoke about this and he has stopped this habit for the past year (or so he has told me). During the first three years of our relationship we have had a very active sex life, however i noticed that around this time last year it started to fade overtime. It has got to the point that sex is hardly ever initiated by him and it will be me that puts in the effort. Over the past couple of weeks/months, I have been trying to figure out how to liven things up with toys/pics/texts and just being overall spontaneous. I'll be waiting in lingerie for when he comes home, or invite him in the shower with me and sleeping naked but he doesn't even give me a second look. It genuinely breaks my heart and feels as though he perceives sex as a chore he has to complete (which of course i do not encourage), whenever i talk to him about this he will say things along the lines of 'fine, i'll do it tomorrow' or the classic 'i'm just tired' (no matter what time/day it is he will always say this). Even during the act, he just seems out of it and the only times he really wants it is if i suggest that we watch porn together or he fantasises about cuckolding. I just really don't know what to do, I feel pathetic and desperate sometimes. All i have running through my head is 'am i ugly?', 'does he not find me attractive anymore?', 'am i wearing too much make up or not enough?', 'maybe if i did this or that he would like it more?' I really don't know what to do at this point, I've been crying over this the past two nights as he barely touches me and the feeling of being rejected/not wanted cuts me deeply due to being abandoned as a child which i do acknowledge and try my best to overcome those feelings. Any help or advice would be so deeply appreciated.
Ask the community | sex, communication, sexless
“Intimate three times in five years”
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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Well, after five years of definitely a less than sexless marriage, three times in all.. Finally had THE CHAT! He says he loves me and attractive but each night thinks I'll wait till tomorrow.. Yes tomorrow never comes.. No pun intended.. He's a closed book usually but told him how unloved unattractive I felt. I've been patient but not desperate for sex that I would cheat but one passionate kiss at least not much to ask.. So every night we'll be in bed and I may as well be sleeping next to a stone.. He wouldn't notice if I had old pj's on or nice lingerie or even naked he's only 40.. Now he does have health issues and is now depressed.. But last week I asked him if he relieved himself he said yes last week and I know it would be to porn.. So no I am not upset that he can't be intimate I'm angry.. If you've no sex drive yet can't respond to your partner naked next to you but can do that then you are either a liar or keeping something from me. Then he admitted he also feels untrusted.. Well, over five years ago I found a secret twitter account where he'd been tweeting a female workmate way too flirty he had worked with her every night for 8 years I'd never heard of her.. Reading the tweets I was stunned I'm all for having friends but then to see thanks for visiting?? He had visited her at home once then it was twice but both times with friends when she had broken her leg.. If he had told me I would have said get her some flowers but it was the week I was in hospital with pneumonia and he couldn't visit me.. He wouldn't add me on Facebook but liked all her sorry.. slutty pics and a man's work leaving do turned out to be hers as I found out later and he'd been liking her outfit pic in the bathroom just before he went and rolled in at 6am..he finally understood he'd been disrespectful and after another 18 months I finally said enough take her off twitter and Facebook..I would have done it instantly if I had been behaving like that. He did she moved job and got a boyfriend it's the sneakiness he said he had never had a woman as a friend and it was work banter.. I let it go and accepted he'd not carry it on.. But the visiting at home was still niggling so I sent her a polite txt... She said he'd never mentioned a partner once and was very secretive but he visited twice both times alone.. Even when I told him what she said he still lied to my face.. Just the last few months I've got over the lies and deceit and after our chat I asked how he got there.. Nice.. two buses there and back. He then had another female at work start the same but he said he'd nipped it in the bud.. Partly I felt I had caused his depression by taking his 'friend' away.. So you can see where the mistrust comes in sometimes I've pretended to be asleep when he gets home not to feel like a stranger in my own bed but all he says partly I believe but funny all the intimacy stopped exactly the time she popped up. On twitter etc he's great in all other ways but now I'm getting to the point where I think uuck.. Do I really want to sleep with him never mind me intimate and days I want to say leave the car keys and door keys.. I just wish I knew if he was being truthful and things could improve or do I say adios thanks for the memories.. Nightmares.. Its his only day off today and jokingly I said you know tonight's the night he laughed and said yes takeaway and a movie.. Ffs is he just dim.. Depressed or a snide two faced liar. I'm at the end of my tether and 20 years together can't drag on if it's one sided I don't need him I want him but I want him to want me or at least take drama lessons..i still think he's carrying a torch for her and his porn watching has got him to a point where he can't do the deed with a real person. Sorry long rant but not told anyone before.. So any advice? Lying using snake or a depressed man? I have tried to help do I cut my losses while I love him or let him stay as a roommate which is all he feels like and be taken over by bitterness? The trust issue is his burden trust has to be re earned when broken or am I just putting 2 and 2 together and making 5 and overreacting?
User article | sex, communication, sexless
“Should I wait?”
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 female 50 yrs old. 25 yrs ago I had a gf. She was 18 & I was 24. I was good to her treated her like she was special. Made her feel special. Then for reasons that I don't know I started treating her mean. Well, she snuck away in the middle of the night. I tried to find her many times throughout the years. Finally , recently, I got in touch with her.she lives 3, 000 mikes away and 9 months ago she got married. She has been with her husband 5 yrs. The 1st 4 yrs. He beat her. He stopped beating her 14 months ago but he has been in jail for 9 of those months. She says She loves him. I didn't realize until we spoke how much I missed her & that I still have love for her. She says that she feels the same but she is married now. I respect that. She wants to give him another chance when he gets out & if he hits her she says that she will leave him. She sent me some nude pics. But then she felt bad & we set boundaries. With her in the lead we passed the boundaries again & went further. Sexting and ph. sex. When he gets out this month she says I cannot contact her anymore because he will beat her. I have no plans on jeopardizing what she has. She says She will contact me. She tokd me not to wait. To go out & date & if he hits her & she leaves him & I am single we can be together. I have no interest in dating anyone else. I want to wait for her. But actually don't want to give my hopes up. Should I wait for her?
Ask the community | dating, trust
“Getting over betrayal?”
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 really struggling to speak to my wife to discuss our children after an affair (on her part). Cutting a very long story short, my wife & I (in my mind) was happy, she was my soul mate and best friend. I told her everything and anything, we spent most of our time together (at work and home) we have 2 amazing children who I love dearly. I have always played a main role in both their up bringing due to me working from home since they were born. Four months ago my wife said out of the blue she wasn't happy and she had feelings for somebody else (one of our friends) she is now living with him and my 2 kids, i'm in the family home which is full of memories and ghosts. I still have regular contact with the kids but no where as much as I would like due to having to start a new job (we closed down our business due to no longer been able to work together) she got really nasty and said a lot of lies which involved me been arrested so she could clear out our home. (i hand on heart did nothing wrong. i have no reason to lie on here as nobody knows me) I don't understand how her personality can change so much - i can only think he is manipulating her (don't get me wrong i would like to 'hurt' him shall we say for what he has done, however i know i will be punished for it - so theres really no point. I just don't understand what I did? Everything was fab before - she was in tears telling me at first, so apologetic but then just turned nasty saying it was my fault she's not been happy for months etc. I did NOT once get asked for a sit down to discuss things, where i/we may have been going wrong etc. It literally went form picture perfect to its over! over night. It's really messing with my head and in all honesty i have silly thoughts all the time, my whole world has ended i just want out! but my 2 amazing kids, i cant leave them - they need me... now more than ever, they are use to seeing me 24/7 i did bath, tea bed - the lot every day. My eldest screams when i drop him off, begging me not to take him there "i dont love mummy" "i want to live with you" it kills me!!! (i'm 99% certain that she won't hurt him, no idea about the new guy though) She's now been nice again (personally i think she's having a mental break down) but she says i can come up and do bath time bed time etc, come for tea - come for xmas (wtf) (all with the new guy there) i'm sorry i just can't deal with it - like i say it was just 4 months ago, it feels so fresh like it was only a week or 2, these 4 moths have flown its scary. Please help me people! How do I get over it? I don't want her back, she's a raving evil nutter - i just want to learn how to get over the betrayal??? I hope i have made sense. Can i forgive her? How do I do it? - more my own sake as well as the kids Thanks in advance One very unhappy lonely dad 🙁 #menhavefeelingstoo
Ask the community | counselling, therapy, parenting apart, breakups
“Is it love or lust?”
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 married for 2 years, but with my husband for 5 years. We’ve had a tough year with our relationship and I’ve struggled with the lack of commitment given to our relationship by my husband. He has become emotionally and physically unengaged– he promises me nothing has happened to make him be different and says he loves me but he can’t seem to love me like he used to, I’m always giving chances after chance but I seem to get hurt every time with broken promises and lack of effort made to make our relationship work. So I began to look at myself, thinking maybe it is me, maybe I don’t have the love for myself so I began working on my own confidence/happiness so started with getting myself into fitness, getting my old body back and getting back into something I love. So, 6 months ago I joined a fitness group this has been a life saviour for me, and my attitude towards my life, relationship and my work. However, in this fitness group I met this guy who has become someone very dear to me as a friend, we began meeting outside of the fitness group for coffee, running, social events with the fitness group and we now speak every day. He speaks to me with such respect, interest, care about a month ago he went away for a few weeks and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to fizzle the friendship out to a certain aspect as the dynamics of our friendship had begun to change, things he had been saying insinuated he may possibly have feelings and I felt myself sharing such feelings, an attraction to him. This guy was due to go on holiday for 3 weeks, so I felt myself feeling as if I should fizzle out the relationship as I felt terrible I would let myself do this, and I owed my own relationship the respect it deserved after all I chose to marry this man. During the 3 weeks, I resisted all I could to not communicate with this guy, and I couldn’t but it was a lot less than it was previously – and soon the conversations became very bland so to speak, but inside I missed him so very much, but thought this was good it had actually fizzled out and it was more lust rather than anything else. However, now he is back from holiday and I've seen him in our fitness group, it has flooded back all my thoughts, emotions and conversations have sparked back without a second thought, it is like we gravitate to one another without even meaning too – I’m still trying to resist talking to him and backing off. But my relationship, still seems to have no improvements.
Ask the community | crush, someone else
“Is my baby's father interested?”
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 seeing him when he was still in a relationship. He has since then split from his partner but has a daughter from that relationship. When I told him I was pregnant he told me I had to have the baby (I was planning on another abortion until I found out I was five months). But couldn’t be involved straight away as the split from his partner had affected his daughter and he needed to put her first. This was in April. He carried on seeing me throughout my pregnancy but never asked anything about it. I told him about scans and how it was going etc. I gave birth to my beautiful boy nearly three weeks ago, which I told him when I gave birth. I asked if he wanted to see baby and the response I got was that I should rest since I had a c-section and he’d get to see him when he does. Since then he’s spoken to me normally and occasionally asks how baby is doing but it doesn’t move past that. I also asked about a middle name and what surname to put down on the birth certificate and he said that it was up to me and I should choose. He didn’t seem too keen to give him his surname. Am I wrong to question if he wants to be involved again? I feel like he’s not very interested. Yet wants to see me for sex etc? I’m really confused about what to do in regards to this.
Ask the community | trust, cheating
“He never wants to be intimate”
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 everyone, I've been needing to get something off my chest for a long time now. It's something very personal and I can't bring myself to talk to anyone in my social circle or family, because I feel very embarrassed, neglected and as if something is wrong with me. I've been seeing my partner for about 10 months now. For context, I haven't had very many sexual partners as I've always been in committed relationships since my teens (and am now 24). My partner (28) on the other hand has had many sexual partners and has never been in a committed relationship before me, and would, I quote, "pump and dump". So a very big player who would just fuck around, pardon my language. At the beginning of the relationship, physically everything was great, we were both very into each other and would be intimate almost every time we saw each other. However, after 4/5 months of being together, the physical intimacy became much more scarce. He would never initiate, or say he was tired. I was the one always initiating and trying to be intimate, and they would just make up an excuse or laugh it off like a joke. I would try everything, wearing sexy lingerie while walking around the apartment, joining them in the shower, walking and lying around naked... And they would just either ignore it or react as if I was making a joke. And now it's gotten to a point where I'm too worried about rejection to even try anymore, and it's such a horrible feeling knowing that if I don't try, they'll never even bother to initiate (which is the sad reality). It's just feels so humiliating, that the person that's meant to love me and be attracted to me doesn't even want to touch me. He talks long term goals, including marriage, potentially having kids and buying property together, so I know he's not cheating on me and is very much attracted to me still. I am considered by societies standards as conventionally attractive, and receive a lot of attention from the opposite sex. But I don't get any from the person I love, and it makes me feel as if I'm disgusting or something is wrong with me. I feel so ashamed and humiliated, and am so worried because we're not even a year into our relationship and we're already having intimacy issues, and we're both a young couple who should theoretically be in their prime physically. There are also issues when we are intimate. I only climax from oral, not from penetrative sex. He said when we first started seeing each other, that he was a "selfless lover" and couldn't selfish if he wanted to be, because he got off on his partner getting off. And he couldn't get me to climax through regular sex, and I did tell them I could only climax through oral, and then he just gave up. He doesn't even try. In the 10 months we've been together, I can count the number of times he's gone down on me on one hand. And he always says how he "loves" how I taste and makes these remarks like "I can't wait for dessert" or something along those lines, but then never actually does it. So it makes me feel so dejected and as if I'm dirty and disgusting. I'm at a point where I don't know what to do anymore, I feel as though I've given up. Even going to bed, he doesn't cuddle and normally comes to bed after I've already fallen asleep.so I just end up crying myself to sleep. I don't know what to do anymore, I just feel so alone and dejected.
Ask the community | sex, communication, sexless
“Conditional sex”
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 with my partner for over 4 years although I have known him since I was a teenager. We both have been married before and have children from previous relationships. When we first got together sex was amazing and all the time, I had never felt so fantastic and I felt that I had finally found someone who understood and matched my sexual desire. I took ill and was stuck at home for over a year, lost my job and my confidence and gained weight. While I was unwell there was a change, I was often the one to initiate sex and he would say it would be selfish for him to want sex when I was ill. I said I could make the decision if I was up to it or not there would be an argument and he would huff for a while but then carry on. We did always however have a good level of closeness always holding hands, hugging and being together. Once I recovered we got back to having great sex again but there was a change, he seems to only want sex if I wear a dress, stockings and heels. This is 'what he likes' and it seems he is just not interested in me otherwise and he rarely initiates sex. These conditions that seem to be almost like rules now make me feel quite sad, I miss just making love on a Saturday morning or having a 'quickie' when the kids are out. He may think I look sexy when I dress like this but I just feel unattractive and under great pressure and I never feel good enough. He is a perfectionist and he will point out if there is the smallest snag in my stockings or I haven't shaved properly. It is as though he has standards that I just don't meet anymore so he would rather do without sex. I love him deeply and fancy him like crazy but I am sexually frustrated and scared we are drifting too far apart to fix it.
Ask the community | sex, communication, sexless
“I've met someone else”
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 everyone, I've been with my partner for over 11 years and we have a 4 year old daughter. We've had relationship issues for a long time, lack of physical contact, little/no sex, arguments etc. Just recently i met someone I was doing a favour for. We clicked and exchanged numbers, we've both agreed it's nothing more than friends but i cant help having feelings for her, its made my situation worse with my partner as its now getting to the point where i don't want to go to bed, i don't want to talk to her and although I'm a very physical person the idea of being intimate with her really turns me off. This other woman is a bit older than me but the way she talks to me I feel human again, not just a dad/taxi/handyman etc. I know its wrong to have feeling for someone else especially when they'll never be reciprocated but what do i do? The biggest thing is i can't split up with my current partner as i know she will use our daughter as a weapon, the thought of not seeing my daughter everyday kills me inside but i cant have one without the other. Its a giant mess really. My partner is starting to notice my lack of contact, although i think she's quite happy about my lack of sexual attention towards her. I know I'm an awful person for behaving like this but i just don't know what to do, help please 🙁
Ask the community | someone else, emotional affair, cheating
“Lying about his financial situation”
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 a 23 year old law student working as a paid legal intern, he's a 27 year old businessman. We've met through an online dating site and have been together for a year now. The problem is, I have no love left for him anymore as I'm starting to resent him for lying to me about his financial situation. At the beginning when we started dating, I assumed he had a steady income and financial stability. We talked briefly about his line of work, since it was relatively obscure, and I didn't probe much into the matter about how his business is doing. Four months into the relationship, I noticed changes in his behavior when it came to going/eating out - he suddenly started complaining about how much we were spending weekly, even though it was much less than what we'd spent in the early stages of our relationship, and started talking about the financial hardships he went through to make the point that I should be grateful/appreciative over being taken out for brunch. I was really shocked at this since he never acted like this in the beginning. After I talked to him about this, he admitted he has no yearly income and is living off his savings until his business settlement is cleared (he has no idea when it'll be cleared). He had initially bragged to me about his ample savings account and now he claims he actually only has 1/10th of that! To make matters worse, he has pending child support payments to an ex who he had a child with (I was also not made aware of his out-of-wedlock kid when I met him, I've only recently found out about it by accident when he left an old birthday card addressed to his daughter on the dinner table). I feel so betrayed and angry, I just felt the need to vent. Has anyone else been in a similar situation?
Ask the community | cheating, finance
“Boyfriend watching transgender 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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Me and my partner have been together and lived together for almost 3 years! 6 months into our relationship I come home from work as he left for work and he accidentally left transgender porn on his computer. I confronted him. He denied it and said it must have been a random video that was next lined up. I believed him and left it. Happened again another 4 times over the next year. He denied every one and had an excuse for each.i then found myself anxious and suspicious. I went through his computer and phone one night and found more than enough evidence of his interests. I screenshotted everything. That morning I confronted him. He denied it for a second then admitted to everything. We broke up then 2 weeks later we got back together. As long as he kept his promise to stay away from this kind of porn. As to me it is not natural.? i told him if I see it again we will break up again. I’ve just found more on his laptop and computer. And I’m so scared he might be gay or one day loose interest. I’m disgusted. I have confronted him again. He admitted to it. Although I mentioned why would he do it again if it meant loosing the relationship but he had no answer for me. Please help me.
Ask the community | pornography, rejection
“How do I leave him?”
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 a borderline alcoholic with a narcissistic personality for about 3 and a half years. We live together but spent the last month apart. I went to stay with my mum with my two cats and left him the flat. His drinking has become a huge problem and a year ago I received a serious health diagnosis which I've been trying to come to terms with. The main problem is that he is more interested in going to the pub with his mates than helping me cope with all this. It got to a point where he was coming back late at night completed drunk, waking me up or making me wait up before I could cook dinner for us because he hadn't phoned to let me know he was going to be home late, tripping over the cats and being a general nuisance. My health condition was brought on by extreme stress and he is only adding to that. If I am suddenly ill and have to go to hospital, I can't rely on him to be able to care for me or even be sober enough to call for an ambulance. I'm back temporarily but I asked him to still give me my space. That includes sleeping in separate rooms. So far I've been packing my things down into boxes because I don't want to/can't afford to live in our flat anymore. I want to move back to my home town, which he has known about for a long time because I told him before our break. What I'm finding now is that he's not actually respecting my boundaries and is now actively looking for flats in my home town for both of us to live in. What he's not understood is the fact I don't want to be with him at all and I want to move on my own. I'm trying really hard to not disrupt the peace in our flat at the moment as it just creates a volatile environment for not only me but the cats too. I've considered just taking a day off work when I know he won't be at home and just moving all my stuff out. After that I'd tell him it was over when he can't do anything to stop me. Has anyone got any advice?
Ask the community | breakups, big changes
“Ugly divorce”
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 35 years old and currently in the first stage of divorcing after recently deciding that my relationship of 13 years (7 years married) had to end. In the last 3-4 years my wife and me really grew apart and have started living separate lives. Whereas we were able to have good conversations in the past, this has been completely absent in the last years, years where personally I needed to be understood by my partner as I was facing a lot of stress due to work and an international transfer. At the same point in time we got our first child together which obviously added to the stress levels, and changed the way we were around each other. I have tried many times to tell her that I was missing attention from her, even though I eventually (this took me 6-12 months after birth) understood that the dynamics of our relationship had changed due to the introduction of our daughter. Unfortunately things did not improve at all, and we got into more and more fights (with words only, never any physical action), which led me to take more distance from her at the end of last year. This increased distance opened the door for me to make a mistake I had never thought I would make, I had an affair for a good 3 months. The affair has now ended, as we had started to seriously talk about us in the last few month. A process in which I confessed to her that I had an affair, and that my reason of initiating it was that I had already given up on our relationship. In this period we spoke a lot about the feelings we experienced in the last few years, and tried our best to have more time just for us. (so arranging childcare to be alone together). But even though talking about everything felt good and helped to relieve built up stress, it did not help me to get back some of the feelings I had for her. In the entire period I had very sparse moments where I felt there was an opportunity to move on, versus the vast majority of the time feeling it had to end. Two weeks ago I took the decision of completely ending our relationship as I have no more feelings for my wife, and am unable to see us having a happy and good future together for the next 40 years. As we are too distant from each other and don't really have shared interests. This decision caused a massive change in her behavior towards me, and she hasn't spoken a normal word to me since. The few times I have tried to speak about things, this immediately (give or take 30 seconds) escalated into shouting from her side, even with our young daughter present. The only thing she will tell me is: speak to my lawyer. At present the situation at home can best be described as absolute hell, we completely ignore each other and can't even be in the same room without her starting to be hostile. Therefore I have started to move out to a room in the neighborhood, hoping that more time apart might help to settle things down, whilst still being close enough to be able to assist with anything if required. I want the best for our daughter in the future and feel we need to make good arrangements about everything in order to accommodate her as good as we can. But I really struggle with my wife's behaviour as this makes it impossible to discuss potential arrangements in good fashion. Probably I need to give her more time to calm down, but she want to rush things and get divorced asap to get rid of me. What are my options here?
Ask the community | breakups, big changes
“I am worried about leaving him”
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 fiance and I met about 2.5 years ago, we quickly moved in together - shortly after moving in together I found him cheating several times with several different women, I decided to forgive him because it was still a new relationship and figured he just wasnt invested in the relationship yet. I also found out about drug use and quickly became responsible to take him to doctors appointments and paying for an opiate substitute monthly (which is not cheap). After about 6 months I got pregnant, we moved closer to our jobs once he got his license (had previously been suspended) and we began arguing everyday about any and everything. Fast forward to our son being born - I had been in labor for about 41 hours before it was go time, which at that point my fiance finally decided to join the room and help out, that evening he cursed me for a decision I had made about our sons care in front of nurses and family and leaving the hospital. We eventually went home after being cleared by the doctors and things seemed great again, and while I was overwhelmed by the flood of people in our home, I felt our relationship was finally in a great place. So, we bought a house together in a great, quiet neighborhood and within a month I became miserable, back to arguing every day, he took my name off of our cars purchased together and has his parents (who financed our home) take the house in their name so I would have no rights to it if I decided to leave. I have tried and tried with this relationship and want it to work for the sake of our child but I also don't want to raise our son in a volatile , argumentative environment - and I am now to the point where I feel stuck - I am not allowed to work because the cars are in his name so I cannot leave without his permission and I live too far from anywhere to walk. He has gone as far as going into my email and replying to jobs I have applied to telling them I am no longer interested... I have family about an hour away I could potentially stay with but I would still be stuck with no car or income of my own which worries me because I would be forced to go to court to fight for custody of our son... I just don't know if avoiding court, and completely restarting by staying here is worth my lack of happiness?
Ask the community | cheating, addiction, breakups
“His aspirations make me doubt him”
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 feel my boyfriend is perfect for me. He loves me for who I am. He puts up with my antics. He is trustworthy. He is a great guy. But his aspirations make me doubt him. I have been with his for 4 years. I moved to another state to be with him. He lost his job and has been struggling to hold a job for the past 4 years we have been together. And even when he gets a great job interview something manages to blow it. The last job was because he failed to meet the deadline on a job questionnaire which was part of the hiring process. I can't be with someone who sets himself for failure. I, on the other hand, have been very successful. Our sex life is non-existent. I think it was after he lost his job that we haven't had sex so that about 3 years. I want to have sex with him but he doesn't pick up my signs. I do everything for him and support him 100%. Lately, I have been thinking of someone else. I have been tempted to tell that person how I feel but I can't stand the fact that I feel I'd be cheating. This guy is successful and I think I am attracted to him because of that. I don't think I want to be with the other guy. I don't see myself with him long term but the problems with my current boyfriend are pushing me away. What if my current boyfriend never becomes successful. If he would help me around more I think I would feel better but I do everything on top of being the breadwinner. I have told him I am stressed multiple times but I have to keep telling him for him to do anything. I am so confused I can't focus on anything. If I tell the other guy how I feel would it give me closure?
Ask the community | someone else, sex, sexless
Helping your partner find their dream job
Being in an unsatisfying job can have a negative effect on your overall happiness, and your personal relationships. Your feelings about your working life are closely linked to your relationship quality. If your partner is in a job they don’t enjoy, you will probably hear about it a lot. Your partner may find that your partner is more irritable, and complains a lot about their job and their colleagues. Your partner may also be too tired from long, stressful shifts to spend quality time with you. So how can you support them and help them get the job they’ve always dreamed of? Set aside time to help your partner apply for jobs. If your partner is still working, it might be tricky to find time for jobhunting. Set aside some time in the evenings or at weekends where you can help your partner apply for jobs. Plan in some time to search for jobs online, through newspapers, or at your local Jobcentre Plus. Encourage networking. If your partner doesn’t know anyone in the industry they want to get in, encourage them to join sites like LinkedIn where they can join groups for industry professionals and meet people in the field. If there are relevant events happening nearby, you could offer to go along with them for moral support. Make financial compromises. To get their dream job, your partner may have to take time out to study or go on a training course, which can affect your household income. Sit down together and work out where you might be able to afford to cut down on spending. You might find it helpful to read our article on talking to your partner about money. Be supportive. One of the worst parts of applying for jobs is the rejections. When you’ve spent ages preparing your CV and writing a killer cover letter, it can feel pretty disheartening to receive an impersonal email from the recruiter saying that your application was unsuccessful. If this happens to your partner, you’ll need to be there for them. What if the dream job is in another city or country? Some jobs may require your partner to relocate. If this is the case with your partner’s dream job, you will both need to discuss how this will affect your relationship and if you both want to move. If you have children together, you will need to discuss how it will affect them too. Think about whether you would both move, or just one of you, and have this discussion as a couple. These questions might help you get the conversation started: Where would you live? What is the cost of living? What opportunities are there for you in the new location? What are the pros and cons of relocating? What else is in the new location? If you have children where will they go to school? What is your shared vision for the future?
Article | work, finance
Why does someone become addicted?
A person with a substance use problem can behave in a way that seems reckless and selfish, causing chaos in their life and the lives of those close to them. If your partner has a substance use problem, it can be very worrying and you may wonder what’s behind the issue. Addiction isn’t usually a deliberate attempt to behave in a way that is out of control. Often, when someone develops an addiction, it’s an attempt to control how they feel about a situation that feels unmanageable, or to block out thoughts and feelings they find hard to cope with. Imagine you have had a really bad day. Stress at work, a row with your partner, or money worries may leave you feeling anxious, angry, and sad. Or, perhaps something upsetting in your past still disturbs you when you think about it. At these times, you might find that drinking, smoking, escaping into the internet, or playing a video game helps you to switch off and relax. For a time, it feels as if your problems have gone away. Escaping from the real world and forgetting your problems now and then is often OK. For example, a few drinks after work at the weekend can be fun. However, even those feelings of letting go of inhibitions can leave you wanting more… Just check that, whatever it is you are doing to escape, you still feel you can ‘take it or leave it’. If you feel powerless to deal with problems, you may find you crave more and more of whatever helps you escape instead. Unresolved problems often get worse. You feel trapped and turn more and more to your means of escape. This is when the destructive cycle of addiction can begin. By this stage it feels like the ‘take it or leave it’ option has gone. Stopping the addictive behaviour is scary because you feel so dependent on it. Addiction can damage your self-esteem and confidence, leaving you doubting whether you can ever break free and face your problems. The addiction may have caused problems in your relationships. You may feel ashamed to ask for help or be scared that others will refuse to help you. Maybe you feel your life is such a mess that you don’t know where to start making changes. It might feel like the only choice is to block everything out with the additive behaviour. Take it step by step – acknowledging that you have a substance use problem is a big first step. If you are experiencing any of these issues and are concerned it may be triggering addictive behaviour, a valuable next step would be to seek advice or support. Online support, information, and counselling can be very helpful in many cases. However, it may be advisable to seek face-to-face counselling from a specialist agency or via your GP, particularly if: You have a long term addiction problem. You are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Your problem involves cutting or physically harming yourself in some way. You are aware your addiction has been triggered by a traumatic life event. If you are worried about someone close to you, you may find it helpful to check out Relationship Realities which features real stories by real people who are affected by alcohol and drug use problems.
Article | addiction
“Post-16 court contact”
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 have had a court order in place for a number of years. The children have never missed a contact; however they are now 16 and 15 and have made it clear to me that they are "fed up" with spending their time with someone who - apparently - has little to say to them, and makes nasty comments to the kids all the time when he does open his mouth. It is almost as if the contact order is just being observed to serve his need to control them - it doesn't seem to be about spending quality time with 2 kids who are brilliant company. The kids have said that once the younger son gets to 16, they "are done" - I have told them things will get better, but after 6 years of this contact and support from me, encouragement and assurances it will get better, it just hasn't. It breaks my heart to see how angry they get when they come back and have had an unsuccessful contact. I am at a loss, and my ex will not speak to me (only via Solicitors and hasn't spoken to me for over 8 years). If they tell him they no longer wish to go, can I be dragged back to court? Should this come from them to him? I doubt he will listen as they have asked before for things to improve with him and he just laughs at them and says they are idiots. One time my elder son was poorly during contact and had asked to go home earlier; he refused and made them stay until the appointed time. My eldest is about to turn 17 and will be driving soon. He wishes to get a Saturday job, and this will prove impossible - the Court Order clearly states a Saturday, and we have persistently re-jigged our lives to make sure they attend (which we do because I want them to have a positive male role model). I am also bitterly disappointed that this could have been seen as a chance for my ex to build a lovely relationship with his kids, but seems to have used it as a controlling mechanism instead. I would have expected them to say they were having a great time and ask that they have extra time - which would have been great, but it just hasn't happened. I see other kids who have a great time with their dads and my heart bleeds for them. I never badmouth or speak ill of my ex - it was a shame it didn't work out, but the kids did not need to suffer the way that they have been subjected to such nastiness from someone who is supposed to love them unconditionally (regardless of the fact he hates my guts - I appreciate I am 50% DNA of the kids and I think that may be the issue). If they turn round and refuse to go once the youngest is 16, can I force them? Can I physically drag them to contact? My eldest son is a strapping lad now and this may prove difficult. If I get taken back to court if they refuse, will the court listen to the kids as they will be 16 and 17? I am worrying now that after all these years of being compliant and supportive, I may get jailed.
User article | breach, legal rights, contact
“I'm in love with him but it's complicated”
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 him about 4 years ago. We got along right away and became friends. He said he liked my friend but I kind of thought he liked me. After a while I told my best friend I liked him and she told me I should tell him so I did after I thought about it. he felt the same. It was so simple. Not complicated. It was too easy, I wasn't worried about girls liking him or him talking to other girls. It just worked. It freaked me out and I also wasn't ready for a relationship at the time. So I broke up with him. He was hurt. Really hurt. We continued to be friends and my friend started dating him with my permission. He then texted me one night and said “I still like you”. I wanted to say I felt the same but I couldn't hurt my friend so I just talked him through it. We continued to be friends. Some things happened that didn't have to do with him that caused us to be distant. We didn't talk for almost a year and he broke up with my friend and after a bit he started dating another girl. He didn't want to talk to me. I asked him why and he kept switching his reasons. I missed him. A month ago he texted me only saying "hey" I deleted his contact to help me get over him so I replied "who's this" he said a week later "this is" I replied "K?" He said "yes" we talked for a bit then I apologized for not being the greatest friend and the end of my sentence was "I want to say more but I don't think it'd do so much right now" hinting at me liking him. He said it wasn't my fault and that it was his. We were okay. We have been talking lots more. Last week we both went to a fire, he brought his girlfriend and he hugged me. He gave me these looks. And talked to his friend whiling looking at me. After he left I texted him and said "hey there", he replied "hey A!! It was nice to see you, how's the party going" we talked for a bit and then he said he had to go to bed an he would text me tomorrow. He sent me a good morning text. It was so nice to wake up to. He was flirting with me, he even sent a heart and corrected it to be a laugh face. I want to tell him but it'll hurt his girlfriend and what if he doesn't feel the same? Ugh. I think I should tell one of my friends that's good friends with him. Maybe he would know. What do you guys think?
Ask the community | someone else, flirting
How to be a happy young parent
As teenagers, we are still figuring out who we are, and what we want from life. We are forging our adult identities, and our romantic relationships set the tone for the future. Finding out you’re going to become a young parent plunges you into another major life transition just as you’re figuring out how to deal with the rest of life’s struggles [1]. Ensuring you have the right support in place can make all the difference. If you’re in a relationship, the increased stress of pregnancy and raising a child can lead to putting extra strain on the relationship. One study found nearly half of young parents’ relationships had broken up by the time the child was a year old [2]. You can protect against this by knowing about the factors that keep relationships strong, and where to get extra support. Getting support Just having a partner can be beneficial to you as a parent. Studies have shown that young mums supported by their partners feel more satisfied with their lives, have higher self-esteem, and are less likely to be stressed [3] [4] [5]. They are also likely to feel readier for parenthood. However, if you don’t have a partner, you needn’t despair. Research shows that single young parents who have good support from their parents and other family members can also report feeling more satisfied with their lives, and are less likely to be depressed or anxious [5]. Even if you don’t have support from your family, you can still feel the benefits of external support by connecting with other young parents or expectant parents through online forums. This kind of social support and parenting advice is also linked to stronger wellbeing [6], so it’s worth seeking support wherever you can get it. Relationship quality To protect against the breakdown of a relationship, it’s important to think about relationship quality. Evidence shows that the good bits of your relationship not only protect against breakup, but also help you feel more confident as a parent [1]. This is true even if your partner isn’t the child’s biological parent [5]. A positive relationship between you and your partner is also good for your child, as they are less likely to be exposed to conflict and stress [7] [8]. A strong sense of mutual love and attraction can often be enough to protect your relationship, but if you want to do something to make things stronger, consider upping your relationship equity. This means that you both make an equal contribution to the relationship. You can do this by sharing chores and childcare, but also by showing equal affection and support [9]. If your relationship breaks down, and you’re not getting the support you need from family and friends, you can try visiting the young parents section of the Family Lives website or posting a comment or question on Click to ask for tips and social support from other young parents. References [1] Gee, C. B., McNerney, C. M., Reiter, M. J., & Leaman, S. C. (2007). Adolescent and young adult mothers’ relationship quality during the transition to parenthood: Associations with father involvement in fragile families. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 36(2), 213-224. [2] Sipsma, H., Biello, K. B., Cole-Lewis, H., & Kershaw, T. (2010). Like father, like son: the intergenerational cycle of adolescent fatherhood. American Journal of Public Health, 100(3), 517-524. [3] Dhayanandhan, B., Bohr, Y., & Connolly, J. A. (2010). Understanding the link between developmental tasks and child abuse potential among adolescent mothers living below the poverty line. In Poster presented at the Annual Meeting for the Society for Research on Adolescence, Philadelphia PA. [4] Gee, C. B., & Rhodes, J. E. (1999). Postpartum transitions in adolescent mothers' romantic and maternal relationships. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly (1982-), 512-532. [5] Stevenson, W., Maton, K. I., & Teti, D. M. (1999). Social support, relationship quality, and well-being among pregnant adolescents. Journal of adolescence, 22(1), 109-121. [6] Sherman, L. E., & Greenfield, P. M. (2013). Forging friendship, soliciting support: A mixed-method examination of message boards for pregnant teens and teen mothers. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(1), 75-85. [7] Cutrona, C. E., Hessling, R. M., Bacon, P. L., & Russell, D. W. (1998). Predictors and correlates of continuing involvement with the baby's father among adolescent mothers. Journal of Family Psychology, 12(3), 369. [8] Hetherington, E. M., & Stanley-Hagan, M. M. (1997). The effects of divorce on fathers and their children. The role of the father in child development, 3, 191-211. [9] Kershaw, T., Murphy, A., Divney, A., Magriples, U., Niccolai, L., & Gordon, D. (2013). What's love got to do with it: Relationship functioning and mental and physical quality of life among pregnant adolescent couples. American journal of community psychology, 52(3-4), 288-301.
Article | parenting, young
4 min read
Choosing to be childfree
Many couples are choosing not to have children, opting to focus on the couple relationship instead. But, according to a new study, it’s not a decision they’re making lightly. The study [1] looked at how couples arrive at the decision not to become parents. The term ‘childfree’, as opposed to ‘childless’, refers to people who have chosen not to have children. The study showed that the decision not to have children is usually a conscious one, rather than something that ‘just happens’. It’s usually something that’s arrived at over a length of time and it’s an ongoing choice. This is particularly true for heterosexual couples, who often have to choose to continue using contraception, and avoid unplanned pregnancy. How is the decision made? By the time couples are having their first conversations about children, they have often already given years of thought to the matter. If both know that they don’t want children, it may only take a single conversation to form an agreement. Reasons for opting out of parenthood could include wider factors such as: Increased reproductive choices. Since the feminist movement of the 1970s, more of us are free to make this choice in the first place [2]. More career options for women. Childfree women are more likely to be employed in professional and managerial positions [3]. Worry about jobs. In one study conducted during the recession of the ‘90s [4], many men said they had opted out of parenthood due to uncertainty in the labour market. Wider society. Women in particular referred to concerns about overpopulation when discussing their decisions [5]. But many also cite more individual reasons such as: Personal freedom. More opportunity for self-fulfilment. Keeping spontaneity, such as the opportunity to travel. Making the most of adult relationships. Experiences of other people’s parenting [6]. Focusing on the couple relationship. Many couples cited their own relationship quality as a major factor in choosing to remain childfree [7]. We know from other studies that the transition to parenthood is one of the biggest hurdles for couples. If you’re still undecided about whether you’re ready for children, or just want to know more, you might find it useful to read our article on managing this transition. Whatever your choice, take the time to discuss it with your partner, so you both know what each other wants and why. Talking about big decisions like this allows you, as a couple, to work together and pursue a life path that suits both of you. One of the childfree people in the study said: ‘‘I wish it were normal to decide whether or not you were going to have children’’.
Article | children, childfree
Getting help for alcohol addiction
Many people with alcohol addiction and alcohol use problems can function well enough in society. But, if you or your child’s other parent are struggling with alcohol, it’s important to seek help immediately for the following reasons: Your practical skills and judgements can be affected. Alcohol can leave you less able to control your emotions, and pick up on your children’s needs [1]. Your ability to form a secure attachment with your child can be impeded [1]. Attachment is all about to how securely cared for a child feels and it’s one of the most important factors in their development. Alcohol misuse is among the most likely reasons for children being taken into care [2]. These are quite extreme cases that are connected to ‘excessive’ alcohol consumption, but if you have an alcohol problem, it’s vital that you get support to avoid putting your child at risk. Impact on children The impact of parental alcohol use on children can be “severe and long lasting”, affecting “every aspect of [your] child’s development from conception onward” [1]. A parent’s alcohol addiction may have a negative influence on their children’s behaviour and emotional wellbeing, with their children being more likely to act out and be out of control [3]. Children become more likely to take part in other risky behaviours, often repeating behaviour they have witnessed at home – even very young children can learn to be combative and coercive if they are repeatedly surrounded by conflict [3]. In many families with an alcoholic parent, children find themselves having to take on a parental role to try and regain some control in an unpredictable environment [4]. Seeking help It’s best to address the problem directly. Hiding from an alcohol problem will not make it go away, and nor will it reduce the negative impact on those around you. As with many difficult issues, it’s important to keep an open communication with your children. Frequent communication is the key to reducing your children’s risk of developing their own issues in later life. Your partner may be a good source of support in figuring out how to start these conversations. Once you have identified an alcohol problem, the best thing to do is seek professional help. Research shows that any negative effects on children are decreased when parents go through treatment for their addiction [5]. There are currently over 800 agencies in the UK offering advice, treatment or support to people with addiction problems [1]. Often, the easiest route to support is through your doctor, who can talk through your specific needs and direct you to further support. You can also search for local services through the NHS. References [1] Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) (2011). Hidden Harm: Responding to the Needs of Children of Problem Drug Users. [2] Barnard, M. & McKeganey, N. (2004). The impact of parental problem drug use on children: what is the problem and what can be done to help? Society for the Study of Addiction, 99, 552-559. [3] Loukas, A., Fitzgerald, H. E., Zucker, R. A., & Eye., A. von. (2000). Parental Alcoholism and Co-Occurring Antisocial Behavior: Prospective Relationships to Externalizing Behavior Problems in their Young Sons. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 29(2), 92-106. [4] Burnett, G., Jones, R. A., Bliwise, N. G., Thomson Ross, L. (2006). Family Unpredictability, Parental Alcoholism, and the Development of Parentification. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 34, 181–189. [5] Andreas, J. B., O'Farrell, T. J., Fals-Stewart, W. (2006). Does Individual Treatment for Alcoholic Fathers Benefit Their Children? A Longitudinal Assessment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(1), pp.191-198.
Article | alcohol, addiction
3 min read
“A mess of a 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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hello... My husband and I have been together 33 years. We have 4 children. We have both been to counseling in the past. I love my husband but I don't really like him. It has only been recently - in spite of all our counseling - I realize that a majority of our life and relationship are centered around him, his likes, what he wants, what works for him, with little-to-no-inconvenience for him (even though he would lead you to believe otherwise).I have told him that he is happy in our marriage as long as I keep my mouth shut and legs open. He denies this, of course, but it is how I feel. Then he gets angry and I try to explain even though he doesn't - say - that, it is how I - feel. I have stayed in the marriage because two of our children have special needs and I did not want to create more chaos and upheaval for our family by leaving. Now that our children are older I would like my husband and I to focus on working on our marriage. When I try to express what I need, or how something he does makes me feel, it usually ends with him yelling and being the victim. I find we cannot have a constructive conversation. I cannot say anything critical to him - no matter how calmly I say it, and I cannot be emotional. I have had two affairs while we have been married. They did get physical, but that is not what was important to me. What I really wanted was to matter to someone. I know the affairs were wrong and there is no justification for my behavior. I sometimes think about leaving my marriage, but still feel it would inflict so much emotional pain for everyone, and I feel strongly that our family has endured enough heartache and pain due to the circumstances of our two children with special needs. I also would be shunned for breaking up our family and I don't think I could endure that. I am wondering... do I just "keep my mouth shut and legs open" in order to stay in this marriage? And if I do that, am I justified in having an extramarital relationship (not physical) that brings me happiness? I am also wondering if anyone reading this has constructive things to tell me on what I can do to make this marriage work. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this.
Ask the community | communication, abuse
Supporting a partner through depression
One in five people will experience a form of depression at some point in their lives [1]. If your partner is depressed, you can play an important role in helping them get better. Depression is more than just a low mood. It’s a prolonged illness, whose symptoms include a lack of energy, a loss of interest in things you might normally enjoy, feelings of low self-worth, and changes in sleep and appetite [2]. A sudden onset of depression in your partner can have an impact on your relationship. You may have to take on a temporary caring role, which can put unexpected strain on you [3]. Some of your partner’s symptoms can affect you too: Low mood. When your partner is feeling down most of the time, it can feel like you don’t have access to the person who is most important to you. Loss of interest and energy. Your partner may lose interest in the things you like doing together, like going out, cooking, and even sex. Concentration. Depression can affect concentration, even to the extent that your partner struggles to stay involved in a conversation. Sleep and appetite. You may notice changes in your partner’s eating and sleeping patterns, which can affect their mood even further. It can also disrupt your own eating and sleeping as established routines get lost. Low self-worth. You may notice your partner being more critical of themselves and possibly lashing out at you too [2]. You may also wonder if you are responsible for your partner’s mental health problems. While there are sometimes external causes, including relationship problems, depression can often come along out of nowhere [4]. You can play a positive role in your partner’s recovery [3]. One of the first things you can do is notice the signs of depression and encourage your partner to seek help. Often, the quickest route to support is through your GP, who can make a diagnosis and refer your partner to appropriate support. There are many forms of mental health support, but it’s likely that your partner will undertake some form of talking therapy. They may be given exercises to take home. You can offer support by encouraging your partner to complete the exercises or, if appropriate, by getting involved directly. Your partner’s doctor may recommend couples therapy, which has been shown to be effective for people with depression [5]. If this is recommended to your partner, it doesn’t mean that your relationship is in trouble; it just means that you are being asked to get involved in your partner’s recovery. Attending sessions together means you can be better informed and more involved. Whether you are directly involved in your partner’s treatment or not, there are many ways you can be supportive: Encourage them to seek support. Getting your partner into professional support is one of the best ways you can help. Learn about depression. Read up on depression and its symptoms. A good place to start is the OnePlusOne and NHS guide, ‘Depression and low mood: A guide for the partner’. Set aside blame. Accept that the illness is happening, and don’t blame your partner or yourself. It’s here, and it’s treatable, so just focus on recovery. Notice the signs. Be aware of your partner’s symptoms and the things that can set off an episode of depression. Get support if things seem to be getting worse. Solve practical problems. When someone is depressed, problems can be magnified and may seem insurmountable. You can help your partner by solving practical problems, which could be as simple as doing more than your share of housework for a little while. Listen more. Clear communication and active listening can help your partner to feel better supported and more in control. Do some exercise. Help your partner to get some gentle exercise, even if it’s just a walk around the block. This can have the added benefit of helping with sleep problems. Get your partner out of the house. While it might seem easier to avoid social situations, it’s often best to try and turn up to things that they would usually enjoy. Even if you plan just to go out for half an hour, you can help your partner break out of the loop of depression and inactivity. Notice what helps. What usually makes your partner feel better – a morning walk? Cooking a healthy meal? Make a note of what works, and encourage your partner to do more of it. Keeping a mood journal can also help you to show your partner that they have been making improvements, as they may find it hard to focus on the positives [6]. Seeing a partner go through depression can be upsetting but, with the right support, even the most severe cases can be treated. As with any illness, you should seek professional help if you are worried. Recovery is likely to be gradual, but it is possible, and you can play an important part. This article gives just a quick overview of how you can support a partner with depression. For a more in-depth look, we recommend reading, ‘Depression and low mood: A guide for the partner’, co-produced by OnePlusOne and Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust. References [1] Bolton, J., Bisson, J., Guthrie, E., Wood., S. (2011) Depression: key facts. Retrieved from http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/problemsdisorders/depressionkeyfacts.aspx [2] NHS (2015). Low mood and depression - NHS Choices. Available at http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/pages/low-mood-and-depression.aspx  [3] Crowe, M. (2004). Couples and mental illness. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 19:3, 309-318. [4] Hickey, D., Carr, A., Dooley, B., Guerin, S., Butler, E., & Fitzpatrick, L. (2005). Family and marital profiles of couples in which one partner has depression or anxiety. Journal of marital and family therapy, 31(2), 171-182. [5] Bodenmann, G., Plancherel, B., Beach, S. R., Widmer, K., Gabriel, B., Meuwly, N., ... & Schramm, E. (2008). Effects of coping-oriented couples therapy on depression: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 76(6), 944. [6] NICE (2009) Depression: The Treatment and Management of Depression in Adults (Update). NICE clinical guideline 90. Available at www.nice.org.uk/CG90.
Article | depression
5 min read
Depression during pregnancy
One in ten pregnant women experience mental health problems, and often go undiagnosed until after the baby is born. The pregnancy and parenting charity Tommy’s has produced a video encouraging pregnant women to seek support if they feel anxious or depressed. The short clip follows the story of a woman’s journey through pregnancy as she realises she’s not coping and finds someone to talk to. Around 10-15% of pregnant women experience mental health problems like anxiety and depression [1] but, despite antenatal depression being very similar to postnatal depression, many go undiagnosed and untreated until after the baby is born. Symptoms of anxiety and depression can include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, irritability, and losing interest in activities that used to be fun. Most women feel more emotional than usual during pregnancy, but the video urges you to seek help if you notice that you’re unhappy more than half of the time, or if feelings linger for more than a couple of weeks. When you’re pregnant, it might seem like there’s a pressure on you to feel happy all the time, or to be flushed and glowing with the joys of impending motherhood. If this doesn’t describe your experience, it can be quite distressing and you may even feel guilty for not living up to the expectations of those around you. Your midwife or health visitor will understand. Speak to them and let them know that you need support. You partner, family, and friends can also offer support, by talking things through with you and offering practical support. Let them know you’re not feeling yourself and that you might need some extra support. If you can, hand some of your regular chores over to your partner, or ask someone to help out. Friends love to feel like they are helping, but sometimes need to be given specific tasks like popping to the shops or watering your plants when they come over. Try to eat as healthily as possible, take some gentle exercise, and rest whenever you have the opportunity. Getting regular sleep can have a positive impact on your mood. Take time out to focus on yourself and do something you enjoy. Allow yourself a chance to relax and ease some of the pressure. If you are worried about other areas of your life, such as finances, housing, or your relationship, look into the support available for these specific issues. If you can keep external factors under control, you may find it easier to cope with whatever feelings you are juggling. Keep talking to your partner. Help them to understand what you’re going through, what you’re doing to try and make things better, and what kind of support you need at home. References [1] National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (2014). Clinical guideline 192: Antenatal and postnatal mental health: clinical management and service guidance https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg192 (Accessed July 2018) [2] Howard L.M, Molyneaux E, Dennis C et al (2014).  Non-Psychotic mental disorders in the perinatal period.  Lancet 384: 1775-1788.
Article | pregnancy, depression, postnatal depression
2 min read
Making the most of relationship counselling
Relationship counselling doesn’t have to be disaster management, and may even be more useful when it’s used to strengthen the foundations of your relationship before things get out of hand. It might seem like relationship counselling is only for couples who are in serious trouble, but couples who seek it out sooner rather than later are more likely to feel the benefits. A study into the effectiveness of relationship counselling found that those who entered into counselling early on when their issues were still manageable were more likely to have positive results [1]. This echoes what we already know getting help before things get out of hand. Around three quarters of the couples in the study experienced benefits to seeing a counsellor. In the cases where it felt less helpful, it was often because the issues were already too deeply entrenched to be resolved – particularly in cases of domestic violence, or where one partner was seeking a safe space to end the relationship. How to make the most of relationship counselling If you’re considering relationship counselling, you’re most likely to get things running smoothly again if you start as soon as possible. But, if you’ve gone into counselling when things are already difficult, you can still see an improvement, as long as you approach it with the right attitude. Bear the following in mind as you go into each section: The sessions are as much about listening and learning as about getting your own point across and being heard. You’ll need to look at things from your partner’s point of view to fully understand what’s going on. You’re more likely to solve problems by reflecting on your own behaviour, than criticising your partner’s. So, if you’re finding that conflict is difficult to resolve on your own, go and get some help while the issue is still small. Keep an eye out for warning signs and don’t be afraid to seek help with your relationship. Often, people can worry that going to a counsellor means they are in big trouble, or that it’s the beginning of the end but, if you go early enough, the opposite can be true! References [1] Hunter, C., and Commerford, J. (2015). Relationship education and counselling: Recent research findings in CFCA (33), retrieved from https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/relationship-education-and-counselling
Article | counselling, therapy
2 min read
“A newfound love for my 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've been single for over 6 months now and I feel over my past relationship. I'm no longer sad or angry about what happened and I've been able to accept that it's gone and I don't particularly want to pick it up where it left off as I wasn't in a happy place mentally towards the end (brought on by battling my mental health issues, balancing work and family, and then also trying to find time for us where I wasn't talking about work, family or mental health) and it was making my boyfriend miserable too. We ended things on a reasonable note even though I was distraught but he couldn't be both my partner and a supporter while I was mentally unstable which I completely understand and respect. He said that one day when I'm mentally alright again and have done all I've wanted to achieve (higher self esteem, physical fitness, confidence) then we could potentially try again as he still loved me and didn't want to lose me which I agreed to at the time and never expected it would happen (I was in a dark place and thought he hated me for some time). Fast forward to now, I have felt myself still feeling love towards my ex which I've been trying to ignore or pass off as platonic but I know it's not. Small things like seeing his name flash up when I get a text, messages that remind me of how we used to talk and how close we were, all sorts of things are making my heart flutter and melt like it did 3 years ago when we were very much in love at the beginning of our relationship and taking on the world side by side. When people mention the future I see him and it's very much unintentional, and when I fantasize about being with a man I always end up thinking of him again and I can't seem to stop it. I don't find anyone attractive or interesting enough to want to talk to them or to start a conversation with them, except for him (who I've luckily not seen in person for most of the breakup period). I want to see if the two of us have a chance to be happy together now that both of us have had time apart to care for ourselves and mature a bit more but I have no clue how to approach this at all. I feel somewhat idiotic for posting such a thing online but I needed to see if anyone else has managed to get back with their ex partner and how they went about doing it (besides the straight up "wanna date" route) and what suggestions you guys have for me in my situation. I want to start fresh with him and not dwell on the past but I need help and advice. Any help anyone can give me is much appreciated!
Ask the community | dating, new partner
“My husband has disconnected from 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 feel selfish posting this, but I can't help but feel like I'm alone in my marriage. My husband is a good person and a decent provider, but he's not there for me emotionally. I know his work environment has gotten pretty toxic in the past year or so (his employer has been forcing older, more long-term employees out the door and hiring younger, cheaper help), and I know he worries about not making enough money if he were to leave and go somewhere less hostile (we would survive, we're not poor), and I have encouraged him to look elsewhere for a less stressful job, but he hasn't done anything about it. Because he is stressed about work all the time, he comes home every night, eats dinner and then either fiddles with his phone surfing the internet or he sits in front of the TV until he goes to bed. We never go anywhere together, unless it's the grocery store or some other mundane thing, we haven't taken a vacation in years, and he never wants to do anything. We have seen a marriage counselor before, but he only went a couple of times until he decided that I was depressed and should continue seeing the counselor alone. Yeah, I AM DEPRESSED because my husband isn't in our relationship. I guess the last straw was today, our 16th anniversary, and he came home from work and flopped down on the couch with his tablet. I purposely sat down with him and he ignored me for about an hour until he mumbled "Happy Anniversary" and went to the fridge to heat up leftovers for dinner. After he ate his leftovers, he watched TV and went to bed. It is my wedding anniversary and I'm sitting on the couch with my cat. I am so angry and sad and hurt by this behavior of my husband that I don't know what to do. When I try to talk to him about it, he either ignores me (the damn TV, the phone or the tablet) or he turns it around on me and complains about how bad his job is and how I have no idea what the working world is like these days. (Um, yeah, actually I do. I worked in corporate America for 2 decades until I left and started my own business 2 yrs ago, which wasn't exactly an easy thing to do, either.) Can someone please give me some advice? I'm so sad right now.
Ask the community | communication, mental health
How to see the best in your partner
Seeing the best in your partner can help keep you both happy, reminding you of the person you fell in love with in the first place, and putting your relationship in a positive light. It’s natural to want to compare your partner to other people but the way you do it can make a significant difference to how you feel about your relationship. One study found that comparing your partner to someone else can be a positive experience as long as you find a way to make peace with the comparison [1]. Making comparisons is one of the ways we make sense of the world. We choose our partners because we like them more than we like other people, so it’s understandable that we would keep comparing them to others. To take a practical example, if you notice that your partner isn’t as good at tidying up around the house as your best friend’s partner, you might start to find them lacking. But, if you accept that perhaps your partner doesn’t have as much free time as your friend’s partner, or that you’re happy to do the majority of the tidying, then you might be more willing to let it go. This kind of justification can help you to see your partner in a more positive light. It’s when you don’t, or can’t, justify the negative comparisons that you risk feeling more stressed and getting into arguments. One of the things that affects the way we’re able to make these kinds of justifications is the way we view our role in the relationship. If you see your relationship as a unit, and refer to yourselves as ‘we’ and ‘us’, rather than ‘I’ or ‘me’, you may be more likely to compare your partner favourably to others, and let things go. This is known as ‘self-other overlap’ and helps you see the best in your partner. When you talk to your friends about what you’ve been up to lately, try to notice whether you say ‘I’ or ‘we’. Saying ‘we’ might just be the key to seeing your partner more positively next time you find yourself comparing them to somebody else. References [1] Thai, S., Lockwood, P. (2015). Comparing You = Comparing Me: Social Comparisons of the Expanded Self in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41 (7).
Article | communication, trust
2 min read
Managing handovers with your ex-partner
Handovers can be very difficult, especially if you are feeling awkward or upset at the prospect of facing your ex. You may have to exercise some self-control just to stay calm.If you still have very raw feelings about your ex, you may be tempted to use handovers as an opportunity to speak your mind. Keep in mind that children are very sensitive to the feelings and attitudes around them and that they will pick up on conflict between their parents. For your children’s sake, it’s important to try and make handovers as pleasant as possible.Some handover etiquette: Be courteous. Turn up on time – let the other parent know if you are delayed. Make sure the children have everything they need. Keep difficult conversations away from the children. If you are struggling with this, consider alternative ways of managing the handovers so that your children are protected. Dealing with change over time Transitions are difficult for everyone, especially in the early days. Coming face-to-face with your ex and saying goodbye to your children can bring up some very difficult feelings. It can help to have something planned for the time immediately following the handover so that you can remain upbeat. While it’s hard now, you may eventually come to value the opportunity to have some space to yourself.Children have their own feelings to cope with at handover time. They will need time to settle down, adjust to being in a different home, and get used to their mum or dad not being there. Transitions can be sad reminders to children that their parents aren't together anymore and it's not unusual for young children to come home from a weekend with the other parent in a bad mood. Understanding this can help you manage your expectations, and cope with any changes in your child's behaviour.
Article | parenting apart, ex-partner
2 min read

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