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Parenting through Rise-filtered glasses
As a new parent, you might find yourself cut off from some of your usual social outlets, stuck at home for long stretches of time with only the baby for company. At this time, family and friends can be more important than ever, providing support and advice to boost your confidence and help get you through the tougher days. If your friends and family live far away, or if you don’t have face-to-face access, online social media can help you and your partner feel more connected to the outside world. Emotional support and positive feedback from other parents can also be invaluable as you figure things out [1] [2]. Social media can give you access to this, but it also helps you stay in touch with old friends who keep you connected to the parts of your life outside your parenting role [3]. Beating loneliness with online social interaction Your baby is always going to be your first priority, but these other social connections are important. As humans, we need to have meaningful relationships with each other – when we disconnect socially it can affect our health, making us more stressed and more likely to get sick, and affecting our sleep and concentration [3]. Social media can help you feel less isolated but it’s important to pay attention to the way you use it. Parents who actively engage with friends on social media tend to feel less stressed and more positive about their role as parents [2] but people who just spend more time on social media without engaging tend to feel more isolated, not less [3]. The difference here is between use and interaction. We’ve all spent time staring into our phones, refreshing our social media feeds in the hope that something new will come up. But this isn’t going to help you feel more connected when you’re knee-deep in baby wipes waiting for your partner to come home. You’ve got to reach out and engage with people if you want to experience the positive effects of social media. Turning off the filters It’s also important to keep some perspective on what you see through the lens of social media. We all know that Facebook life isn’t real life, and that nobody ever looks as good as they do on Instagram, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of seeing things through Rise-filtered glasses and believing everybody on social media is having a better time than you.  If social media is your only window into your friends’ lives, you might start thinking they are living happier, more connected lives than you [3]. Try to remember that you’re only seeing an edited glimpse of what your friends want the rest of the world to see. When your social networks start making you feel worse instead of better, take a step back and have a think about who you could reach out to for a chat. It’s the social aspect of social networks that’s valuable, so the next time you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through posts, send a message instead – ask for advice, vent your feelings, or just tell someone a funny story about your day. The empathy, advice and humour that you come across online can give you a life-affirming confidence boost and make you feel better about how you’re getting on as a parent [4]. You might even want to start by making a post here on Click.   References [1] Madge C., O’Connor H. (2006). Parenting gone wired: Empowerment of new mothers on the Internet? Social and Cultural Geography, 7, 199–220.[2] Bartholomew, M. K., Schoppe‐Sullivan, S. J., Glassman, M., Kamp Dush, C. M., & Sullivan, J. M. (2012). New parents' Facebook use at the transition to parenthood. Family relations, 61(3), 455-469.[3] Primack, B.A. et al (2017) Social Media Use and Perceived Social Isolation Among Young Adults in the U.S. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 53(1), 1-8.[4] Fletcher, R., & St. George, J. (2011). Heading into fatherhood—nervously: Support for fathering from online dads. Qualitative Health Research, 21(8), 1101-1114.
Article | social media, parenting
6 min read
My wife will not speak to me
This is a real problem and I am at my wits end and I do not know what to do. I have been married for nearly three years and was with my wife nineteen years prior to that. We have had a fairly volatile relationship over the years and about six years ago the arguments had tipped over into unbelievable week, to six week silences with two episodes of physical abuse spread over a few years. My wife finally, out of desperation, was taken to the doctors by a friend and started taking mood stabilising pills. The results were astounding! The daily / weekly arguments stopped, when we did argue again it was fairly reasonable and things went back to normal fairly quickly so much so that after a few years we got married. A few months ago my wife decided to stop taking the pills without advice, and things started slipping. Last Sunday when my wife went to get sausages from the freezer and there weren't any she hit the roof! I was called a self centered man that only thought about myself, that she was sick of my inability to remember shopping we need and stormed off into her room and jammed the door shut. I was away the following day till this evening for work. I texted her three times and she did not reply, even when I said her friend was meeting me and she could talk to her. I got back home around an hour ago and she walked out of the bathroom, into her room and blocked her door shut without a word said to me. This is what she used to do in her really bad patch, before the pills, sometimes it would go on for, at the longest, six weeks. She has already told me she will not go back on the pills, so that's not a option. I promised myself years ago, before our relationship nearly ended, that I would never take the emotional and physical trauma again. Looking back I was self medicating with alcohol and food and was way up at nearly 17 stone and I was fast approaching type 2 diabetes. I managed to turn that around, started going to the gym and lost, and kept off, nearly four stone. I do not want to go back to that again, my body and mental health could not take it. I love my wife, but if she will not talk to me how can I sort this out? There has been over the last few months a slow slide toward unreasonable arguments and this is the worst it's got. I don't want my marriage to end and I'm desperately trying to think of how to sort this. Because I cannot take what I took years ago again. She will not talk to me, and when i suggested going to couple counselling she flat out refuses. Is my only option now separating and divorce?
User article | communication, arguments
Long-Term Relationship and a specific hobby
1 down vote favorite I've been a part of a happy long-term relationship over the past 4-5 years, and we've been engaged for some of that. The relationship started when I moved to a new town, so I left a lot of my life behind, including a certain hobby. We're currently pretty settled, we have a few pets and live together in the same house. The 'hobby' has a reputation for being an expensive one, but I'd always been stingy with it and didn't spend anywhere near as much as others often do. Fast forward to about a year ago, as I started to feel more and more comfortable and settled I brought up the idea that I might pick the hobby back up again. The response I got was at best mixed, and the ensuing argument ended up with my partner saying how they just "hate" the hobby, citing the associated expense and the fact that I'd changed a lot since I last did it. Honestly I don't consider myself to have changed at all since I regained an interest (passion?) in the hobby. If there is a more fundamental or reason than that then it's never been mentioned. I feel like I don't understand the problem they see. These feelings seem to have been exacerbated by the fact that I'm now out-of-work, and while I wouldn't spend anything financially on the hobby given that fact, I receive responses like 'I'm not happy to be paying the rent if you're going to waste your time on [hobby]' if it is brought up again. As a result of them making me feel bad about it, I've essentially been committing time to the hobby in secret, while they're at work etc. I feel incredibly guilty for more-or-less lying to them like this, but I feel that I should have a right to pursue something that makes me happy and being secretive about it seems to make us both happy. Subsequent times when the hobby has just randomly come up in conversation, my fiancée has been extremely derogatory, but I didn't say anything other than nodding my head essentially, as I didn't want to re-open the issue even though this was making me feel pretty awful. For context, this hobby is a competitive card-game, which I already have my old stuff for didn't even require money to start in the first place. Essentially I have no idea what to do. If I'm frank and honest with them then I'm afraid it will all end, and I feel that we're so good together and settled. I feel like I don't want to have to cut out a thing that I really enjoy because of my partner's seemingly irrational hatred, since it would also cut off a significant portion of my friendships from where I first lived. I feel so guilty for how I'm acting because of this, and just want to have an honest relationship again, but I'm afraid that will never happen again with them. It feels like just cutting myself off from the hobby would fix everything, but it's a social hobby and I find it somewhat difficult to start friendships in other ways. Does anyone have any advice?
Ask the community | social media, parenting
Help I don't know how to react or what to do
Okay, so I have been in a relationship for 1 and a half years i am pregnant and due in Jul. My significant other has other children from other women (which I can handle) I have been battling with my emotions on a subject that has been haunting me for almost a year now. My hunny's X wife had been informed that there were bed bugs at her job the middle of last year, well i guess not thinking anything of it until her daughter (his daughter) was sleeping on the couch many months down the rd and woke up with bites all over her. Turns up she found out she had them. Not really taking any action to solve the problem, I found out and being the freak that I am about pests I tried to take every precaution that I could without saying hey well the kids cant come to the house (even though that's what I wanted to say) I didn't want to be considered the bad guy, but I also don't want the bugs at my home with my kids. Well needless to say i said how I felt numerous of times stating she needed to do something about it before it became out of hand and it spread(but nothing was really done) so now this woman has an infestation I have the bugs because of course the kids as well as her would come over to my house. I don't know how to react or what to do, I don't want my immediate family to get them. I have been spraying and reading on how to take care of the situation, but as soon as i feel like i have it somewhat under control i feel like they are just bringing more over!!!!!!! Help!!!!! Just some opinions, suggestions would be great. I have not reacted how deep down inside i would like to because i dont care for confrontation i have spoke out in a nice manner but obviously am being ignored by not only her but my boyfriend which is her x husband.
Ask the community | social media, parenting
Money
I know every or most marriages have money issues.We always split the bills down the middle which I feel is fair but 2 years ago after he paid for funeral expenses for his dad we stopped splitting so he could pay off his credit cards. Eventualy, he continued to use credit cards for whatever, food, vacations etc.. always his choice though. Anyway, he has 2 paid off now and I think we should start splitting again. I dont feel its been fair! He says they are our bills and that he pays more than i do but he doesnt i do and have been! Credit cards are his personal bill . Mortgage water electric cable should be split down the middle.. I dont think credit cards should be included in splitting but he thinks it should be counted as paying since he may have used it for house or on me. I did the calculations Since January (not incuding credit cards) and I dont include my cards. I pay $1405 monthly in rent, cable, and cell phones (his cell phone too)! He pays electric $180,’ water $150 sewage 95 (every 3 months) car insurance for 3 vehicles but pays $50 for the vehcile i drive (2 are his work trucks and I do drive his 2002 suv as he crashed my lexus into a tree 4 years ago) Its def going to cause an argument but it needs to be discussed. How do I make my point acrossed to him That credit cards are a personal expense his bill not our bill. He does by more food Than I do but i do still buy some and i pay more. I havent event included food in the totals. He keeps throwing That he paid $1200 in bills which he is including his credit cards Payments which he pays more than the scheduled or required amount due. Thanks in advance!!
Ask the community | sexless, intimacy
Disaster in love...
Hi everyone, I've been asking questions about my relationship with my boyfriend. Recently we have been having very rough days together and this has been going on for about 2-3 weeks now. Everytime we meet up we usually have an argument/ disagreement and if it cools down, it's only a matter of minutes before another one starts. We used to be completely happy together and arguments and disagreements were never really a thing for a long time but recently they have been coming up so frequently that it's just pushing us apart. We still love each other so we keep trying to come back and work things out but if we come to an agreement, something else happens so we're back to square one. We have both come to know God, he has only recently converted, about a year now, and I with quite a number of years in the faith. I help him and guide him as best as I can but something seems a little weird. Firstly, we know that whether we believe in God or not, love is very important. We must care and have compassion for others. Before he was with God, he had this quality where if I was feeling down he'd stay with me and talk to me and just be loving and caring until I felt a little better and everyday for a couple days he'd check up on me and see if I had improved or what and of course when someone makes you feel loved and like you matter to them it's like a healing in itself. But fast forward to today and he just says that if I'm down I need to go to God and tell Him everything, don't rely on him, 'he's just the support'. And frankly, I'm not sure he understands what support means anymore. I understand we take our troubles to God but didn't God also put people in our lives to be a physical support for us? Didn't God teach us to love one another and love each other as ourselves? Another thing I also had on my mind was when he said he loves me. When I was feeling down he said he loved me and although I just wanted to say 'how? you don't show it anymore. I feel like you love me just by word of mouth', I just said it's nice to hear that. He asked but what about God's love for me? I told him that it was different coming from a person and then questioned 'how?'. He was saying that there isn't a difference between hearing that you're loved and then knowing it but feeling it after, it's just a different approach. I don't understand what that meant but now it makes me wonder, does he even know about being in a relationship and loving a person? He said to me that only if God directs me to him then I can focus on him. And I understand he wants me to put God first but is he right or am I supposed to be able to talk to him as well? From my understanding God would want me to speak to him about my troubles so we could work on them together and we could overcome them but I just don't understand how to get through to him. He also said that he's not going to assume otherwise unless God tells him so which makes me feel really lonely and hurt that I'm just left like that with God alone and no support from him. I don't know if it's me or maybe my relationship with God or something else but I love him and when these things happen I feel physical pains in my heart, I sometimes hyperventilate and feel light headed, I feel pain in my head and there's a tightness and heaviness in my chest. He doesn't know about all the effects I get when he's like this with me apart from the pain in my head, tightness in my chest and on the rare occassion heart pains. I feel like fully explaining everything will cause another explosion with him. He'll just tell me go to God and don't tell him about it but he doesn't understand that the reason I get those effects is because of the lack of his care and love. I tend to take these issues on we have quite heavily and with the stress and hurt built up it's just overwheming and I get these effects. I'm sort of in a grey area when it comes to understanding what I should be getting from him and what I'm demanding too much off. Am I asking too much? Am I just too attached? He's been my first everything so anything negative really affects me when it comes to him because I love him with my all. I just feel like I'm in a pit with no way out, with no direction or anything. Also, can someone explain to me how is it possible that before he knew God he was very compassionate and caring and now that he tries to fully rely on God, he's gone so cold on me and I'm left feeling unwanted and neglected by him? For God he would do anything, he'd even cut out activites because it's taking away his time from God, but when I ask him to, I just need to have understanding. I'm feeling very low and alone right now so any positivity would be greatly appreciated. Can you please tell me what I should do or say to get through to him? I don't want to be harsh and I don't want to breakup with him because in my heart I feel like he just needs an eye opener but I just don't have the words to do so. I just want him to know that he's hurting me and I need him to be the way he was.
Ask the community | social media, parenting
Questioning everything I thought I knew about my wife
My wife recently drifted into an emotional semi-sexual relationship after 15 years of marriage. Out sex life has been nonexistent and even when it happens it want all that fun. We grew complacent (mostly my fault) and she has started spending more time with girlfriends. There is one woman (who is married) that she has grown very close with and a couple weeks ago my wife told me that her friend would send joking/playful texts to her. Nothing earth shattering about that until she revealed that she liked it and that it was turning her in. She has never indicated any fantasy about a woman so that was shocking to me. She asked me how I felt about it and I admitted that it turned me on. She asked me if she could respond to these joking/sexy messaging and I said ok as long as I am in it with her and it can be used to enhance our sex life (which it has immensely). The texting has continued and ramped up in terms of its sexual graphic nature. My wife says that it’s only fantasy and that she could never see herself doing it, but I am concerned she’s not being honest about what she might do if the right situation/circumstances present themselves. The biggest issue (if that wasn’t it) is that the other woman is married and she is not sharing any of the exchanges with her husband which makes me uncomfortable. I tried suggesting that we work together to try and find another woman who is not a close friend (or married) to bring in to our relationship and she hesitated saying that she wasn’t so much attracted to women but this particular woman. Is that a red flag? Struggling to try and figure this out...
User article | communication, cheating, trust
Do i need to let go
Ive been seeing a guy for over 6 years now...we met on a dating site, at the beginning he told me he had a friend who is female, i didnt think anything of it, i didnt see alot of him because of his job, he works shifts and it clashed with my work on occasions, after seeing him for 3 months he went on holiday with his female friend, he told me it was booked for a while, again i was ok with it, when i asked to meet this friend he always made excuses, he also invited her to family do's and not me but again made excuses that she was a family friend, after one year passed we had our fair share of arguments about this friend, he again went away with her to the same place they went year before, i contacted her on fb to see what her relationship was with him...expecting her to say they were friends, she wanted to know who i was had i met his family! She saw herself as his partner, after another argument he denied they were a couple, he maintained they were friends, oh i found out they slept in the same bed when they go away but nothing happens, and ive asked her that and she has said they dont do anything but sleep, over the years hes continued to go away with her, when we argue he books to go away with her then blames me, she had to sell her house about 4 years ago and she moved in with this guy im seeing...ive been over and she has her own bedroom, i dont go over much very rarely he comes over to me more, ive met his family and recently went away for 5 days to his brothers with him, hes a fab guy when hes with me and we get on so well....but when he goes home it changes and he says it doesn't it me! Last year id had enough i finished it completely and met someone else he was devestated and pleaded with me to go back and he'd change even promised me we'd get engaged...i finished it with the other guy and went back....he went back on his word and all the promises he made, i even found out he'd been on 2 dating sites, he says he loves me and i believe he does, he went through a bad divorce his wife left him for someone else, and he says he finds it hard to trust...i love him but i just cant cope with his lies i dont know what hes up to when i dont see him, and with his work that can be 21 days before i see him Anyone got advice please
User article | ex-partner, jealousy
Travelling vs Settling down
My boyfriend and I have been together for 5 years now. I have had my own house for 2 years, which he lives in and contributes a more than a fair share towards bills and food. We are both in our early 30’s. He wants to travel and I want to settle down. We have talked about selling my house and buying one together in 2019, as well as potentially starting a family. For years he has loosely talked about travel, but never seems to make any solid plans to achieve this goal. At one point (due to redundancy), I had said that I would consider travelling 1 month with him and then fly home, leaving him to complete his travels on his own or with whoever he pleases. This would be between being made redundant and starting a new job. I soon got cold feet and worried about paying my mortgage when he started changing his mind about which month to go. I thought this could turn into me being on hold waiting through his long decision making process and then the travel not actually happening. I also started to feel like travelling wasn’t for me and I was planning the month purely for him, and it was a big risk not lining up a job when there were no solid plans in place. A few months ago, he told me he was depressed and really unhappy in his job, so I encouraged him to do his travel alone and take a career break. He has considered taking his career in a different direction, so my opinion was that this would be the perfect time. He has spent the past 3 month researching travelling alone and put the feelers out to other companies he may wish to work for in future. He is now starting to get cold feet about going travelling in July and is considering holding off until January 19 as the weather is better in Vietnam. For me, I feel like this is another case of him being unable to commit to plans and actually make decisions. I feel as if my asks of him in a relationship are not important as moving out his travels overlaps with us buying a home together. My life feels like it is on hold for him, while he slowly ponders on how to go about his travels.
Ask the community | communication, cheating, trust
Just confused...
Just a question about my relationship with my boyfriend I have that's left me lost. I recently posted a question I had about him due to feeling distanced and feeling avoided by him but we worked that out and I told him I needed some time to cool off because what had happened was really driving me insane and was stressing and frustrating me too much. He agreed that I could leave to calm myself down but then when I came back he'd try making some time for me and making changes that we had spoken about. So now after two days of just keeping to myself trying to clear my mind, I see him online and I message him (and please bear in mind that this was 3am his time). Our conversation didn't last long, but I did have the belief that he'd be happy to see me but it turns out it didn't really matter too much. He was just playing games all night long. Now here's the thing: when we're on good terms and we spend time together and he has to do something he makes sure to leave exactly on the dot and he plans time in advance to be able to do those things, he organises well. But now that we haven't been together much lately he seems fine to just lose time and stay up all night just playing games as if that's the only thing he has to do. And please also keep in mind that after a couple days of no communication with him, I message around 3am his time and the conversation is so dry and only lasted a couple minutes and at the end he didn't even respond to say anything, he just ignored me and kept playing for another 2 hours until he decided to go offline and go to bed. He always has time for everything else except me and when I tell him that he tries to convince me and says no that's not true. I don't even know how to explain what I feel. Another thing that I should probably mention is that I helped him find God. He has been attending church regularly and he's truly engrossed by everything to do with God. He even tries reaching out to people as much as he can and spreading the word of God and I'm truly grateful that He does that. But sometimes when I think about that I wonder.. 'How does he attend church, read the Bible, pray, speak to memebers of the church, try his best to live for God and not understand that he's hurting people around him. How doesn't he understand that it's hurtful and kind of rude to just ignore someone? Is his games so much more important than me?' I know he'd say no but I feel sometimes that he loves me just by word of mouth because his actions speak differently to me at times. He can make time for his family, for errands, for friends, for anything. Just not for me. And if he does, I get a few minutes of conversation that he isn't even really into and just end up being ignored. For the time being, I'm just gonna leave him alone and let him come to his senses, I think I'm done with always having to remind him and being stuck in a loop of the same things. But is there any way I can approach him or do something to make him wake up? I'm so sick of having to always be on the receiving end of this and I just don't know what else to do to get through to him.
Ask the community | social media, parenting
no time for each other and nothing left in common
Hi, i've been married to my wife since 2012 and we met in 2007. We've got 4 great kids together (3 girls and a boy) and last year we bought our very first house together (previously rented) which is a 4 bed in need of total renovation. Since March 2017 when we got the keys I basically worked all day at my job and then went there until the early hours of the day until we moved in at the end of October last year. My wife has always commented how we've not got anything in common for a while now and looking back at my interests I can agree that they differ from hers completely. She is 1 of 6 kids (No.5) and although her family leave reasonably close, they never really help out with the kids as they either have kids of their own or they work full time/have other responsibilities. I'm an only child, I don't have a relationship with my Dad and my Mum is a professional musician so I don't see much of her but we do talk all the time so thats all good. Anyway, it was my daughters 8th birthday last week and she wanted a garden party and as our garden was a mess, we decided to update it with some decking which yours truly did and this took up a lot of my time. On top of the house projects, in February we rescued a 4 month old beagle pup, which was supposed to be a family pet but has basically come down to me and my other daughter to look after. There are other things but to sumerise them my life is basically like this :- Mon-Fri 9-5, full time job. Saturday AM i take the kids swimming, Sunday AM, dance competitions. Tues nights - kids dance rehearsals, Wed night - Brownies, Thurs - Rainbows. this basically leaves Mon/Fri/Sat night free as Sunday is ironing and school. Our of these 3 free nights, i've been working on the house be it inside or in the garden and i normally finish after 10pm each night. Oh yeah, and then I have to walk the dog! My wife on the other hand looks after everything else such as the cooking,cleaning, looking after the kids if i'm not there etc but her life is just as busy as mine albeit child focused. I'm sure that when the house is all finished we'll have more time for each other but in the past year we've been out once together. I've lost touch with all my friends and she spends all her free time on facebook. She told me last night she wasn't happy with me and ended up storming off as I don't talk to her and she's lonely but from my point of view everything that takes up all my time like the decking, dance rehearsals, swimming and the dog were all sorted out by her and then she left it to me. for about 2 years she's also had minor medical niggles which have ranged from headaches, to ulcers, to tummy ache to foot ache etc and when I get home from work i hear about whats hurting her today. It's now got to the point when I don't want to talk to her as all I hear is complaining about everything. What do I do? I can't stretch myself any thinner and anything i'd consider talking to her about is either minor compared to her life or just not on common ground between us. It's hard to want to listen to someone that moans all the time about life but I don't want to break up as she's a good Mum to my kids and does a good job keeping on top of the house. We just don't click any more. Any suggestions?
Ask the community | social media, parenting
What does a healthy relationship look like?
The million-dollar question, what does a healthy relationship look like? There are many perceptions to what is a healthy relationship, and of course, what works for one couple might not work for another. A healthy relationship requires work from both partners to help each other improve and grow within their partnership as well as growing as individuals. Here are ten signs that you are in a healthy relationship: 1. Maintaining the love For some, falling in love is hard and takes time while for others, falling in love happens within the few first dates. Whether it takes you longer or not, falling in love is easy. Maintaining that love and creating a long-term relationship is the hard part. Changing your expectations of what love is, is a vital aspect to being successful in your long-term relationship. In the beginning, love is all roses and becoming one, otherwise known as the honeymoon period. But, there will be inevitable changes in your relationship that will require you and your partner to climb many hills and mountains. If you can overcome the challenges that you have to face, it is a good sign that you are in a healthy relationship. 2. Accepting the little mistakes You get to a point with your partner where the little things slip your mind. Hanging out the washing, filling up the car or forgetting to pick up the chicken for tonight’s dinner. Healthy couples will accept that we all screw up sometimes and that it’s no big deal. On the flip side, if you think “they don’t care about me that’s why they forgot” or something similar, then it’s a sign that you still have some things to work on. 3. Working as a team not competitors Having a competitive attitude is a strong personality trait, but, keeping it outside of the relationship and acting more like teammates will make your relationship more sustainable. Having a bit of competition with each other in a fun way is perfectly normal, but sticking together on decisions and your future is a sign that you are able to get through the tougher times that you will experience. 4. Throwing out the stubbornness and accepting responsibility Like most people, I always wanted to be right during any small discussions or even the big arguments. I would fight my corner for as long as it took. But, as my relationship developed and as I grew as a person, I realised that being right or trying to shift blame is not always the most important outcome. Pointing the finger or blaming your partner is an unhealthy relationship method. Instead, talking about the problem whether it is financial, house related or something within the family, looking at both partners contribution to the issue is the more mature and honest thing to do. Sometimes, putting your hands up and accepting your part is a quicker solution than going around in circles with each other looking who’s to blame. 5. Feeling secure Jealousy is a natural feeling when you love someone so much. But, jealousy stems from being insecure within your relationship. Having that feeling of loyalty and trust takes time and again, hard work. But, when you no longer feel paranoid or insecure, you have reached the epitome of love. Both partners should make one another feel so loved that there is no reason for one of you to have suspicion or unfaithful thoughts. Again, it takes time, but working on it together will create a healthy relationship. 6. Going out of your way for each other Whether you have been dating for 3 weeks or 10 years, nice gestures and romantic surpises should never go a miss. Putting your partner as your priority and not feeling bitter about it is a huge sign that you are in it for the long run. No one ever gets tired of being spoilt by their partner, even by the small things such as cleaning the house, cooking dinner or taking the dogs out for a walk. It doesn’t always have to be expensive jewellery or a big bouquet of flowers every time. By having a natural feeling that the world is no longer just about you, but more so about the happiness of this other person who you are sharing life with, then you can count yourself as someone in a healthy relationship. 7. Talking openly - even about the sore subjects From money to desires, being able to talk honestly and openly is the key to a healthy relationship. If you can’t tell your partner your true feelings and aspirations, then who can you tell? Healthy couples are the ones who trust one another with deep thoughts, even if they can be upsetting. 8. Allowing change and recognising that it is a good thing Life changes every single day. Embracing these changes and allowing your partner to live life as both an individual and as one in your relationship is essential. Healthy couples recognise that the person they met years ago is not going to be that same person for the rest of their life. Allowing each other to grow as individuals and supporting each other’s life choices is an important part to your relationship. Encouraging each other to start new hobbies or search for a new career path shows that you have a strong interest in the wellbeing of your partner. Communicating any changes that come your way and allow change to take its course is a sign of true partnership. 9. Recovering from the fighting Does the perfect couple fight? Yes. Does a healthy couple argue or disagree? All the time. Painting the perfect and healthy relationship as one that doesn’t fight is far from reality. All couples fight and discuss, its natural and in fact, necessary. Knowing what pushes each other’s buttons or how to calm one another down is an important part to learning more about each other. Constant fighting is of course, not a good sign and perhaps a good time to think and communicate whether the relationship is working. But, arguing in a healthy relationship will be the type where you don’t have to be disrespectful or hurtful to one another. For example, resorting to name-calling will lead to no sort of true communication. Couples who love and understand each other won’t have to use this technique to get their point across. However, if the odd word slips up without you meaning it, then the other must understand the difference between fury and honesty. 10. Your fears are reduced The feeling of support and security can reduce your fears massively. Also, having someone you trust can push you to face these fears. From being able to go on the tallest rollercoaster knowing you can hold their hand or going back to university to pick up another degree. Having that persons love and support makes us individually better people. Facing fears together creates new experiences and opportunities. A healthy couple will know when to support you and when to give you that tiny push.
User article | social media, parenting
What is going on??
Hi everyone, I have an interesting story but I would really appreciate any advice and light on this. I met my boyfriend online quite a number of years ago and we had our ups and downs just like every other normal couple. However, at the beginning even though things weren't perfect he really used to give me his time, his love, his attention etc. Even if he had to go out he'd most likely try avoiding it just to spend time with me and even though I felt a little bad that he was so focused on me, I felt really loved and touched and thought 'this guy truly loves me, he'd do anything for me'. We'd spend hours just lost in time talking the night away and over those years we've come a very very long way and have truly created a deep and wonderful bond. However, as the years rolled on I noticed slight changes in him. I have mentioned the issues I've had with him NUMEROUS amounts of times and he either gets upset that he leaves or somehow tries to make me understand that I'm wrong for thinking the way I do. For example, if we disagreed on something before, he'd talk to me about it and try making things right and we'd apologise and such but now I'm afraid to mention anything because of his reaction. He'd most likely just leave, burst out on me or just try telling me I'm wrong for thinking and feeling the way I do. But recently I noticed other changes in him so I questioned him. I told him that I felt like he was avoiding me and interestingly enough we sorted it out no problem. He agreed that we'd meet up a little later after he took a rest since he was tired so I decided to just do a few things while he was sleeping. But I ended up finding out that not too long after he woke up he just decided to go play games. He was never the kind of person to avoid me or forget to message me, he never liked being away but it seems like he's happier without my company. I've been in similar situations before and it's like it never ends, I'll bring up an issue and we'll talk about it but sooner or later it's back to how things were. It's taking a toll on me emotionally and mentally and even physically but I just can't seem to let go of him even if I wanted too. I love him totally, especially since we have been through so much together but when he does these things it affects my eating, sleeping and even focusing on daily tasks. I can understand that maybe he'd want some time to himself which is fine but he is well aware that I was waiting for him and he just decided to not show up. I don't know how to get through to him but the funny thing is that although things are like this, he still speaks about wanting to get married and planning a future with me etc. When we're together and we do get some time together and he gives me his attention, I really feel on top of the world and just so great but when he does something like this.. sometimes I just automatically find my heart racing and some other effects. I don't know...am I being crazy? over-reacting? insecure?I'm assuming you may suggest to try focusing on other things more important in life and such but I simply can't. This will be on my mind and will be a huge distraction which will prevent me from focusing on something else. I also know that it isn't healthy but I just feel completely lost and so saddened, all I want is for him to go back to the way that he used to be. Any advice on how to approach this would be so greatly appreciated and thank you for taking time out to assist me on this xx
Ask the community | communication, arguments
Built up animosity? Am I in the wrong?
My friend had told me to join a live, so I did as told thinking that "it'll be fun". Only for me then to realize that she, and the other fifty people were tormenting this poor guy...just because he said "nigga." As a future female black youth leader, I was so disgusted by this, because we, in fact, go to a POC high school where the word is loosely used among all POC's so It was really unfair when he was automatically a "racist"...just because of the slip of the tongue. What made me even angrier was when they had all started using his physical insecurities against him and telling him he was worthless. I, personally struggle with depression, so I know what trigger depression. Obviously I was extremely heated after the live, so I made a post about what ALL they did and how both parties were wrong. But then she came at me aggressive and stated that "you have no right to speak on this". So I brushed it off and told her personally what she had taken part in was wrong... ( she'd gotten several death threats online before and she should know what it's like to be in his shoes). Then she got angrier and made a post about how she tired of playing games with people and etc. Previously she'd also posted that all her friends were inconsiderate and didn't listen to her...she also included examples of me putting my headphones in or just shutting down completely...but I suffer from BPD just like her and I need to take a moment to unwind sometimes and breathe..but I didn't take it to the heart. Instead I asked her why she felt that way and what I could do to be better friend, but she only left me on seen...so I unsent my messages and said forget it until this happened. This morning, because I was so overwhelmed by everything I ended up having to step out of class to breathe, and she made another post stating that "go on and cry about your insecurities somewhere else...etc" I'm reading everything that I've typed back and trying to pin point where I was in the wrong...should I have approached the situation a little better. I feel like there is some built up animosity or jealousy that I may have contributed to...maybe I hurt her? ( we both obviously have bad social media habits)
Ask the community | sex, intimacy
Our adventurous sex life has made things complicated...
Right now I am feeling very low and despondent with my marriage. About 3 yr ago, my husband confided in me that he had joined a sex website, where people share photos of themselves and have some sexual fun with others through messaging. He had not shared photos of himself, but wanted to share photos of me. He enjoyed that other men were enjoying looking at me, and reading comments left by other users on my photos. I agreed to it. It seemed like a bit of fun. It was something we enjoyed together as a couple - posting a couple of photos up when we would be having a sexy night together. From here things have slowly escalated. It started with occasional photo sharing, to more frequent photo sharing, to naughty chat with other men as a couple. I decided as a sexy surprise to him I would take control of the account and post photos without him knowing. He would find it very arousing to check in on the website throughout the week (he often works away) and see that I had posted a photo. Up until this point he was always the one to post photos of me, always with my permission. This, in turn, has led to him telling me he would love me to have sexy text conversations with other men - without him being involved. This would be when we are together in bed. I would be on the phone to another man, pleasuring myself, while he watched. I was thoroughly enjoying it. It was fun, it was exciting and he was also loving it. From here it has escalated more. We are now doing this completely separately. I will be upstairs on the phone with another man. He will be downstairs, listening. This is something we had both agreed to. He was more than happy with this arrangement. We had discussed a threesome. But ultimately he is more interested in me being with someone else, than he is in joining in. He would be perfectly happy for me to go off with another man, and tell him about it after. He enjoys this sexually - and I have been too. Its incredibly fun and exciting. I have loved the attention I have been receiving and our sex life felt amazing. Our sex life now completely revolves around this idea of me being with another man. This is where things get messy. I have been engaging in this with the same man repeatedly for the past 7 months, with increasing frequency - all with the blessing of my husband. I barely know the guy, but we had started to chat in between our sexy sessions. We get along and have a lot of fun together. And I honestly feel like I have more fun with the new guy than I do with my husband. It's gotten to the point where I can't enjoy having sex with my husband without involving this other guy (over the phone) or pretending I am with the other guy. I am also finding myself being secretive about my non-sexual conversations with this guy - because I know my husband isn't keen on it. The sexual stuff he has absolutely no problem with, but engaging in normal conversation as well seems too much like a relationship dynamic to him - which I understand, but have selfishly continued to do anyway. These feelings have crept their way into other parts of my life too. I am starting to resent my life with my husband and am left with a lingering feeling of what it would be like to start afresh on my own. My new life on my own would probably involve the other guy (although I haven't told the other guy any of this) but I am very aware that it would be a casual, lustful relationship that wouldn't last - if it was anything at all. There have been things I have found difficult in my husband's and my relationship over the years, but they are things I have been able to put aside - because i love my husband. Now these things are becoming more and more of a problem for me, and I feel I would be better off on my own. My husband is a good guy - and he has never done me wrong. I feel like I've lost the love, but I don't necessarily want to throw away everything we've had over the last 10 years for the sake of a bit of fun with a guy I barely know. And at the same time I feel like I could be ready for something new. My husband was all too willing for me to go off with the other guy for a night of passion. It would have been the perfect opportunity for me to try it out without throwing away my marriage. I have declined this offer and cut contact with the other guy for now, because I know I wouldn't be doing it for the right reasons. It wouldn't be for us to enjoy as a couple. It would be for my own selfishness. I have tried my best to be honest with my husband about all this. He is obviously hurt, and I have placed a lot of blame on him when we have been arguing. He is begging me not to give up on our relationship. Part of me feels i should try and make it work with him. The other part of me doesn't want to. I have no idea where to go from here.
Ask the community | communication, arguments
What do I do?
So I've been dating this woman for five years and things suddenly changed. I met this woman when I took an out of town job and we hit it off instantly. She was the fire to my soul. She was a single mother with two young boys and even though I don't normally date single mothers, there was finding about her. She made me feel like no one ever has. We were young and in love. After a month I was living with her. Eventually, her crazy side emerged and I found myself packing my stuff and waiting on the sidewalk for my ride after every major argument almost once a month. Of course persistence and love overcame the crazy and our relationship was one to be envied. A few years go by and she decided she wants to have a weight loss procedure done. She's always been beautiful in my eyes and even though I had my objections, I was one hundred percent supportive. I cared for her, cleaned up after her, cooked for her and motivated her. I made sure the kids were fed, clothes, and clean. I was on top of their chores and school work. I did what I had to do. After she recovered, her mom ended up moving in with us. Bad move. Her mom started filling my wife and son's heads with lies like I was cheating on her or I didn't love her. She would tell my wife that the kids were scared of me and that I beat them. Eventually my wife kicked me out. With no place to go, I had no choice but to stay with my parents. Three months go by and my love for her is as strong as ever. Then she tells me that her mom destroyed a wash machine in our apartment complex and they're evicting everyone. My wife reasons with them and they agree to let her stay as long as her mom leaves. Guess who gets to come back home? Yours truly returns with nothing but love and forgiveness in my heart. Or relationship goes back to being normal. Somewhat. A few months go by and I notice my wife is a little more distant than usual. She spends a lot more time on facebook. Now, I'm somewhat of a jealous person due to several previous relationships ending with them having affairs and after the loss of our son, my ex-wifes infidelity hit me hard. So when this woman told me that a few of her relationships ended when she cheated on her boyfriends, of course suspicions arose,even though she assured me that she was no longer that person. Well, one night I was up late as usual and her phone went off. I got curious and checked it. The message was from a guy. It said "lol I love you". My heart dropped. I woke her up and asked her about it. As it turns out, she added an ex-boyfriend without even considering me. She explained that he requested her and she added him without even thinking and deleted him. I let it go. She's even more distant now. One day, I snatch her phone to see what's so important that she has to shut out myself and our kids. She puts up a huge fight, trying to take it. During the struggle, I notice that she had 142 friends (I remember numbers for some reason). So I give it back to her and she does something on it for about a minute, not letting me see what she's doing, then she tries to hand it to me. I decline. Later that night, I look again and she only has 141 friends. I ask her about it the next day and she claims ignorance. Things have only gotten worse. A few weeks ago she told me that she wanted a break. She hasn't been intimate with me in months. I ask her if there's still a chance between us and all I get is maybe someday. Now I'm sleeping in my car because I have no place to go. We still talk and I spend every last dime making sure she has gas, taking her kids out to eat and just trying to make sure they are happy. I just need feedback on my situation. I've never really had anyone to talk to about my problems so I thought I'd give this site a shot. Am I wasting my time? Should I give up? I love this woman and her boys so much I would give my last breath to ensure their happiness but I'm afraid it's going to cost me more than just money.
Ask the community | dating, commitment
“Throwing blame and anger”
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 in a serious relationship and we have had our ups and downs like anyone. I have moved away from my awesome job, family and friends and moved 18 hrs away from everyone and everything I've known. During this time my bf has had his own issues with not seeing his daughter, buying a house, me moving in and everything. I've helped him the best I can with those issues. Lately I have had issues of my own with anxiety and some depression. When he was stressed he would occasionally lash out at me for saying or doing stupid things. Like starting hypothetical conversations, or not closing drawers all the way. He gets so angry and when I try to explain myself or my reasons for saying or doing something he gets more irate. When I get upset or irritable it is unacceptable and starts a huge fight. He blames his outbursts on me saying that "if you wouldn't have starting talking about it I wouldn't have gotten mad" or "you could see me getting pissed you should have shut up" "you're talking in circles and repeating yourself and it pissed me off". Our last argument we were watching a show about abuse and I made a comment saying "I wouldn't beat you up if you cheated, I would just leave because you don't do that to someone you love" then he goes on about how "yeah, because you know better than to try anything because you would lose" I responded with "I'm sure I could hurt you if I wanted to, but I wouldn't". He took this as a threat and it started a huge fight. I was so confused why he was so angry because he didn't even hear the part that I wouldn't ever do anything, he only heard that I was threatening him. I tried to explain that's not what I meant and he accused me of taking back what I say, and this is why men call women crazy and "answer me and tell me what you would do to hurt me because there is no way" he tells and screams at me to shut up then is enraged that I get pissed... I feel like my issues aren't important, that I'm not allowed to get mad and that I have to watch what I say to not make him upset. I talked to him about seeking anger management and he won't do it. He feels like I'm making our issues his fault and I'm not taking responsibility for making him mad.... I am ready to move out. Is this normal or am I in a controlling and manipulating relationship?
Ask the community | arguments, emotional abuse
“We don't go anywhere”
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 realtionship with my current bf for 2 years now...well, sort of - I'm saying that because in the beginning we had a long distance relationship. He eventually moved to my city (an honorable gesture, may i say so) and in 2 months we will celebrate 1 years since we have lived in the same city. However, i must address something that it bothers me so so much. We never go out. And it's not even about spending money or something like that. I would be very happy to just go to the park together and sit on a bench. The thing is he denies to do almost everything. At first i thought he was tired, or he is busy at work or something... but this is a constant. Almost every time i have to initiate things. And 90% of times, he says he doesn't want to do anything. He just wants to sit in the house all day. I understand that he doesn't like to go to clubs and whatever (although i would love to go in such a place together) but even when i compromise it seems it's not enough. All he wants to do is sit in the house and that's all. I am so frustrated because i want to make memories with him, but it seems like he doesn't want to do the same with me... i really suffered when we were in a long distance relationship because we couldn't spend too much time together and we didn't do many things that couple get to do. I thought that if he moves here we would do stuff together...we would discover the beauty of this city together, we would explore caffees and streets and stuff like that. I told him about my feelings. I told him that i want us to do more things together...but it seems like every time i just hit a wall. We have been together for 2 years now...and all i can remember from this relationship is how we are sitting in the house all day...doing absolutely nothing. Sometimes i feel like he is only neglecting ME. In his past relationships he told me he used to visit/do all these stuff that i want now to do with him... (going to the clubs, visiting other cities, exploring parts of our town). I don't understand why he doesn't want to do things with me, but he did things with his ex and with his friends... What should i do? I am starting to lose hope...
Ask the community | communication, arguments, long distance
“Too soon to say ‘I love you’”
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 recently met a wonderful lady through a dating app — about 2 weeks ago. We went to dinner, sports activities, long walks, talked on the phone for hours and everything had been great. She and I had very romantic get togethers where we exchange lots of passionate kisses & hugs... She is very funny but also a little unfiltered (very direct in communication and graphic sexual humor)... We exchange texts often throughout the day and it feels like we are truly a couple already! I got to the point where last night I told her “I love you”..... Last night she asked me over to her house which ended up with me staying over until 5am while her 3 kids (9, 13, 15) were asleep upstairs... I have not met her kids yet... (we have been on several “dates” while the kids remained at home unsupervised which makes me feel her priorities are unbalanced)... Last night ended up to be a very passionate night — too passionate. What I experienced was sensory overload which left me with feelings of guilt and shame — and she was all bubbly and loving it... My question is, do people end relationships primarily based on a complete mismatch on bedroom passion? And, is saying “I love you” after 13 days too early — and ending a relationship right after saying that screwed up? I appreciate your input in advance!
Ask the community | dating
“Too much, too soon?”
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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   A few weeks ago I connected with a woman on a dating app, this one is designed to work with your Facebook profile and recommends friends of friends etc with the potential of finding someone more suitable. We’re both in our late 20 but not quite at 30 yet. We are mutual friends with another couple, me knowing the guy through university and her the girl through a previous job. Long story short the conversation quickly progressed and it was clear we found one another easy to talk to. We exchanged numbers and she was quite forward saying I could then ask her what her plans for the weekend were. We arranged dinner for Saturday but on Saturday morning she asked if I wanted to meet sooner and go for a coffee and progress to dinner. Throughout the week she had kept telling me how much she was looking forward to our date. Our first date essentially ended up being 8 hours together with conversation flowing easily, no awkward silences or thinking what to talk about next. We then arranged a date for the following week, a dinner on Friday at a nice restaurant and once again on the afternoon of the date she is asking again to meet earlier for a drink in a bar and progress to dinner. Dinner is extremely good and again conversation flowing and it is apparent how similar we are. She invites me home that evening and to spare details that also went very well and we end up spending the Saturday together talking and relaxing with the intention of spending another night together at my house. But a few hours in to being at mine she then asks if she could go home as suddenly everything just got intense for her and she realises she hasn’t spend two nights in a row with a man before. I then get a message on the Sunday telling me that it all got too much too quickly and she would like to leave things there. It’s been two weeks now and I wasn’t quite ready to finish, in fact for me given how easy it was to be in her company I thought this had the foundations to be something serious and given how much more forward she has been than me, thought it was mutual. I would like to reach out to her again but I am also respecting her boundaries. To me we were a good fit but I can’t quite understand why she didn’t just ask to slow down instead of the reality that is completely stopping things altogether? She hasn’t told me she no longer likes me, just that it was too much for her so I don’t know where exactly that leaves me. I haven’t felt that spark with someone I’ve dated in a long while that I did with her so don’t want it to extinguish.
Ask the community | dating, commitment
“Where is this relationship headed?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   So I met this guy online and he lives about 2 hours away from where I live, We've been talking for 3 months now I've made the first move to call him on the on the phone twice and he hasn't done his part in calling me idk what's the big deal is before cell phones before all this texting people spoke on the phone , don't get me wrong i like texting myself but if you like someone don't you want to hear their voice ? oh yea! we haven't met yet every time we were suppose to meet something would happen on his part or on mine i have a son and he knows this and said he was okay with it so the 1st time we couldn't meet because my son father cancelled on my son so i had no one to take care of my son (i'm a single mom with no sitter no one to relay on) and then the next time we were suppose to meet his parents went out on a vacation cruse and had to dog sit and i said why don't you bring your dog he said she was an old dog and couldn't handle the long drive i wouldn't know bc i don't have a pet dog so i was pretty sad about that, so fast forwarding time.... Well it was all great at the start the whole good morning, my love , the i wish i was with you right now and all those sweet things you want to hear ... So it's been 2 weeks now and I've notice some change . He went on a job training for a week and in that week he wouldn't txt me good morning he will txt me after he was done okay that's fine no biggie but forwarding to this Monday i asked him a question and asked him... " has your feelings changed for me " H- "Yea i think they have " M-"In what way''? H- "idk they just changed" M- (his name) Have the feelings changed to less or more? H- "They are the same but different". Easy question right? it's a Yes or No more or less type of question isn't it? M-"okay so if i came to you and said (his name) Yes my feelings have changed for you but not really telling you if they are more or less, How would you take that'? H- Fine as long as you still want to be with me. M- Well that brings another great question! Do you want to be with me ? H- Yes. So at this point i once poured out my feelings telling him.... M- I just don't want to be someone you just settle for .I want you to want me like you did before and not for less. H-"I just don't know what to say" me in my head (WHAT!?) so i said... M- See (his name) that's not going to cut it that answer gives me nothing but more confusion, so the last text i sent him was " How about i don't text you for a few days and let you think what you really want or really want to say more then just IDK WHAT TO SAY so if by WED i don't hear from you i'll know ,I just don't want to be wondering . Never txt saying okay or anything so we are on Tuesday got one more day. So can anyone please tell me what to think. I have a clue of what i'm feeling and thinking and what this might mean but i would like some input please. Than you! P.S I have been single for 5 1/2 years now dedicated my time to my son and myself i'm just looking for love once again.
Ask the community | sex, intimacy
“Why was my wife upset?”
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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Last night, coming home from a day out (around 11.00pm) my wife and I had to take a bus that didn't take us all the way home. So we jumped off the bus, phoned a private hire and waited for it to arrive. To be honest it was only a 10-15 minute walk to the house, so we were being a bit lazy. Anyway my wife gets fed up and starts to walk up the road. As I didn't want to walk I waited for the taxi with the intention of picking her up as there is only one way home. I got in the taxi and as I was about to call my wife she called me shouting down the phone that I'd let her walk up the road on her own, I asked where she was and doubled back, eventually I saw her and get the driver to stop. She went ballistic! shouting and screaming at me for being a bastard as I let her walk on her own, then she started shouting at the taxi driver calling him all the names under the sun as well. I asked her to get in the taxi and she told me, and the driver, to "fuck off!". which I did. I apologised to the driver, I then went to out local and had a pint to allow her to get home and go to bed. Now I'm as mindful of women walking about on their own as he next person, but I think she completely over reacted and I especially was not at all happy at her shouting at the taxi driver. Shes now not talking to me, and I expect this to go on for days. The thing is am I in the wrong here? Was she right, should I have walked up the road instead of waiting to get the taxi to pick her up? If I'm out of line here I'll apologise but I don't think it was appropriate for her to scream and shout at me, and a total stranger... am I wrong?
Ask the community | communication, arguments
“I want a relationship, but know it's a bad idea”
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 high-school senior who's about to do his final exams and start his year-long military service afterwards, where I'll rarely be allowed to visit home. As soon as I am done with my service, I am to study in another country for 4 years and will only be coming to my homeland once a year or so. (P.S. I'm in Europe) I've avoided starting any relationships previously, because I knew teenage relationships are fragile and almost never stand the test of time, especially when you have to serve in the military and study in another country. I've also sometimes feared that relationships might distract me from things that are more important. I've always put my future and career above all else. I'm also a guy who isn't really into "fun" relationships that last a few of months or maybe years, as is often popular for young people these days. I want mine to be solid and long-lasting, as a proper relationship should be. I guess horoscopes have a degree of truth to them, since I'm a Capricorn and we are notorious for this lmao I'm a tall, athletic guy who's often successful on a national and sometimes international level. I can say that I'm above average in terms of looks, maybe even a bit higher than that (though it's subjective). I'll also say that I can be a bit of an introvert at times. I've had girls fall for me quite a few times, too. I'm not saying all this to brag, but to say that what I'm facing now is not because I fear rejection (because I'm generally confident), or that I was ridiculed for my looks during some sort of failed attempt at getting a date that resulted in an inferiority-complex. I also promise you I do not have a superiority complex - I know my flaws very well and I am willing to work on them. This year I've noticed that I just feel a great, subconscious urge to start a relationship, and have realized that chatting to and flirting with girls releases some sort of Dopamine rush for me. It never goes beyond anything other than said flirting and chatting, since I'm still in control of my actions in general and I keep reminding myself to focus on what's really important, but I feel as if this urge is getting stronger by the day, and it's not a good feeling. Is what I'm experiencing normal? How can I resist this urge? Should I give in? Thanks in advance! Tl;dr: I've never bothered with a relationship before, but now I feel a great urge to start a relationship despite knowing and telling myself that now is not the time to do so because of my mil. service and studies. Is this normal? How do I fight this urge? Should I give in? Thanks!
User article | sex, intimacy
“My girlfriend was lying to 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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hi dear community i would like to share something that is braking apart my heart...I had a relationship over 6 years and yez is a lot...on our 5 year of relationship she lie to me...She was starting this whole thing about having her drive licence. At the beginning she was honest and was having school driving...Because she take personal form someone who is related to her when shes call out when she dose something wrong...but after a month she top taking the class's and she didn't say anything... She make this whole story that she was hanging with her friends from work, and they were letting her drive their cars. She was starting to get late to her grands home were she was living and the fact that she does not call or msg me at all makes me worry... Mostly when i never told her that she wasnt allow to do anything at all...she was totally free as i meet her...It came to the point that she wasnt answering mtly calls or msg, even turned off her phone. One day i decide to call to her work place, it was the GM that answered say that she left 3 hrs ago. I got sad and desperate and start calling a lot. She never answer any of my calls over a month...One night at 11pm she finally pick up her phone and her answer was this....(WTF you want) am not your wife to gave you explanations about what i do or don't...We broke up cause she was rebel...We were 5 months separate...I did my research and i found out the truth... The 30 of December 2 hrs before the end of the year. She call me crying because she miss me, that no buddy understand her like i do, that she doesn't feel comfortable with no one thats not me, that she can't see herself with someone else or me...Then she was very quiet...I told her you are quite because you want to come back to me and you are scared of being rejected...She said yez.. I ask her whos the guy that you were hanging with this whole time science the summer...when you told me that you were going out with the gilrs from work... It was an old friend back from highscool...He was the one taking her to work, home, using his car and everything else's...She said that she was scared of me getting jealous not allowing her to learn how to drive...When thats non scenes know whow I've been to her science i meet her...But that wasn't rhe end or everything...She did have a relationship with him those whole month while we were separate...then i ask her did you sleept with him...Answer (YES)
User article | trust
“Is she playing games with me?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I met a wonderful girl two months ago , she is 10 years younger than me and I was over the moon as she is very attractive. I saw her on her day off at the beginning of the week but then, when the weekend arrived, she just disappeared, no texts or anything and when I text her then she telling me to stop annoying her as she got other issues in life , a day before her birthday she told me the first time that she loves me and she said that she will come over to mine so we will be together on her birthday , but then that was weekend , she never came , no texts , nothing at all , few days later she told me she got some personal issues and she is worry about lots of things , she even said that she didn't have drink on her birthday , but I seen photo on her facebook dating on her birthday , she was out , looking rough or drunk , taking pics with some guys cuddling up , not said anything but things goes always the same , when she is with me and drunk she declare her love for me but then she again stop texting and ignoring me , what do I do ? I don't want to loose an angel as she is something so special , never fancied anybody in my life like her but again is she just playing the games with me ??
Ask the community | communication, cheating
Emotional support for new dads
Dads can often be unsure of their roles during the pregnancy and birth. With the bulk of the attention understandably on the mother, the father can sometimes feel like a bit of a bystander. Feeling unsupported If this reflects your experience, you might be wondering when you will start to get the attention and support you need. You might feel this way because you aren’t letting people know you need support. Friends and family will often show their support to those who appear most in need. If you don’t appear to be in need, people often assume you’re OK. According to research, women are less likely to face this problem because they tend to tell people what kind of help they need: Males are more likely than females to deal with their problems privately.  Males were more likely to find it difficult to discuss their problems with friends. Both men and women believe that men find it more difficult to talk and express their emotions than women do [1]. Leaning on friends and family If you’ve got friends or family members who support you, it might help to lean on them during this time. If you need specific things, just ask. They might be looking for ways to help and just not know what you need. Or they may assume that you’re OK because you’ve not said anything. Remember that – although your partner went through the pregnancy and birth – you were there too, and your role as a father deserves celebration and support. Join in the celebration of your own role, even if others aren’t acknowledging it. It’s very important that you feel free to embrace your fatherhood at this early stage [2]. So, challenge any thoughts that make you feel secondary or less important. Your role is just as vital.   References [1] Ramm, J., Coleman, L., Glenn, F. and Mansfield, P. (2010) Relationship Difficulties and Help-Seeking Behaviour – Secondary Analysis of an Existing Data-Set. One Plus One: London [2] Marsiglio, W., Lupton, D., & Barclay, L. (1998). Constructing Fatherhood: Discourses and Experiences. Contemporary Sociology, 27(6), 590. doi:10.2307/2654239
Article | fathers, family
2 min read
“Scared to commit at such a young age”
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 and I have an amazing relationship. We have compatible dreams but he is way more daring in wanting to fulfil them asap. As a very young person (21) I don’t know if I’m ready to dive into a huge commitment with him like creating a business together with some of his friends and buying land together and all these crazy amazing things. Of course, down the line, like 5 years or so I’d be way more open to it but he wants all this to happen in a year so we’ve started planning now. I’m having a lot of anxiety about committing to this huge life change and person so young. Of course I love him and I know he loves me and his actions match that. He came into money when he turned 21 because of a trust fund and he’s waited on buying the perfect place for the two of us to have. Otherwise if it were just him, he would have bought something smaller a long time ago. I can honestly see myself marrying this guy. He feels like Home and the one person I feel completely myself around and I don’t think I’ll find that in anyone else. I’m scared of the commitment. I want to hear other people’s thoughts because I need unbiased reassurance or advice on how to conquer this.
Ask the community | living together, big changes
“Have I ruined the relationship?”
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, So me and my boyfriend have been together for just over a year and a half now but at the beginning of the year we broke up for a while. He got busy with work etc and one day he suddenly asked me if it was the right time to be in a relationship. It was a real shock for me because we had been so close for so long before that and from that day it just went downhill, he never made time for me, would be online and not reply and just generally seem very uninterested. I have always been very open and honest about my feelings so I would confront him about it however he would get annoyed with me and say I was overthinking or I would ask too much. After months of me trying to make enough effort for the both of us and feeling so low and unworthy he broke up with me (over text) saying the situation was not right. I had felt so low for so many months because of everything that when he did break up with me I decided I couldn’t keep feeling like that anymore and that I was not going to sit around being sad when I knew I had tried my best. I started going out with my friends, being the one ‘not seeing’ his messages for a change and genuinely feeling so happy and relaxed for the first time in so long. After a while he messaged me apologising for how he behaved and saying he wanted to get back together. I wasn’t honestly sure how I felt about getting back together because of what happened but I was honest and told him that in the time we were apart I had kissed someone that I met on a night out (not long after we had broken up). He was devastated when I told him, I didn’t expect him to take it well but he took it very very badly. We ended up getting back together but he still feels I have ruined our relationship through my actions and that he cannot trust me now. It’s been a while but the arguments still happen over this and I know he looks at me different. For me it’s frustrating because the issues he brought to the relationship are now ignored because he believes what I did is so much worse. Also because I did not tell him until he mentioned getting back together he says that I was lying to him during that time. (Also this might sound dramatic to some people but I think it’s partly because this is our first relationship so we are each others first kiss etc. now that I have kissed someone else I think that has ruined it for him a bit) I know it was close to when we broke up but I was single and not through my own choice, I had been sad and had felt like he had broken up with me months before he did and finally I was going out and having fun and not caring about him constantly like I had been. Have I ruined the relationship? Was what I did wrong? Can it ever be the same after this because I don’t know if he’ll ever forget? Thank you, this is causing me a lot of stress
Ask the community | trust
“I really like this guy but I'm his boss”
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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   A few months ago I ended a 5-year relationship with a guy who ended up cheating on me. We live and work in a small town, so pretty much everyone found out about the whole thing immediately. So I take a couple weeks off, come back to work and we've hired a new guy. Departments only about 15 people large, but I am a shift manager and have direct authority over the department. In other words, I am this guys immediate supervisor (you can see where this is going already I bet). Of course we start hanging out, because he's amazing and we have a ton in common. I started getting the feels less than a month knowing him, and excused it as being hurt from my previous relationship and wanting something new and fun. As time has gone on though, I realize it's more than just an infatuation. I really like this guy. Problem number #1 is of course, I'm his boss, and it most definitely is against company policy for us to date. Problem #2 is that I don't actually have confirmation he feels at all the same way. Everything in every 'is he into you' guide screams yes, but he's kind of socially awkward (another lovely trait we have in common) and absolutely won't make a move no matter what the situation. We flirt regularly, but it's casual, text 100+ times a day, and generally have that kind of high school pre-relationship relationship we all remember (not so fondly). I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. I know he isn't the type of guy to run to HR if I simply tell him I have a crush on him. The real fear there is screwing up the friendship we've begun to build. I like this guy enough to not want to lose him from my life, in any capacity. If he doesn't reciprocate, I don't want to make things weird between us. I feel like through my inaction though I have no chance of seeing if this could be a real thing. He knows I just went through a bad breakup, and part of me feels like he's just being super respectful by not pushing, but another part of me thinks he doesn't see us as anything but platonic and is awkward enough to not really get the signals he's sending. Halp me internet. What am I supposed to do?
Ask the community | someone else, crush
“I'm falling in love with my brother-in-law”
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 read a similar post to this tonight so it felt good to see other women are in the same position as me. I just feel like I need advice. I literally have no one to talk about this because, well, we all know how sick and wrong this is. Before I started to have 'feelings' for my brother-in-law he was just my obnoxious brother-in-law. The one with the crazy annoying girlfriend who wanted to wear a white dress to my wedding. My husband and I began dating two years before they did. We went to the same high school for a year and thats when i was close to my brother in law. It was always fun and giggles, just us three. My husband has always been close and over protective of him. After we left high school he started dating this girl and since i didnt see him as much we drifted apart. A year after our graduation my husband proposed and my brother in law was still dating this girl so i thought hey! Im gunna get to know her and make her feel welcome into the family. That turned pretty ugly so soon. The closer i got to her i noticed her imitating my syle. It didnt bother me at first, i actually felt cool, hey she likes my style! But then her certain comments started tugging at me like oh you only did this because i did it or because i like it. And well that was soo not the case. I ignored it until the day she told she had bought her dress for my wedding. She sent me pictures and oh my god. It looked like a wedding dress. Naturally a bride-zilla would go off and say uhm hello no you dumb bitch its white wtf. But she got defensive said it was beige made a scene with the whole family and my bil hated me for almost 2 years. He wouldnt say hi to me at family events he would ignore me and actually he was just so rude to me all the time. I kinda grew a huge annoyance with them. I couldnt stand to look at them ever because as time kept going they just kept wanting to do everything my husband and i did and they loved to brag more about it on social media. After three years i was finally able to ignore them more easily and he actually had apologized in that time frame so hanging around them was alot easier. She no longer bothered me as much and still til this day doesnt bother me how much she tries to do everything like i do because believe me she does. I didnt hate my brother in law anymore and we got along the normal. Not too much like before but nothing at all compared to hate we kind of both felt. Just until recently we had a family trip.. its 4 brothers young enough for the four of them to hang out, ( my husband is the third of them so yes im talking about the younger brother) and the two older wives have became my bestests friends so this is why i cant tell them of all this agony i feel. Anyway, we went to vegas to celebrate my husband and the girlfriends bday. They land only two days apart. It was a three day trip and everything was fine, we drank we laughed we all seemed to get closer as a family. I didnt realize how happy it had made me to be close to my brother in law again until our last day of the trip. We spontainsly decided to go to universal studios and it was so much fun! Until the very end. My husband and my other brother in laws were at customer service trying to get some annual passes something like that and the rest of the girls were tired. I wanted to go to the harry potter shop and look around so i left by myself while they waited. When i was on my way back my brother in law was walking towards me alone and i didnt think too much of it so i asked him if he was going to buy something. He said no, he said he only came to see me. And of course i wasnt taking it seriously i thought he was making fun of me but at the moment he gave me a look he had never given me before so i kinda couldnt speak and just stood there stupid and by the time i arranged what had just happened we were too close to everyone to hear so nothing happened after that. The whole ride home i couldnt stop thinking about it. About why he said that he just wanted to see me. He had seen me all trip. I didnt understand. I wanted to shake it off of my head and i was able to forget for the next few weeks. But after that i kept seeing him and the he looked at me just wasnt the same anymore. Or maybe it was me feeling those things that made me think differently but i cant breathe when he looks at me that way and i always panic and look away. To make things worse, two weeks later we found out he had been having an affair with his girlfriends friend for seven months. And i forgot to mention they were already engaged in that seven month period. The girlfriend of course didnt cancel the wedding and he was forgiven. You would've thought if the idea of him being my brother in law would've grossed me out, this would've just ended it all for me! But nope. Here i am still with these terrible feelings. Weve never touched more than a quick hello hug and kiss on the cheek and i crave his warmth so much. He never said anything else but that comment at universal studios again to me and i still miss talking to him. Were never alone anywhere and i always make up possiblities to try and make it possible but it never happens or i chicken out. I wish i didnt felt this way because i know that i could never forgive something like what he did. And my husband is so great. He is so close to his little brother too. But i just cant ever stop thinking if he feels the same way. Just to talk to him. To kiss him and tell him how i feel but i know that if i do ill wreck everything. Specially after what he did. I dont even know for certain if he feels this way or if he doesnt but its his gaze that keeps my hope alive but kills me slowly as well. Every song reminds me of him every love movie and i dont know why. The more i know i cant have him makes me want him even more and it kills me knowing how wrong it is. I want to forget him but hes so close with my husband and the whole family is super close its extremely hard to not think about him. What more could i do?
Ask the community | someone else, crush
“We're on a break but she's dating”
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 gf took a break from me (via text) and she told she doesn't know what will happen! Long story short, I live in Berlin and she lives in Tel Aviv and she is older than me by 4 years (I'm 22) and we are dating for a year and a half (and lived together in my flat for 4 months+many visits), and this “break” is going since 2 weeks, i was very hurt when she took this decision and cutted any contact. She started texting and calling after few days - I didn't answer. After a week she sent me a recorded message, crying that she is going through a hard time and she wants to talk and blablabla, since then we talk almost everyday (fucked up right?), and today i just asked her: OK, so we are in this break already 2 weeks and that i want her to make it clear for me, if she allows her self to date other guys in the meanwhile, she told me "I don't know, I have to think about it" and she told me that she disagree with me that its cheating if she do date (maybe she already did) other guys during the "break", and i told her that she is making me lose my trust in her saying that stuff, and gave her "deadline", to tell me until tomorrow, what is her clear position, and I clarified to her to consider it breakup if she do want to date other guys during the break. So guys, whats your thoughts? (i never dealt with such situation). P.S. I got many signs also that she is narcissistic.
User article | communication, long distance
Children’s loyalty issues after separation
Children face difficult loyalty conflicts when forced to choose between their parents. If being close to one parent means being disloyal to the other, children can feel stuck in the middle. Trying to choose between two parents they love can feel like an impossible situation. It’s often hard for parents to spot loyalty conflicts. Most parents just want to do what’s in the child’s best interests, but their perceptions of this can be clouded by feelings about the other parent. As a result, loyalty conflicts are often caused by unconscious behaviour and subtle messages from parents, and are usually unintended.  How to recognise loyalty conflicts If your child is frequently upset at handovers, seems unwilling to visit the other parent, or even refuses to go, they may be experiencing divided loyalties. Your child’s feelings are heavily influenced by your relationship with your ex-partner. This relationship is likely to be complicated, especially in the early days when you are still working things out. As co-parents, it’s important for you and your ex to have an ongoing relationship. You may need to address some of the following issues: Competition. Your children matter more to you than anything else in the world, and it can feel wonderful to know how much you mean to them. You may instinctively want to try and prove that you’re a better parent than your ex, but this can be confusing and worrying for your children. Remember that it’s best for the children when both of you are on top of your parenting game. Insecurity. If you are already the children’s main carer, separation can feel like a challenge to your role. You might feel like you have more of a right than the other parent to raise your children. It might even feel like your ex is suddenly putting effort into spending time with the children when they didn’t before – this can feel particularly threatening. Anger. It’s common to feel angry during and after a separation and there may be a part of you that wants to punish your ex. However reasonable this feels, it’s essential for your children’s happiness that you leave them out of your disputes. Don’t use your children as bargaining chips, and don’t expecting them to share your anger. Control. You will have to relinquish some control when your children spend time with their other parent. This might make you anxious, but it’s best for the children if you avoid criticising the other parent’s way of doing things. Children are generally good at adapting to different house rules and parenting styles but it can be difficult for them if their parents try to undermine each other. If you there are no immediately obvious reasons why your child is experiencing difficulties, it’s possible there’s a loyalty conflict. Give your children permission to be as close to the other parent as they are to you. Watch out for the hidden messages that children pick up on, and make sure you and your ex are doing as much as possible to make sure your children are comfortable and happy in both homes. Separated partners tend to reassess each other in the light of their relationship breakdown. If your ex has hurt you and disappointed you, you may feel that they’re untrustworthy, selfish, uncaring, irresponsible, and whatever else comes to mind. But it is important to remember that this assessment is about your ex as a partner, and not as a parent. Hard as it may be, try to focus on their good points as a parent. Remember that this is how your children see them, and try to separate your feelings from your children’s. Talking this through with a friend or a counsellor could help you to find new ways of adapting to being a single parent. If you and your ex are struggling to agree the arrangements for your children, a family mediator can support you in deciding what’s best for them.
Article | children, parenting apart
5 min read
Jealousy and affairs
Most of us experience feelings of jealousy in our relationship from time to time. Sometimes, it’s just a fleeting feeling that’s easy enough to let go of; other times, jealousy can take hold, settle in, and turn to anxiety. Mild feelings of jealousy can be useful. A little bit of jealousy might remind you not to take your partner for granted – but when jealousy won’t let go, it can become extreme or obsessive. Jealousy, left unchecked, can ruin a relationship. Where does jealousy come from? Often, it's linked to something in your past which has left you with a sense of insecurity. If you're insecure in your relationship and very dependent on your partner, then you may have more triggers and be more likely to become jealous. You may find it helpful to explore where your feelings of insecurity come from. If it’s something you’re able to identify, try to accept and own it. Have an honest conversation with your partner about your insecurities, and explain that you’re trying to work through them. Affairs People have affairs for a variety of reasons. It isn’t always about sex, but an affair is usually a sign that something in the relationship is not right. An affair is a breach of trust between partners. Trust is essential in any relationship, and it's often taken for granted. Finding out that your partner has had an affair can be a huge shock. If your partner has had an affair, you may feel insecure and jealous for a long time. You may choose to end the relationship but if you and your partner both want to try and repair the damage, it’s likely to take some time before you feel confident in your partner again. There’s no set time on how long it will take to rebuild your relationship, but it is possible to recover if you’re both willing to move on from the affair and work on the underlying issues. Many relationships do survive affairs and can sometimes end up being stronger over time. As time passes, trust can be restored and you may find yourself feeling more secure in your relationship. An affair will nearly always bring about a change in a relationship, but it doesn't always spell the end.
Article | jealousy, trust
3 min read
The Leaver and the Left
When you and your partner reach the decision to separate, you may both be in very different places, emotionally and psychologically. Although people go through similar stages of adjustment, couples often go through them at different times and with different degrees of intensity. Understanding how this affects you can help you to avoid some of the common misunderstandings that arise during this difficult stage. The Leaver The Leaver is the person who initiates the split. They are likely to have been unhappy in the relationship for a long time before the separation. During this time, the Leaver typically goes through stages of dissatisfaction, sadness and worry as they detach themselves emotionally from the relationship. By the time the split happens, the Leaver has already worked through much of the emotional loss of the relationship, and is able to move on from the breakup much more quickly than their partner. They may experience great guilt and sadness, but there will also be a degree of relief. Significantly, when the separation happens, the Leaver is several miles down the road of adjustment to this major change in their life. The Left The Left, on the other hand, may have had no idea that the relationship was in such trouble. They might accept that the relationship is not perfect but still feel that there is time to work on things, or that the relationship is just going through a difficult stage. The Left’s reaction may be shock, disbelief, and anger. They may still hold some hope for reconciliation. Their life has been turned upside down and the process of adjusting psychologically and emotionally to the separation is only just beginning. Significantly, they are at the start of a road that they did not choose to walk down. What this all means The Leaver, who is psychologically prepared to move on, may not understand why the Left is so emotional. They may be disappointed that their offer of friendship is being rejected. They may complain that their ex is not accepting the reality and getting on with things. They may become frustrated and impatient for decisions to start being made about the future. For the Left, however, this emotional stage can be far more intense and is likely to last longer. The Left may feel that their ex is cold and unfeeling and that their distress is not being acknowledged. They may have lots of questions to ask about why the relationship has ended which they are not getting answers to. Their feelings of rejection can be intensified if they sense that their ex wants to move on quickly. They may feel that they are being forced into thinking about issues that they are not yet ready to deal with. It’s too painful for them to move on, and they may need some time alone to adjust. Misunderstanding each other’s different emotional states can lead to communication problems, adding further complication to an already difficult situation. Whether you are the Leaver or the Left, give yourself the space you need to move on, and remember that your ex-partner is going through an experience very different to your own.
Article | breakups, big changes
4 min read
“Prevented from seeing my son”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I am a single dad who has an almost 6-month-old son. His mother and I are not in a relationship. My son was the unexpected result of a short casual affair. DNA proved that he is my son and I have been paying maintenance. I have also formed a relationship with him and love him very much. I have been seeing him several times a week without his mother and have also had him stay overnight once. His mother is a good mother to him but she has now decided to stop me seeing him and has said I have to apply legally to see him. There is no good reason for this. I am a good father, I do not drink, smoke or am abusive or violent. She has also said I will be able to see him only in a Supervised Contact Centre until he is 6 years old. Is this correct? I am sure she has stopped me seeing my son because she wanted to get back with me into a relationship which for various reasons I do not want. I do not have Parental Rights yet as the mother has refuse to sign the form giving me these rights. I now have to apply to the courts. I feel that for my son to have a Birth Certificate which says Father Unknown is unfair to him . I have booked a Mediation Appointment. Can anyone advise me on what visitation rights I may be able to have. My boy is missing out on a loving extended family situation.
Ask the community | contact
Deciding who will stay home with the baby
When your child is born, the decision around who will stay at home and who will return to work can be a tricky one. If an assumption has been made that you will be the one staying home on full-time caring duties – perhaps because of traditional roles, or because your partner has a higher paid job – it might not necessarily be what you had in mind. While it may make sense financially, and while you may want to support your partner’s career, it’s possible you’ll still have reservations about being a stay-at-home parent. Exploring the options It may be that the decision makes so much sense financially that you feel like you don’t have a choice. This could make you feel trapped or uncomfortable. If it has felt like a forced or assumed decision, try explaining to your partner how you feel. The first step is to open up a conversation, so you can explore different options rather than assuming you will be the one to stay at home. Using language like “I feel like” rather than “You make me feel”, can really help here. Draw up a few plans together to see how things might play out if your partner stays home and you return to work, or consider some compromises, like reducing your hours and sharing childcare. You may discover that your partner is more willing than you expected to look at the alternatives. Wanting to keep working If you love your job or are invested in building a career, it may be that finances aren’t the only consideration. Consider your partner’s point of view too if the situation is reversed. Find a calm moment where you can talk freely and establish an agreement to hear each other out properly. Put your child’s needs first and decide what is really going to be best. Once you and your partner agree on who is going to be the main carer, establish some ground rules about how it’s going to work. Talk about how the working parent would like to be involved too – video calls at lunch time, bedtime stories after work, weekend outings, or whatever works. A non-traditional upbringing The phrase ‘primary carer’ just means the parent who stays at home with the child or spends the most time with the child. Like many parents, you or your partner may feel that mums are better as primary carers and dads are better at providing, ie putting food on the table [1]: One survey revealed that the majority of parents (76% of mothers, 56% of fathers) say that the mother has primary responsibility for childcare at home [2]. This is a popular view, but it’s not necessarily true. Traditions are already changing – as many as one in five dads are insole charge of childcare at some point during their week and dads represent one in ten of all parents who stay at home to care for their children full time [3]. Many dads, including those who have a primary caring role, still feel the weight of society’s pressure to conform to a traditional role of breadwinner [4], but studies have shown that fathers can be just as good as mothers in giving care and responding to their children’s needs [5]. There is no evidence to suggest that children will have a better start in life with a more traditional setup [6]. Whichever of you is going to be the primary carer may need some support and encouragement. Nobody is a perfect parent right away but talking things through can help provide a reassuring confidence boost. After all, whatever the setup, you’re both learning together.   References [1] Jordan (2009) [2] EHRC, (2009) [3] Lammy, (2013) [4] Doucet & Lee, (2014) [5] Kovner Kline & Wilcox, (2014) [6] Cabrera, et al., (2007)
Article | parenting, work
“Saving my marriage”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   My husband of 18 years has threatened separation/divorce because he feels we argue too much. While I don't agree with “too much” I feel what we argue about is stupid. We have 3 beautiful boys and we love each other deeply, have a connection and we are best friends. However, as of late our arguments have gotten too much. It's the same thing over and over again. He has turned off google maps on his phone and when I asked him about it he says it feels like he's on a leash if I know where he is at all times. Thing is... where could he be if he's at work all day? Sometimes he leaves for lunch just to get out for fresh air, go to the store or whatnot. No big deal. I am only left to wonder if he wants to do something he shouldn't so I won't find out. The only reason I want the maps on is for peace of mind if he suddenly cannot contact me/broke down and etc... I only use it for those reasons and nothing else. He has said he is not comfortable with me knowing where he is when I already know where he is--work, store and whatnot. So what's the big deal? I have peace of mind knowing he can see my maps when I am out and about with the kids or alone at night as I sometimes have to do shopping when he gets home from work. If he has nothing to hide he should not see an issue with this but he does. I have asked him what's the real reason you don't want me to see your maps and he says he doesn't know. As I stated we both love each other very much and can see each other spending the rest of our lives together and growing old. We are happy except for when we argue but cannot get past this and it would be a ridiculous reason to divorce!
Ask the community | communication, arguments
Sex during pregnancy
During your pregnancy, sex can become a complicated issue. Your desire can decrease, your discomfort can increase, and you might just lose interest altogether. Or, you might still be in the mood but find that your partner is backing off! All of this is perfectly normal and very common. Sexual enjoyment tends to decline as pregnancy goes on. Around 22-50% of pregnant women find intercourse painful and many women find it difficult to orgasm. It’s normal for your libido to decline too, largely to the change in hormones, and feeling sick, tired and physically uncomfortable [1]. And, as your body changes, you might just feel less sexy. This is particularly likely during the later stages of pregnancy, when you’re all achy and bloated. About a quarter to a half of pregnant women feel less attractive than before, and only 12% feel more attractive [1]. Giving it a go If you do feel up to having sex, there’s no reason you shouldn’t give it a go. For the majority of healthy pregnant women and their partners, sex is perfectly safe, even in the last few weeks before you give birth [1]. If you’re not sure whether it’s OK, seek advice from your doctor or midwife but, if you do want to have a go, give yourself time to be in the mood, and accept that it might take longer than usual. It’s possible that your partner will be reluctant, which can be frustrating. However, don’t assume that it’s from a lack of desire, or a loss of sexual attraction. One possible reason for hesitancy is a fear of harming the baby, which inhibits at least a quarter of male partners, and a quarter to half of expectant mothers [1]. Talk to your partner. Have an open and honest conversation about how you both feel right now. If your partner admits that they’re feeling funny about sex, try not to get annoyed or take it personally – you won’t be pregnant forever! If you’re feeling a bit insecure, make it clear that you are learning to adjust to your changing body and that, even if sex is off the table, a little TLC would be appreciated. Finding other ways to feel close If you really don’t want to have sex, don’t force yourself. Be honest with your partner, offer reassurance that it’s not a personal rejection, and ask for the support you need. It might be helpful to discuss this article, and reassure yourselves that these are common adjustments that couples face during pregnancy. If you’re feeling icky and your partner tries to reassure you that you look beautiful, accept the compliment and choose to believe them. Lots of people find their partners especially attractive when they’re carrying their child. Finding other ways of being intimate that aren’t sexual – like hugging, kissing, and massage – can help you bond when sex isn’t available. Just spending quality time together can help you maintain a sense of closeness. And remember that you won’t feel like this forever. Though there will be new challenges for your sex life when your baby comes along, the physical changes you’re experiencing during pregnancy should return to normal about three months after the birth. Some women even experience more intense orgasms than they did before [1].   References [1] Von Sydow, K. (2000). Sexuality during pregnancy and after childbirth: A meta-analysis of 59 studies. Reproductive Health Matters, 8 (15), 183. doi:10.1016/s0968-8080(00)90068-5
Article | pregnancy, parenting together
4 min read
Sex after giving birth
If you weren’t having much sex during your pregnancy, you may be looking forward to getting things back on track. But, for many couples, it can take a while to get things back to normal after the birth. Your body might take some time to return to a state where sex feels OK. This is a common experience for many women after giving birth: Following birth only 10-15% of new parents don’t experience any problems at all. Mothers and fathers commonly feel worried about resuming having sex [1]. 13 months after the birth, 22% were still having problems sexually [2]. Try to accept that it’s normal to need time. Even when you’ve recovered physically, you might not feel in the mood, or you might be slow to be turned on. Give yourself a chance and don't pressure on yourself to bounce back, even if your partner is keen to be intimate. Remember that there are other ways to be sexual besides penetrative sex and, if those are still off the table, focus on improving the quality of your time together, giving each other lots of cuddles and affection, or just having meaningful conversations. Feeling guilty about not feeling sexy   Despite the understanding that your body is still going through a lot, you may still feel guilty for not being in the mood or not feeling able to satisfy your partner. Even if your partner isn’t expressing any disappointment over the lack of sex or changes in your sex life, it’s common to be worried about how things might be perceived from the other end. One study of women who had recently had children showed that: 57%... were worried about the sexual satisfaction of their spouse following the birth of their child [2]. If you’re carrying guilt around with you, it might be a good idea to talk this over with your partner and remind yourselves that you’re not alone – only 14% of women and 12% of men report having no sexual problems after giving birth [2].   If you’re not up for having sex, let your partner know that you still desire him, but that you just need a bit more time. It may be difficult for your partner to understand the effects that such drastic body changes can have on your confidence. Taking the time and effort to explain, can help put your partner in a better position to show sensitivity and help build up your confidence. Be descriptive of your own feelings, and ask him to be mindful of them.  It will probably help to have the conversation with your partner beforehand. Explain why you don’t want sex at the moment, and what you can offer at this time. Sex may not be as high on your partner’s priority list as you think, but asking about it can be a great opener to discussing how you’re feeling and what you’re worried about. The conversation may even help put you at ease. If physical intimacy is your partner’s preferred way to express love, it doesn’t necessarily have to mean sex. People who express love physically while still appreciate a stroke of the hair as you walk past, or a surprise cuddle while they are doing the washing up. Hugs, snuggles on the bed, hand-holding, massages – these will all help a physical person feel loved at a time when you don’t feel up to having sex.   References [1] Sagiv-Reiss, D.M., Birnbaum, G.E. & Safir, M.P (2012). Changes in Sexual Experiences and Relationship Quality During Pregnancy. Archives of Sexual Behavior. October 2012, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 1241–1251 [2] Von Sydow, K. (2000). Sexuality during pregnancy and after childbirth: A meta-analysis of 59 studies. Reproductive Health Matters, 8(15), 183. doi:10.1016/s0968-8080(00)90068-5
Article | sex, parenting together
4 min read
Sex with a pregnant partner
Since finding out she was pregnant, your partner might have been reacting to you differently during sex, or avoiding intimacy altogether. It might seem like she’s aroused less often or less attracted to you. Aside from simply missing something that you enjoy, sex an important way to feel closer to your partner. Without it, you may worry that you will struggle to stay close. While it might feel like it, a lack of sex during pregnancy is not a personal rejection. A quarter of new dads say they’re worried that their partner may no longer be interested in having sex [1] but it’s important to recognise that a decrease in sex during pregnancy is normal, and not your fault. Less sex during pregnancy is normal Your partner may be experiencing a decline in libido. This is very common during a time of changing hormones and physical discomfort like backache and water retention. Bear in mind that 22-50% of pregnant women experience painful intercourse, and reaching orgasm becomes progressively more difficult as pregnancy goes on [b]. Sex may have become a stressful experience for your partner. On top of this, about a quarter to a half of pregnant women feel less attractive during pregnancy, and only 12% feel more attractive [2], so your partner may just not be feeling as physically confident as she’d like to. Be open and honest with your partner. Talk about your concerns and tell her that you want to be supportive. If she is worried about her changing body, you can reassure her that you still find her desirable, but the most important thing is to respect her needs and desires. If she is experiencing a loss of libido, remember that this has nothing to do with you as a sexual partner. It might be helpful to discuss this article with her – talk about how these are common changes that couples face all the time during pregnancy. Can sex during pregnancy harm your baby? Up to half of women and at least a quarter of men worry that having sex during pregnancy will harm the baby in some way [2]. From a medical point of view, there is no reason to ‘forbid’ sex for the majority of healthy pregnant women and their partners, even in the last weeks before the birth [2]. If you’re not sure whether you fit into this category, seek advice from your doctor or midwife. Remember also that anxiety around sex isn’t always rational, and your partner may find it difficult to shake the fear. If that’s the case, try other ways of being intimate. You may find that other kinds of sexual activity that don’t involve vaginal penetration are a bit easier but, if not, things like hugging, kissing or massage can all help you feel closer to each other. Looking to the future Don’t expect things to pick back up again too soon after the birth. Your partner will need time to recover, and you might soon sense another obstacle to your sex life – fatigue. Irregular sleeping patterns, feeding schedules, nappy changes, and constant attention to the baby will probably continue to get in the way of your sex life. You might want to consider asking a family member or close friend to take care of the child for a while so you and your partner can spend some time together as a couple. If you’re used to having spontaneous sex, this might seem a little too regulated, but it might be a start. Finally, try to remind yourself that it’s not forever. As your child settles into more regular patterns of sleep, you’ll begin to find that there are more chances to be intimate without being interrupted by a crying baby.   References [1] Houlston, C., Coleman, L. Milford, L., Platts, N., Mansfield, P. (2013). Sleep, sex and sacrifice: The transition to parenthood, a testing time for relationships? OnePlusOne. Retrieved from: http://www.oneplusone.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Sleep-Sex-and-Sacrifice-OPO-report-FINAL-embargoed-until-29-May-2013.pdf [2] Von Sydow, K. (2000). Sexuality during pregnancy and after childbirth: A meta-analysis of 59 studies. Reproductive Health Matters, 8(15), 183. doi:10.1016/s0968-8080(00)90068-5
Article | pregnancy, parenting together
5 min read
“My man has four kids and I do everything”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   For the past 12 months I have looked after my partner 100% as well as his kids. I do it all! He has paid for a few holidays for me, bought me some clothes and then tells me "well my ex gf paid for her own trips" I said yes, but she also hated your kids... He has told me plenty of times a nanny would be cheaper. He says I am still not enough in this relationship as he expects me to dedicate 100% of my time and I'm not allow to start my own business as it means I am working outside this family... He says that his income comes in and he is either working to pay for this family OR spending time with me and the kids... He thinks that the 5 schools days they are not home I am not allowed to spend on my business. He also says the fact I am broke is my own problem... I have now (i dont know why I didn't check this earlier) found out that nannies doing my work in this area WITHOUT cooking and cleaning for the man get $400+ board+food .... It works out that he has given me $200 per week and put me down for being broke and that he pays for me for everything. So I told him today I want the money per week as a nanny and he said I am being ridiculous, that I am his girlfriend and should ask for money. So I just sent him the following and I am waiting for his reply. Am I wrong? 1. “all of me, all of you” - Provide me €300 per week I will continue as I have been and provide €20,000 in a bank account in case we break up. My hours extra outside current home duties will be discussed and what my time spent on can be agreed on so you feel “connected”. If we become engaged and another contract is agree then that €20,000 goes back to joint account. If I start making an income in the outside work we agree on then the €300 stops. And we can discuss the amount of my income I put back into the family. If we have a child this amount becomes a new discussion. 2. Provide me with €400pw and I continue doing exactly as I have. I currently dedicate 4 days to this family and my extra days can be doing what I want without judgment from you. 3. We sort out my financial independence of €9000 based on the time I have already dedicated into this family, I will move out and my future financial situation is my own issue. Then we can the start dating and we can meet for dinners when you don't have the kids, and I will physically pay my half of holidays with my own money. I can come and hang out with the kids and sometimes spend the night, and as your girlfriend I can help you out with the kids for pickups and if you travel. I will be there for the kids in the same loving way except we don't need to be worried about who thinks they do more. At that stage any help we provide each other will be fair and done out of love. 4. I can leave now, we can clear this up with €9000 for my time into this family that I dedicated. If you choose this I will walk away and make no dramas and we just end things nicely.
Ask the community | stepfamily, arguments, finance
“Moving on after a breakup”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I met someone who made me feel so loved and special when they met me. At that time, I was so confident and full of happy prospects in my life. They came into my life and became so attached to me. It was the first time that I received so much affection and attention from someone, and I easily reciprocated. I cared, went out of my way, and gave them my all. Two years later, it seems I have given too much that I no longer know myself. My priorities are always second to theirs. I could always wait for them even when they never waited for me. Despite taking me for granted and making me feel so isolated, I always go back to give and forgive them even more. How did I end up to be the one who is more attached? This person only thinks of me when they are lonely. Our last conversation ended when I told them that they had completely forgotten me, and I will forget them too from now on. They responded ‘ok’ and left. I regret expressing my foolishness, as if it mattered whether they would approve my decision or not. To be honest, it doesn’t hurt me that they left as much as they coldly obliged to it. Were they just waiting for this moment? Was I such a horrible person to be with? I can barely imagine the confident and happy person that I was before I met them. I feel so caved in, antisocial and unconfident in my own shoes, as if I have failed so much. My abilities to work or operate other aspects in life has also decreased drastically. I just needed to express that here, in case someone could share their wisdom with me. Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
Ask the community | ex-partner
“My husband doesn't trust me”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   So my husband and I have been together for 13 years now. We have two beautiful girls (age 6, 7). We’ve had our ups and downs, and managed through tough times. However I’m starting to think more and more I’m just living a life that he expects me to live. Since the time we’ve been together I’ve made tons of compromises to help him with his mistrust and jealosy: I’ve stopped using make up because he said guys keep staring at you, I’ve stopped to dress how I want and every time asked for his approval on clothes, I communicated with him every minute of the day where I was, etc... So now 13 years later, I’m still doing it. With me being a mom, trying to please my husbands jealosy, I’ve lost myself and exhausted. So today I feel like it is s last Dora, I returned from my business trip after not being home 4 days, he was not happy that I went of course. Besides him being mean to me almost every time I called to speak with kids he texted after I let him know I’m driving back from the airport, he said “Just let me know when you are five minutes out, so I can leave the house. I cannot see you now and not be mad at you for going on the trip”. He said “Return to your kids and take care of them”. I do not choose to go on the trip, it is my job.
Ask the community | trust
Money troubles while pregnant
When you and your partner are expecting a baby, the pressure you’re under can cause regular issues and arguments to be amplified. Arguments about money are particularly common during pregnancy, partly because of changes to working arrangements, and partly because of the extra expense of having a baby. A stressful time of life Many couples (around 40-67%) experience a drop in relationship quality, usually from the start of pregnancy until the child is around 15 months old. Everyone is different, but that’s generally when things start to feel a bit better again. Set some ground rules about what you will do next time an argument breaks out. You may want to decide to take a break from the conversation and return to it when you’re both feeling calmer. Try saying something like, “Can we talk about this again once we’ve calmed down a bit?” If you’re really struggling to reach compromises, our online course “How to argue better” might help. Try to avoid having these discussions in public places where the money pressures feel prevalent, like in the supermarket, or the bank. It’s usually much easier to resolve things privately in your own home. Making a budget You may both have different ideas about spending and saving. A budget can be very helpful in bringing you together to plan for the day to day. Budgets are especially useful if you intend to reduce your working hours.  You may also find that existing money problems that you’ve managed to keep on the back burner are suddenly coming into focus. Whatever stage you’re at, it’s never too late to start planning. If you’re not sure how to get started with a budget, you can find a free planner and some online guides through the Money Advice Service. Include work and childcare in your discussions and think about any new expenses. If you’ve never been parents before, you may want to sit down with some friends who’ve recently had babies and ask them to list all the things you’ll need to buy. Your midwife can help with that too. Find out your entitlements You may not know what benefits or state-funded support you’re entitled to. Benefits and financial support can be tricky because they are liable to change over time and will depend on your circumstances. Check out Citizens Advice and the Money Advice Service, who will be able to talk through your budget and help you learn what you are entitled to. You may be entitled to grants such as Healthy Start or the Sure Start Maternity Grant to help cover the basics and support you with essential one-off costs, or longer-term support like tax credits towards childcare costs, and Child Benefit. You can find out what you are entitled to using a free online benefits calculator, such as entitledto or Turn2Us. Finally, be honest with yourselves and kind to each other and you’ll significantly improve the chances of talking about money without an argument.
Article | pregnancy, finance
4 min read
Adjusting to an unplanned pregnancy
Couples that plan for pregnancy are often mentally and emotionally prepared for it when it happens. If you weren’t trying for a baby, you’ll have to adjust much quicker to this life-changing news. Feeling overwhelmed It may be a while before you can take it all in. When you’re overwhelmed by news that shocks you or changes your outlook on the world, it can feel like your thoughts and feelings are out of control. Before you start considering your options, take some time to think through how you feel. Try not to get too caught up with how you’re supposed to feel. Just be honest with yourself and, when you’re ready, regroup with your partner to talk it through. Try to cast off any guilt and try not to judge each other. This conversation is likely to be emotionally charged, so be gentle and sensitive. Avoid making absolute statements like, “This is never going to work” and, if things get heated, take a break from the conversation and return after you’ve both calmed down. Take the time and effort to listen to your partner’s point of view. Even if you disagree, it’s important that you are both heard and understood. When it feels too soon in your relationship Research has shown that couples deal with challenges better when they’ve had time to bond as a couple and build up a sense of togetherness. If your relationship is still new, you may not feel like you have that connection yet [1]. Having a baby together is a big commitment, and both of you will want to feel confident that your relationship is strong enough to take it on. Talk with your partner about the kind of relationship you both want for the future. Having these conversations can help build a sense of togetherness, and you might discover that your relationship has compatibility and long-term potential. Feeling unready to be a parent You may not feel ready because of practical things like lifestyle changes or financial security. Or the reason could be more deep-rooted. If, for example, your relationship with your own parents was a struggle, then you may be worried about repeating that relationship with your own child. Sit down with your partner and unpick what could be influencing how you feel. Explain that you’re still trying to understand your own reactions and feelings, and that you’re just looking for support to explore things. Lots of mums and dads will tell you that the feeling of being ‘ready’ never really kicks in. Feeling this way just means you’re taking it seriously and want to get it right. Remember that your partner is there to support you in your role as a parent – you’re not expected to figure everything out by yourself. You can help each other to learn how to be parents. Remember that while you are both adjusting to your new roles, you are still two individuals in a relationship together. Make a conscious effort to talk about things other than the pregnancy. Taking time for yourself to keep in touch with friends and maintain hobbies can help you feel like more than just a parent.   References [1] Reynolds, J. (2008). Supporting Couple Relationships: A Sourcebook for Practitioners. OnePlusOne http://www.oneplusone.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Supporting-Couple-Relationships-Sourcebook-For-Practitioners.pdf
Article | pregnancy, stress
4 min read
The pressure of becoming a father
If your partner has high expectations of you as a new father, it can put a lot of pressure on your journey into parenthood. High expectations Sometimes people expect their partners to make them happy. This is a lot of responsibility for one person, and it can become a heavy burden. If you’ve experienced that kind of pressure from your partner, you might also have experienced a sense of failure when they become disappointed or unhappy. So, when you consider the lifelong journey of parenthood, you may worry that expectations of being the perfect father and the perfect partner are just too heavy to bear. The truth is that you alone can’t make your partner happy. As each of you invests love and effort into the relationship, you can certainly contribute to each other’s happiness but, ultimately, each person is responsible for managing their own happiness. It might be helpful to talk this through with your partner and explain that you feel this sense of pressure and expectation. Open your sentences with, “I feel” rather than, “You make me feel”. Try to refrain from criticising or attacking, and just talk about what it feels like for you. Be ready to listen to your partner’s responses. You may learn something about the thoughts and feelings that have led to these expectations in the first place. Confidence Sometimes, high expectations come from within. It may be that you’re just lacking confidence in yourself. You’re not alone – evidence has shown that lots of new fathers worry about being able to take good enough care of a newborn, or doubt their ability to keep a child safe [1]. The concerns voiced by the greatest number of fathers related to his ability to "take good enough care" of his child (61%) and his ability to "keep your kids safe" (52%). Or, perhaps you worry that you’ve not experienced the best examples of parenthood from your own family and are worried about repeating the same mistakes. Discuss your fears with your partner, or with a close friend or family member that you can trust to reassure you. Taking postnatal classes with your partner can really help you prepare yourselves for the initial demands of parenting. They might help you to start thinking about fatherhood with less hesitation or trepidation. Ask your GP or local children’s centre about parenting classes near you. Always remember that you and your partner are parenting together – you’re allowed to ask for whatever support you need. Feeling heard You may feel you don’t have the opportunity to talk about your own expectations and thoughts for the future. Conversations with your partner might have felt one-sided, leaving you feeling like your own thoughts and emotions matter less. Choose a quiet time to sit down with your partner and explain that you’re not feeling heard. Try to avoid pointing the finger or blaming your partner; just talk about how you feel. Bring notes if it helps. Discuss your expectations of your fatherhood role and see how they compare to your partner’s. Where there are differences, discuss ways you might be able to compromise. This may need to develop over a series of conversations, so keep working at it.   References [1] Litton Fox, G., Bruce, C. and Combs-Orme, T. (2000) Parenting Expectations and Concerns of Fathers and Mothers of Newborn Infants. Family Relations, 49(2), 123–31 (P.126).
Article | fathers, stress
4 min read
Eight steps to being a good birthing partner
The birth of a child is a huge moment for you as a family, and it’s understandable that you’d want to do all the right things to support your partner. If you’re feeling nervous or unsure about your partner going into labour, these eight steps may help you feel more confident about how to offer the right support. Have discussions with your partner about where she’d like to give birth. Does she want to give birth at home, or in a hospital? Does she want a water birth? Talk about the kind of birth she wants more generally. Find out whether she wants an epidural during labour, or if she is interested in hypnobirthing. It’s useful to understand your partner’s feelings on this so you can help support her when the time comes. Try not to push your own feelings on her, and keep firmly in mind what kind of experience she is hoping to have. Focus on the experience your partner is going to have, and try to avoid telling stories of other people’s birthing experiences. Ask beforehand what kind of support and encouragement your partner is going to want from you during the labour. But be prepared that this may all go out the window when the time comes.   Have a supply of food and drink to hand for both of you. Bring a toothbrush and a fresh set of clothes. She’ll be really grateful for this after the birth. Ask if there’s anything else she might want – things like lip balm and a fan or cooling spray can often be welcome during labour. During labour, ask your partner, “What would you like me to do?” Don’t assume she will just tell you. If you have any other questions, worries or concerns about the birth, don’t hold back from talking to your partner about it. You can also talk to your midwife, who may be able to reassure you that you’re on the right track. It’s quite common for you to feel a bit anxious, but there’s plenty you can do to help and support. Remember that the little things can go a long way.
Article | birth, labour
2 min read
When grandparents don’t approve
The birth of a baby usually brings joy to the whole family. But, when the grandparents don’t approve, it can create tension for all of you. It’s important to try and resolve this, as grandparents’ input into your child’s life can  be quite beneficial. Grandparents pass on family heritage and traditions, promote skill development, and serve as a source of friendship and support [1]. Whether the problem is with your own parents or your partner’s parents, leaving it unresolved could mean your family misses out on love and support. It can also cause extra strain on your relationship as a couple. Why grandparents disapprove If your parents disapprove of your partner (or if your in-laws disapprove of you), they may be struggling to adjust to the fact that you have just made a very strong form of commitment in starting a family. If they disapprove of the relationship, they may have chosen your commitment to parenthood as an opportunity to express it. Or, sometimes, new grandparents can be pushy, controlling or critical without even knowing it. They might think they’re being supportive or helpful. Facing resistance from your own family can be frustrating – exasperating, even. If either of your parents have caused arguments between you and your partner in the past, you might fear more of the same, but there is hope. Research shows that parents’ initial disapproval over their children’s pursuit of parenthood is often short-lived. The following statement comes from a study on same-sex couples: For many parents that experienced initial disapproval from their families about pursuing parenthood, often times this reaction “softened” with time [2]. Helping your parents accept your family Whether the issue sits with your partner’s parents or your own, resolving the thing and moving forward requires both you and your partner to work together and agree on your approach. Having the conversation together as a couple shows that you’re united. But it might be better if you each take the lead with your own parents. As a couple, decide exactly how much involvement you want your parents to have. Look for compromises and try not to make anything feel like a personal attack on either of your parents. When talking about loved ones (even if they’re being annoying), it’s natural to want to defend them. Start by reminding your parents how much you value them and that you’re looking forward to their involvement with your baby. Talk with them about how you’d like them to be involved, rather than about what you expect from them. Tell them about the help you would appreciate, and the help that won’t be necessary. Remember to say, “We have decided” rather than, “I think”. This will reinforce that you’re a team and that you’ve thought things through properly.  Once you’ve agreed your boundaries, it will become much easier to see when one of your parents has overstepped the mark, and you’ll be able to agree on an appropriate response together. Even if your parents are applying pressure unintentionally, family conflicts and fallouts can disturb the peace in your relationship. Stay open and honest with your partner throughout, so that when you come to face external difficulties from others, you can work together to deal with it.   References [1] Schmeeckle, M., & Sprecher, S. (2004). Extended family and social networks. Handbook of family communication, 349-375. [2] Koller, J. M. (2008). A study on gay and lesbian intergenerational relationships: a test of the solidarity model. ProQuest.
Article | grandparents
5 min read
Finding out you are having a disabled child
If you’ve been planning for a baby, you may have a picture in your mind of what your family life will be like. When the doctor tells you that your child might have a disability, this picture will have to adjust very quickly. This can be a truly difficult time for new parents. Dealing with the change in expectations can be stressful for you both, triggering emotional responses at an already overwhelming time. If the disappointment is prolonged, it can create a negative atmosphere and tarnish an experience which you hoped would be exciting.    Why might this be happening? We have no frame of reference You might be struggling to deal with your expectations simply because you don’t know what to expect. You may not know any other parents who have a disabled child, or you may not know anyone with a disability. As a result, you could feel like you have no one to talk to or get advice from. This can leave you feeling isolated. However, while you may not know anyone in your current network of friends and family, there are thousands of other parents in similar situations to yours. Ask your GP to refer you to a local support group for parents of disabled children, or visit a support site like Contact. Talking to other parents can help you get a better understanding of how raising a child with additional needs might impact your couple relationship and other areas of your life. We feel helpless One of the overriding feelings in this situation is powerlessness, particularly during pregnancy. Sometimes there’s little or nothing you can really do to help your child. This feeling can be quite overwhelming, and although the desire to help comes from a good place, it can sometimes lead parents to withdraw. The difficulty here is recognising what you can control, and accepting what you can’t. Understanding this might help to limit your frustrations and allow you to focus on what you can actually do – for both your baby and your partner. If it helps you, write a list with two columns – one for what you can help with and one for what you can’t – and talk the list through with your partner. This can help you see where you might be putting too much pressure on yourselves, and focus more on what you might be able to accomplish. We have different ideas of what life will be like You may have accepted that your child will be born with additional needs, but perhaps your partner is still trying to come to terms with it. As a result, you may each have completely different expectations of how it will affect your lifestyles. If one of you is more positive than the other, or carries a different outlook, it could lead to arguments or create tension in your relationship.  To ease tension and reduce conflict, it’s important that you both talk about your expectations for the future are and discuss how you might come to a compromise. Make time to listen to and reassure each other. Taking the time to anticipate the challenges you will face, will make you more likely to have realistic expectations and more able to deal with difficult situations when they come up [1]. Coming to terms with reality It’s OK to grieve for the loss of the life you imagined. Talk to your partner, and offer support if they’re feeling the same way. Be prepared to go through a range of emotions and accept that you both may not be at your best for a while. Keep in mind that you are still becoming parents and try to focus on the joys that your child will bring. Support networks such as Contact can help put you in touch with other parents in similar situations who can share their positive parenting experiences with you.    References [1] Pancer, S. M., Pratt, M., Hunsberger, B. & Gallant, M. Thinking ahead: Complexity of expectations and the transition to parenthood. J. Pers.68, 253–279 (2000).
Article | disability
Couple time with a disabled child
As new parents, you probably know that you won’t have as much time together when the baby comes. But if you’ve been told that your baby might be born with a disability, it could mean you’ll spend even more time and energy caring for your baby and helping them overcome their early difficulties. Estimates suggest that more than half a million children in England alone have a mild to seriously disabling condition or chronic illness [1], so lots of parents across the country are also facing this extra strain. Why you might have less quality time If you’re expecting to be busy looking after your baby and catering to their needs, then you know you’re likely to have less quality time with your partner as a result. Consider the following and see if any of them apply to you: A large part of quality time is talking through the things that matter. In tough times, some people use busyness as a coping mechanism, and the conversation might feel just too difficult to have. Rather than facing the issue and discussing your fears and expectations with your partner, you might instead be busying yourself away with other tasks. There may be a string of healthcare appointments to attend, dealing with the pregnancy and the practicalities of your child’s condition. You may need to make preparations for the baby’s arrival, and spend a lot of time researching ways to modify your home environment for your child. You may both be so wrapped up in the preparation stages that you’re barely spending any time together as a couple. When a child has a disability or vulnerability, they often need extra focus and attention. You may worry that your relationship will drop down the priority scale even further when the baby is born. What you can do to help yourself and your partner You and your partner might find it difficult to discuss how your baby’s disability or health complication could affect your family dynamic and how you will work together to support them. But burying the issue, tiptoeing around it, or pretending it isn’t there, puts you at risk of leaving yourselves unprepared when the baby arrives. It takes courage to talk about the issues that frighten us. If you’re struggling to find the words, try writing down what you’re feeling before you share it with your partner. As things progress, aim to have regular discussions and start making preparations together. It’s important for you both as parents-to-be to work on talking openly and positively about your fears and expectations [3]. Discussing and anticipating the kinds of issues you might face will help you deal with difficult situations when they come up [2]. The extra challenges you face as parents will challenge your relationship too so, even if you need to prioritise your child’s needs, it’s important to look after your relationship, and set aside a little couple time too.   References [1] Glenn, F. (2007). Growing together, or drifting apart. London: One Plus One. [2] Pancer, S. M., Pratt, M., Hunsberger, B. & Gallant, M. Thinking ahead: Complexity of expectations and the transition to parenthood. J. Pers.68, 253–279 (2000). [3] Stamp, G. H. The appropriation of the parental role through communication during the transition to parenthood. Commun. Monogr.61, 89–112 (1994).
Article | disability
4 min read
Bonding with adopted children
Whatever your reasons are for adopting, you may wonder if you will have the same bond with your child as a biological parent would expect to have. See if any of these feelings resonate with you: 1) You might think you’ve missed your chance to bond You may be concerned about missing out on the initial bonding that takes place during and after pregnancy. Some mothers also worry that missing out on the bonding experience of breastfeeding will be detrimental. 2) You may worry about the child’s history The majority of children awaiting adoption have experienced difficult childhoods, often coming from families with a history of drug or alcohol problems, domestic violence, neglect or abuse. Knowing this, you may worry that their history and experiences will make it difficult to bond and establish trust. 3) You may have initially hoped to adopt a young child The majority of couples are likely to be matched with a child between the age of one and four, and around 20% are five and above. If you and your partner were hoping to adopt a newborn, this might come as a disappointment. You are not alone. Around one in five parents come to adoption hoping to be matched with a baby, and many others express a preference for being matched with a child as young as possible [1]. It may help to know that, throughout the adoption process, lots of potential parents compromise on at least one of the criteria they started out with, usually related to the age of the child. Some parents even open up to the idea of accepting two or more siblings, having started out wanting to adopt a single child. Most parents who change their criteria report being happy with the decision and see it as a natural part of the adoption process [1]. You will have an opportunity to learn about the case history of a child before and after a match is made. During the matching phase, take the opportunity to ask questions about the lives and experiences of potential matches. It’s important that you’re happy with the match and it’s OK to ask for extra information at any time. Once a match has been made – and this can take several months – there will usually be a handover phase where your child makes the transition from a foster home to living with you. This is a further opportunity to learn about the child’s background, but also about their routines and current lifestyle, so you can help them adjust to living with you. Remember that nothing is yet set in stone, and that a match won’t be made until you are happy to go ahead. If you need some time to adjust, you can take that time, and make your own decision. The more active you remain in the process and the more information you have about the child you are adopting, the more likely you are to find the process a positive one, and help to create a successful match for you and your new family. How do parents bond with adopted children? Allow the time and space to get to know your child and build up a bond. Even with a natural birth, bonding is not automatic, and many adopting parents find that they feel the same way about their adopted children as they would a biological one. Your concerns over parental bonding may start to ease when the child comes into your care. If your child has been in a difficult or unloving environment, it may take longer to establish trust, so be prepared for the bonding process to take a bit longer. But have faith – even if you are adopting a child who’s a bit older, you are not necessarily at a disadvantage where bonding is concerned. Children develop attachments with the people who offer them a sense of security and support, consistently over a period of time. Sharing your feelings with your partner could provide an opportunity for you both to talk about any concerns or questions you might have. Remember to explain that these worries you’re having are not an indication that you’re questioning your decision to adopt, but rather, that you’re just looking to explore and make sense of your feelings.  For more information on adopting, take a look at: www.baaf.org.uk and www.adoptionuk.org.   References [1] Selwyn, J., Meakings, S., & Wijedasa, D. (2015). Beyond the adoption order: Challenges, interventions and adoption disruption. London: British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF).
Article | adoption
6 min read
“Help – partner looks at porn”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   So reading this has brought me mixed feelings on this topic. So I'm 19 and my boyfriend is 21, we've been together for a little under a year 1/2, we live together too. Our sex life blows, we have sex twice a week and he can't last longer than 2 minutes without cumming. And when he cums, he can't get hard again, ever. So I never get a happy ending and he doesn't even try. He's not romantic what so ever. I try to be sexy and spice things up but nothing works, its like trying to get intimate with a wall. And he always tells me that he's not a big sex guy in general, and I respect that because I do not want to cause a rapey vibe what so ever. So I was playing music off his phone and I went to his safari and went to type in the dubstep song Purge Planet, and PornHub came up. I was shocked because he's not a big sex guy as he tells me so what the fuck are you doing on porn hub?? I find it disrespectful because he knows how insecure i am and it just fucks with me emotionally, i read articles that say its okay to be uncomfortable and its okay for him to watch porn because its not cheating. But honestly i'm really bothered by it. I don't even wanna know what he looks up.
Ask the community | sexless, pornography, rejection
“Wife texting another man”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Recently I found out my wife has been in quite inappropriate conversation with another man, i seen their chat pop up while using her laptop and the content of one message was out of order so i clicked to read further into this. It had been going on 3 months or so and very sexual chats and even some non revealing but teasing photos had been sent. He was leading most of it but recently she seemed to be enjoying it more and playing along (she sent the photos) he kept asking for more revealing photos and she was teasing along. It took me a while but i eventually confronted her about my disgust and i tried to be reasonable and understanding and asked was something missing from our relationship. I had on many occasions felt we were missing something and a few times asked her and she kept saying all was fine. After talking to her about this she admitted she is a bit bored and the younger man made her feel good and it was flattering, she agreed it was inappropriate and promised me it would stop. A few weeks passed and all seemed great but i walked in one day of her taking a close up of her cleavage lying in bed. She quickly passed it off and denied it. She has moved all messaging to snapchat so no history is available and she gaurds her phone closely which was never really a thing before. I feel its still happening but dont know how to confront her again incase i come across as posessive and contrilling as im sure she will acuse me of this. We have always been a very open and trusting couple and this leaves me heartbroken and i feel ive lost trust in her since this but i dont want to be watching over my sholuder the whole time. I feel betrayed even though by the messages nothing has happend physically ( well at least not up to a few weeks ago) but i really tried to be understating to make things work and feel she played along and made me feel she would stop to save any further conversation as she has never been into having relationship chats. Is the snapchatting her workaround so i dont find out or am i being paranoid. Her job leaves her open to late nights away and he lives near her job and although i dont thinks anything has happened im fearful it can easily under the circumstances as its normal for her job to have her in late and different times each night. I think if it is still going on i will lose all trust and not want to be with her but we have kids and i adore them and i would lost without them. Any advice welcome and thanks in advance.
Ask the community | cheating, trust, emotional affair
“Dating with a guy with a kid”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hi guys, I really need your help here please as I am going desparated now. I met this guy four months ago when I was traveling to LA for my vacation. Quickly we clicked and bond together. We really enjoyed our every single moment there so we decided to keep contact and talk everyday when I came back to FL.We’re really open and transparent about our private life. I’ve never married or had a kid so everything is pretty simple from my side. He is actually still married, he and his wife submitted the divorce file and waiting for court hearing. They have 8 year old son and he’s mainly custody of the kid as his wife is flight attendant and unable to take care of the kid full time. So weeks ago he decided to bring his son with him to visit me. When his wife found out, she went crazy, they had fight, yelled to each other and she did everything to ruin his trip, acted like a bitch (as he said). Previously she was the one to control everything in their married life and he and his son have to do whatever she wants. Now since he’s with me, she may think that things are out of her control and therefore extremely upset about that. She tried everything to catch thie attention, including putting herself in trouble (like sleeping pill overdose) and my boyfriend had to be there take care of her. Eventually my boyfriend still visited me 2 days ago and they are staying with me for 2 weeks. His son is pretty a good boy but his head is packed with all the bad things from his mother about me so he’s cold to me and dislike me. And my boyfriend is too soft to his every single request, with no rule for kids and I have feeling that he’s spoiling the kid a little too much. Whatever his son asks, he follows and I haven’t seen him say no to his son during 3 days here. He came here to visit me but we hardly hold hand, hug because his son sticks around him all the time and barely talk to me though I’ve been trying to be nice. He slept with his son as well and only came to my bed at 2 or 3am and then back to his son at 6am before he woke up. I feel like I am the person who is left out in my own house, everytime his son openly talk to me, his mom called and later on, he dislike me again. I don’t really have experience with kid or dating a guy with kid so I am pretty lost here. I even feel a bit insecured because of my boyfriend’s enabling characteristic and the fact that his wife is having trouble with her boyfriend. I don’t know if it’s just my feeling or it’s common to all others who date a guy with kid. How could I do to get rid of this kind of feeling or what should I do to make this situation better, to make his son like me a bit more? Or will I have to run around and deal with his crazy wife if I still want to be with him in the future? I really appreciate your advices please
Ask the community | long distance, ex-partner, step-parents
Talking about same-sex parenting
As a same-sex parent, planning for a child differs from the traditional route in obvious ways. Whether you’ve chosen to adopt or work with a donor or surrogate parent, you’ve had to make some big decisions to get to this point. It can be difficult to turn to others for a quick chat about how to child-proof your kitchen without the conversation leading to the topic of how to raise a child can be raised in a same-sex family or which of you is going to take on which duties when the child arrives. You might find that a lot of the traditional advice and information that’s been handed down through regular channels doesn’t immediately relate to your own experience, or face discriminatory attitudes from the service providers who are supposed to support you, Your employers and other colleagues might also be putting barriers in your way. All of this can lead to difficulties around the practical arrangements of childcare and other financial matters, making you feel isolated and confused about where to turn. Why is this affecting our relationship? Discrimination can affect your relationship in several ways. Your relationship may already be under strain from parenting [1], so any additional pressure can be much harder to deal with [2]. It can also be troubling because it’s difficult to face the issue head on. It’s not easy to resolve stress that comes from outside your relationship, and it’s hard to talk to people who don’t understand or respect your desire to become a parent [3]. How can I improve things? Take a moment to remind yourselves why you wanted to become parents in the first place. Remind yourselves of the journey you’ve been on and all the challenges you’ve dealt with so far. The discrimination you are facing is not your fault, and bears no reflection on your capabilities as a parent, or your potential to learn new skills and raise a child. There is no evidence to support claims that children should fare any worse in a same-sex household [4]. It may also help to remember that there are others out there facing similar challenges to your own. The number of same-sex couples raising children is on the rise [5], and the introduction of same-sex marriage represents a significant step towards more widespread acceptance. Where to get support Try seeking support from statutory services either privately or through your GP, to talk through anything that’s bothering you. You can also turn to online forums, such as the one here on Click, where you can voice your concerns anonymously amongst people in similar situations. You may also be able to lean on your social circle. At first, you may find it helpful to seek the support of a few trusted family members and friends. Research has shown that couples who maintain close ties with their family and friends can feel the benefits in their general wellbeing and quality of life through practical and emotional support [6] [7]. Research has shown that family members who initially express disapproval often warm up to the idea once the child arrives [8]. Keep reminding your family that you love and support each other and that, while you would prefer to have their support, you will still be parents regardless. Letting your family know that their negative attitudes won’t affect you gives them a more realistic choice to make about how involved they want to be. And remember – it’s your decision to become a parent and you have the right to be supported through that process. Make room for the voices that want to help you and politely ignore the ones that don’t. With a bit of self-acceptance, you may find that there are more people on your side than you realised.   References [1] Petch, J., & Halford, W. K. (2008). Psycho-education to enhance couples transition to parenthood. Clinical Psychology Review, 28(7), 1125-1137. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2008.03.005 [2] Shapiro, A. F. and Gottman, J. M. Effects on Marriage of a Psycho-Communicative-Educational Intervention With Couples Undergoing the Transition to Parenthood, Evaluation at 1-Year Post Intervention. J. Fam. Commun. 5, 1–24 (2005). [3] NatCen (2014). British Social Attitudes. [4] Crouch, S. R., Waters, E., Mcnair, R., Power, J., & Davis, E. (2014). Parent-reported measures of child health and wellbeing in same-sex parent families: A cross-sectional survey. BMC Public Health, 14(1). doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-635 [5] ONS (2013) [6] Gierveld, J. D., & Tilburg, T. V. (2010). The De Jong Gierveld short scales for emotional and social loneliness: Tested on data from 7 countries in the UN generations and gender surveys. European Journal of Ageing, 7(2), 121-130. doi:10.1007/s10433-010-0144-6 [7] Moor, N., & Komter, A. (2011). The impact of family structure and disruption on intergenerational emotional exchange in Eastern Europe. European Journal of Ageing, 9(2), 155-167. doi:10.1007/s10433-011-0207-3 [8] Koller (2008)
Article | same-sex, parenting
4 min read
Separating from a pregnant partner
If you and the mother of your child have separated, you might be worried about what time you’ll get to spend with your child. If the relationship between you and your ex is volatile, you might not be able to hold a conversation long enough to discuss joint childcare arrangements. Why do I feel scared about this? There a few reasons you might feel this way: If you’ve recently separated, emotions will be running high and everything can be quite intense. It’s common to be overwhelmed, and this could be affecting your worldview. You may have heard stories of other dads not getting the chance to play a part in their children’s lives after a separation. 13% of non-resident fathers say they have no contact and never see their child [1], and this is a frightening statistic for expectant dads contemplating a separation. You might worry that you don’t have as many legal rights as your partner, or that they will move on with someone new who could take on a parenting role with your child. How can I help the situation? If your partner is angry and doesn’t want anything to do with you, first let the dust settle. Give her with space, and respect the decisions she makes for your child. The law will always favour your child’s needs, so the best thing you can do is demonstrate that you will be a positive influence in your child’s life. When the time is right, you could talk with her about doing a parenting plan. We offer a free online parenting plan where you can make decisions and make plans without having to speak directly to your ex. You will get a notification when they have made a suggestion, and you can agree, disagree, or find a compromise – all the while focusing on the best arrangements for the baby. Research suggests that even though regular face-to-face meetings are most ideal, frequent contact by phone or email can make up for distance from your child [2]. Although this kind of contact may not be ideal, it should enable you to maintain your parent-child bond. This is particularly good news if you live in a different location to your partner and your child. If your partner ends up blocking you from seeing your child, then you may need to go down the legal route. While the courts recognise the importance of the mother in the very early years, there is no gender bias. Researchers from the University of Warwick found that fathers applying for child contact had been “overwhelmingly successful” and that dads fared just as well as mums when making contact applications [3].   References [1] Eloise Poole. (2013). What do we know about non-resident fathers? Retrieved from Modern Fatherhood: www.modernfatherhood.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Briefing-paper-Non-resident-fathers.pdf [2] McGene, J. and King, V. (2012) Implications of New Marriages and Children for Coparenting in Nonresident Father Families. Journal of Family Issues, 33(12), 1619–41. [3] Warwick University (2015). Study finds English and Welsh family courts not discriminating against fathers. Retrieved from: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/study_finds_english/
Article | breakups, contact
4 min read
Pregnant and splitting up
If you’re pregnant and going through a separation, you might be worrying about how the breakup will affect your child. Stress One of the things you might be thinking about is how the stress of separation or divorce might affect your baby’s development in the womb. Research has found that relationship strain during pregnancy appears to be linked to negative cognitive and behavioural development in children [1]. If separation is the right thing for you as parents, it’s possible to minimise the stress and remain supportive to each other. This might be very difficult, especially if there are unresolved issues between you but, by being reasonable, rational and respectful, it is possible. Take your time to talk through a plan of action. If you decide to stay together, talk to your partner about how you can help reduce stress during the pregnancy. Maybe take up some light exercise together, or practice some yoga designed for pregnancy. If you do have arguments, take the calm and collected approach. If things get heated, take a break and return to the issue when you feel calmer. A two-parent family You may want your child to be brought up by two parents, especially if you were raised by both parents and want your child to have a similar upbringing. Some studies have found that children in two-parent homes are less likely to grow up in poverty [2], and are also less likely to develop emotional problems [3]. But, single-parent families are becoming more common and there is lots of support available for single parents. The number of lone-parent households in the UK grew steadily from 1.8 million in 2003 to nearly 1.9 million in 2013 [5]. While some research suggests that children in single-parent families have poorer outcomes, other research shows that, when it comes to their overall happiness, family composition doesn’t really matter [6]. It’s the quality of the relationship you have with your child that counts. If you stay with your partner, talk about how you want to raise your child. You both may have different ideas of what family life will be like. Take the time, hear each other out and make compromises where you can. Adjustment You may have been brought up in a single-parent household and found it hard to adjust to life. You may have witnessed conflict between your separated parents and, at times, may have felt caught between the two. A poll of 500 young people found that one in three felt that one of their parents had tried to turn them against the other during the breakup [4]. If your own upbringing in a single-parent household was difficult, it’s understandable that you wouldn’t want your child to go through a similar experience.  It’s important to nurture a good co-parenting relationship with your ex-partner. A good place to start is to seek mediation or create a parenting plan so you can agree on how you will raise your child.   References [1] Bergman K., Sarkar P., O'Connor T.G., Modi N., Glover V. (2007). Maternal stress during pregnancy predicts cognitive ability and fearfulness in infancy. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2007 Nov; 46(11):1454-63. DOI: 10.1097/chi.0b013e31814a62f6 [2] Gingerbread (2018). Single parent statistics. Retrived on 16 April 2018 from: http://www.gingerbread.org.uk/content/365/Statistics [3] Parry-Langdon, N. (2008). Three years on: Survey of the development and emotional well-being of children and young people. Office for National Statistics [4] Office for National Statistics (2013). Families and Households: 2013. Retrieved from http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/family-demography/families-and-households/2013/stb-families.html [5] The Parent Connection. Children in single parent families no less happy than those in two parent households. Retrieved from: http://theparentconnection.org.uk/blog/children-in-single-parent-families-no-less-happy-than-those-in-two-parent-households [6] The Parent Connection. 1 in 3 young people say one parent tried to turn them against the other during divorce. Retrieved from: http://theparentconnection.org.uk/blog/1-in-3-young-people-say-one-parent-tried-to-turn-them-against-the-other-during-divorce
Article | breakups, pregnancy
4 min read
Grieving for an aborted pregnancy
Making the decision to abort a pregnancy is tough, even if it feels like the right thing to do. Some couples face a difficult time in their relationship following that decision. Guilt With any major life choice, it’s natural to go through the what-ifs and the maybe-I-should-haves. This can happen no matter what decisions you’ve made. People carry guilt individually but, if a decision is shared, the guilt can weigh on you as a couple and potentially lead to blame-shifting or resentment. Grief Some people and couples still have a grieving process to go through, even if it was their decision to terminate. The following research refers to miscarriages and stillbirths, but the lessons of grief are applicable: In the study, most mothers and fathers struggled to understand their partners' grieving style. Fathers described having to focus on practical tasks and needing to remain strong, which meant that the way they grieved was very different to their partner’s [1]. People grieve and express loss in different ways [2] [3] and develop their own coping styles, which may not be recognised or understood by their partner. Some people are not consciously aware of their own coping style. How can I help? If you’re feeling upset or vulnerable after the abortion, it may be worth talking to a counsellor, or someone else you can trust. Talking through your pain is a helpful part of the healing process. Speak to your partner about how you are feeling and talk about what you might find helpful during this time. Keep in mind that your partner may be grieving too –perhaps in a different way – and try to offer support as well as asking for it. Coping with guilt There’s often a temptation to bury guilt or pretend it’s not there. Instead, try to recognise your guilt when it flares up, and talk to your partner about it. Talking it through and being heard may help you find some relief. Keeping the dialogue open and honest can also make things easier if it comes up again. If you’re able to support each other and show patience, you may even find that you become closer in your relationship. Coping with grief If you and your partner have different coping styles, it can be a source of frustration in the relationship. Take the time to talk sensitively with your partner about how you’ve both coped with grief in the past. It might not be the easiest conversation but, as you learn to understand each other’s coping styles, you’ll find that you have more tolerance and patience for one another. In the study, even the most bereaved parents were able to accept each other’s entirely different coping styles, and went on to become closer together in sharing their loss [4]. References [1] Campbell-Jackson, L., and Horsch, A. (2014). The Psychological Impact of Stillbirth on Women: A Systematic Review. Illness, Crisis & Loss, 22(3), 237-256. doi:10.2190/il.22.3.d [2] Dyregrov and Matthiesen (1987). Anxiety and vulnerability after the death of an infant. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. 1987, 28: 16-25 [3] Gold, K.J., Sen, A., Hayward, R.A. (2010). Marriage and Cohabitation Outcomes After Pregnancy Loss. American Academy of Pediatrics [4] Avelin, P., Rådestad, I., Säflund, K., Wredling, R., Erlandsson, K. (2013). Parental grief and relationships after the loss of a stillborn baby. Midwifery. June 2013, Volume 29, Issue 6, Pages 668–673. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2012.06.007
Article | abortion, grief
4 min read
Understanding postnatal depression
Postnatal depression (PND) is a type of depression that some women (and some men) experience after having a baby. It can affect around 10 to 15% of women [1] and it tends to occur within the first twelve months after birth. Like other types of depression, it is often misunderstood. If your partner doesn’t understand or underestimates the effects of PND, they might not be able to empathise with you and support you through it. This can cause a conflict in the relationship. Why is this happening? Your partner's misunderstanding or ignorance might be frustrating, but it may just be a lack of knowledge. As a nation, we’re not very good at differentiating between having a low mood, and being depressed. Your partner might assume that, if you have PND, you’ll be sad all the time and cry a lot. So, if your PND manifests itself in other ways, such as sleeping a lot, feeling numb, or withdrawing, it may not be recognised for what it is. Your partner may also assume that, if you didn’t get PND in the first few months, then you can’t be experiencing it now. However, PND can happen any time within the first year after giving birth. How can I help? Firstly, it might be helpful for your partner to know and recognise PND symptoms, some of which may include: Low mood. Loss of interest in usual activities. Feelings of worthlessness. Loss of energy. Crying spells. Insomnia. Fatigue. Anxiety. Poor concentration [1] [2]. PND is a real illness, and anyone suffering from it needs professional help. So it’s important your partner not only understands what PND is, but is willing to learn how it affects you. Try to open the conversation more broadly. Rather than trying to explain PND, try simply asking your partner for support. Different people have different ideas what kind of behaviour is supportive, so your partner may just have a different perspective to you on the subject of PND or depression in general. Relationships between couples following the birth of their child can be fraught, and depression is more likely to develop in both mothers and fathers in the first year of birth [3]. If you feel that your partner is not really paying attention or seems to lack interest, try to remember that people's perspectives are often formed through other people’s attitudes to depression – usually someone quite influential like their own parents. Stick with it, and ask for your partner's undivided attention to explore the issue. Encouraging your partner to speak to a medical professional or a health visitor could be helpful, as they are equipped to explain PND from a psychological and biological standpoint. They may also be able to provide further resources for support for you both. References [1] Yiong Wee, K., Skouteris, H., Pier, C., Richardson, B. and Milgrom, J. (2011) Correlates of Ante- and Postnatal Depression in Fathers: A Systematic Review. Journal of Affective Disorders 130(3), 358–77. [2] Andrews-Fike, C. (1999). A review of postpartum depression. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry, 1(1), 9. [3] (Davé, Petersen, Sherr, & Nazareth, 2010).” (p.29)  
Article | postnatal depression
How to reduce stress during separation
Splitting up with a partner is a stressful process whether you were married or living together. If you are ending a marriage, rather than a cohabiting relationship, you may come into contact with divorce lawyers at some stage. Using collaborative (rather than adversarial) lawyers may help you and your ex-partner avoid getting into long, drawn-out battles that could be difficult for the whole family. When ex-partners take control of the situation and communicate in a respectful way, separation or divorce is likely to be quicker, less expensive and less stressful. This isn’t going to be realistic for every couple but if you can agree some basic communication rules at the start of the process you may be able to avoid a longer battle. You may find it useful to take a look at the Getting it Right for Children course. The course will show you how to work on core communication skills that can be useful throughout the separation process, including: Staying calm and listening Seeing things differently Speaking for yourself Sticking to the point Negotiating Working things out The legal side As well as setting some ground rules with each other, it’s a good idea to read up on the legal side of things, so you feel more in control of your divorce or separation. The Legal Ombudsman has a downloadable guide that can help you decide some key decisions and what to think about when using a lawyer to help with your separation. The guide is based on common issues and complaints including finances and property, and includes top tips to help make the right decisions during the divorce process. You can download a copy of the guide from The Legal Ombudsman.
Article | separation, divorce, stress
2 min read
“Child arrangements”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hi. My partner and I have been together for 7 years on and off as he has a drinking problem and bad group of friends and kept breaking up because of that. he was illegal at the time we met and I supported Him all the years till last year he got his rights to stay in the country on the basis of his 2 kids. He got his rights but still didn't want to work and was depending on me. I was paying all the bills etc. We kept arguing for a few months because of that and then all of a sudden I had to go abroad for a family emergency with my kids and he was at the time staying in my home and he did not go tact us whilst we were away, I tried so many time to get hold of him and only sometimes did so we got into an argument and I told him to leave as I was tired of taking all the responsibilities as I only worked part time and we have kids to support too. When I got back from abroad he had dissapeared from the home. he had taken all his belongings with. I tried to contact him but phone went to voicemail. I asked his friends and all said they didn't know where he was so I contacted the police after 48hrs and reported him missing and a week later I heard he went abroad to visit family. He contacted me a few times after that from there and then all of a sudden he stopped. He came back to the UK without informing me and I heard from.a friend of mine that he is back and wen I bumped into him he made like he did not know me so I left it as that as I didn't know eat to say or do. I later tried to call him, I sent him text msges but till today it's been 4 months now he not responded. my kids miss him so much. I am going through depression at the moment I cannot even go to work due to stress. As a single parent it is very difficult for me. I have 2 kids with him and a son from my previous husband. I don't know what to do as he does not provide anything not does he contact the kids. I am finding it so difficult to cope on my own as my youngest is not even 2yrs old. I cannot afford mediation or court fees. I really need him to help with the kids. I would like him to take or see the kids as it's affecting them. I have noticed a change in them since they got back and the dad was gone. I have spoken to child maintenance service and they will try help but I need help into child arrangements. I have tried to text him but has not got back to me regarding this. Could someone help me in this situation?
Ask the community | contact
“Issues around drinking”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I've had a relationship with a woman for nine years and we've had our ups and downs. She has had a bad past with alcoholics (exes) so she was very critical on no drinking. After no drinking for over six months, proving it's not a problem for me, she began telling me “if you really want to have some after work please just do it at your house”. I agreed and would have some every now and then. Never getting drunk and no fighting the entire time. We recently got engaged a few months ago and moved into a new house together a few weeks ago. As we were moving in she began buying me beer saying the man of the house should be able to have some socially and after a hard day work. Strangely enough even her ex, with his new woman was allowed to come help us with the move and he was getting drunk on beer at our new home while I sipped some vodka. Everyone having a great time and no problems. A few days ago after a long 12hr day, I came home and had a couple of shots to unwind. Afterward she “finds” the bottle by the back door where I smoke a cig, she gets into my bank account statements and sees i have indeed had drinks at my past home... And gets so furious that I am basically kicked out of the new home without any sit down adult conversation about what the issue is. As it turns out, she says I was supposed to announce to her when i was going to have some, which means to her I was dishonest and lied by keeping it “secret”. Of course, I don't remember being told that and so I'm naturally confused so much about being told I can drink at my own home, and her buying me beer, and even having an ex and family over to the new house drinking, and then being so furious about having a drink when i came home after a long day. Despite an apology for any misunderstanding, and pointing out that if she didnt know, after telling me I could... Then consider the fact that there was no getting drunk and that we never had a problem caused by it for the entire time. She simply says i decieved her and knows about her past. Yet lets her ex come over drinking, and bought me beer??? Not only does this seem like a complete hypocrisy, and feel decieved myself, and even asked for an adult conversation to sort out the misunderstanding, with an apology for such... Its been nothing but a heavy text war. I have no clue on how to proceed with fixing this issue while I feel emasculated left without a home. Even if this is somehow worked out, and come back, it would really feel like my home if I can be kicked out of my own place without the decency to even have an adult discussion. I can't even see where I have done anything wrong, while she demands that I admit my wrong doing. Is there any possible way to proceed to fix this?
Ask the community | arguments, communication, addiction
“Relationship issues after birth of child”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I have issue with my partner after our girl was born. I am being always very close to my partner and we did pretty everything together. This baby for us is like a blessing since I am low count guy and I have few chance to achieve this naturally. Basically I am very keen in doing home duties from cleaning to grocery and household stuff shop. I always have done this, even before pregnancy. During pregnancy I supported my partner every day by helping her with shoes, eating and also being always at scan and check. Of course I did mistakes sometime because my love one is anxious and tends to overreact to problems and sometime I used bad words because I was panicking too. However always recognized my mistakes and made my apologies, now I am changed and tends to be more calm and paced when she get anxious. However, I use to snore and in the last ya my sleep become quit deep. The his made me incapable of listening my partner calling me sometime for help on nappy changes and nights with the baby. However, it was not like this always and I did what I was capable of doing, since for both of us is just the first child. In addition I work and I am trying to make my work do not forbid me for being next to them. Despite this my partner said that she hate me for not being able to help her in the nights, she hate everything of me and want to leave. This started an evening when I was returned from the usual shop for all of us and by closing the door the lock woke up the baby. From that day every single minimal thing is something to argue and tell me how I am shitty. I am confused worried and really exhausted of being treated like this from the person that I LOVE. Please someone has any advice? Cheers
Ask the community | parenting, arguments
“Visitation and day-to-day care”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hi I'm in need of some support tips on how to deal with this situation. I am currently in processes of court order I've made to an ex-partner who is the father of my child. There was a lot of things he's done, I had to step up and finally tell someone what was going on in ma 5-yr relationship with the father of my child, which I wanted it to end a bit earlier in the years. I've been and sorted with lawyers, child for lawyers, appointments i attended. After a few of those I've done. Few months maybe more later. Its 2018 now I never heard bk from the lawyers at all or from the courts for a follow up about the cases. I had and heard no contact from no lawyers nothing. A letter came in and I opened it, and it says it was dated on the 2nd of march, I had to attend a conference court case on the 2nd of march 2018. I didn't receive the letter till the 29th of march that's when a letter arrived in my mail box. Why did it take that long to arrive in ma post. I contacted the family law centre to follow up why was the letter sent late. I received the letter in ma mail on the 29th of march, and on the letter it stated and dated on the 2nd march. Apparently I missed the court case. I turned up to the actual first one he didn't, then when I ended hearing about another one I didn't get notified about it for a few weeks he turned up to that, and I didn't. As now I don't know what he capable of he's sly, and I just need some tips how to cope with not been schemed and get stuff put on to me that isn't true. I raised and cared for ma son his whole life I've been there,while his father wasn't around, he's housed, fed, clothed, enrolled him into school he's doing great at school. I really want the father to get visitation at a centre where he's supervised. Not alone as that's why I took him to court - violence, etc... Just abuse.
User article | contact, physical abuse
“I can't stop grieving”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   My ex broke it off about six months ago. We had some contact since then and about two months ago we met up and slept together. We started communicating more after that but had an argument the following week and he just cut contact. He said he couldn't talk to me and I said if he couldn't then he had to move on from me. I got no response back and he hasn't made contact since. I feel so hurt and still stuck in limbo. I'm so sad all the time and can't talk to anyone about it. I told my mum I was depressed about it still and her reaction was "Well, it's been a long time", as if I shouldn't care anymore. But I can't stop hurting. Today is really bad. I started taking St John's Worts about a week ago as I've been really low for a while now. The relationship was on and off for a long time. He wanted me back about a month after we initially split with me, but I didn't go back because he had finished it so many times and I couldn't bare the on off anymore. Now I'm lost. The reality of not being with him hurts even though being with him hurts too. Has anyone got any advice for how I can move forward and stop this pain? Do I contact him to get closure, or should I just let him go?
Ask the community | ex-partner
“I can't accept this rejection”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I am fresh out of an 8-year relationship, 3 months out and counting. My ex & myself are getting on well, both trying to support each other through the break-up. (although she has told me multiple times she wants me back I don't feel the same) In the meantime I have met someone else. She is a warm, genuine stunning woman whom I didn't mean to fall in love with, however I have. We went on nights out in a crowd of people and always ended up dancing and laughing. We got on like a house on fire. One day I told a 'friend' how I felt about her & well it got back to her & she very nearly shut down, told me she didn't want a relationship just yet & I should give myself time to get over my ex. But we still went out, still got on & still had such a laugh. Slowly as the months passed it was fairly evident we was opening up to the possibility of a relationship, despite her resistance. I then made the single stupidest mistake of my life. I went to my ex to clear the last of my stuff out & well one thing lead to another & we had sex. I regretted it imminently & apologised. My ex was very level headed about the whole thing & told me it didn't matter - 'one for the road'! Somehow the girl I was interested in found out but not before I had 'the moment'. By 'the moment' what I mean is the moment I fell properly hard in love, with her & it was like nothing I felt before - they say your heart punches out your chest & I can say its true. I knew at the moment she was the one. Now I know she has a 'history' - not all of it pretty, she is certainly not whiter than white some of which included adultery, but her past is her past. As far as I'm concerned I fell in love with her not her past. When confronted my on the sex I told the truth & she went apoplectic - & rightfully so. I was such a idiot I couldn't - can't - believe I did it. She banned me form going out with our friends - which are mostly her friends & doesn't want to know me at all. The barriers up & its not coming down. I suddenly realised although we never went on a date, or kissed or spent any real time alone she clearly felt more than 'close friends'. A month & a half later after busting my ass trying to at least relight our friendship she shot me down again - telling me she only wants a 'working' relationship and nothing more - ever. This I'm finding REALLY hard to accept. We were so close. We had so many laughs & overnight its gone. I'm talking to friends about her & using their suggestions but nothing seems to get through. Then some days shes chatting to me & smiling with her stunning eyes, then others nothing. When I look her in the eye I can see the hate where there used to be love. When she answers the phone & realises its me you can actually her her tone change. about the only thing I can still do is make her a coffee. People tell me she doesn't like men. I've been told there might be 'something' in her past which I have either reminded her of (which I'm not her past) but not told what. I've also told shes scared of a relationship. The latest is shes just not interested in me like that which I find so hard to accept, I don't understand how she can just turn it off like that. One of her friends has said I should stick it out & wait but it probably wont be this side of Christmas which I find impossible but whatever it takes, she is 100% certain she will come back. Others say I should just sit her down & have it out with her & if shes still not interested then walk away. She has a very close friend who I know & I wonder if I should talk to her but if she finds out I think it kill of anything that remains. My question is why can't I just except it? Should I wait? Give it more time? Or go face to face with her & have it all out. If I give it time how long? Every morning shes on my mind, every night.
Ask the community | breakups, rejection, cheating
Dealing with debt in a relationship
Whether it’s a credit card or a bank loan, help from a family member, a quick dip into the overdraft, or even a payday loan, almost everyone has some experience of borrowing money. In between borrowing money and paying it back, we are in debt. As long as we have the means to pay it back, debt can be a useful way of managing money - but it can end up costing more than it is worth. How debt affects your relationship   Money worries are one of the biggest causes of stress and arguments in UK households [1], sitting in the top three relationship strains for 55% of couples (for parents, it’s 61% [2]). A quarter of people have found money worries getting in the way of their sex lives [3] and one study suggests that couples who get into problem debt are twice as likely to break up [4]. If you are worried about debt, it’s better that your partner finds out sooner rather than later. When you are under pressure financially, your partner will pick up on it and bear some of the brunt of that strain. Many people feel ashamed of debt, or think they can handle it better alone. However, keeping debt a secret can just make things worse. By sharing the concern with your partner, you can share the burden and work together towards a solution [5]. For practical tips on talking to your partner about debt – whether it’s you or your partner who accrued the debt – visit the guidance page on our ‘Debt and relationships’ service. Getting into debt   Couples can get into debt when entering a new phase of the relationship, like moving in together, getting married, or having a baby. These times are always challenging, no matter how positive and exciting the change. Your relationship is intensified and magnified as you step up the commitment and costs can escalate. In these times, couples tend to have big expectations of the future, and how their lives will be [6]. While it can be tempting to load up a few credit cards to get the things you want, it’s important not to borrow more than you can reasonably plan to pay back. Being in debt makes it much harder to live up to your expectations of the future anyway. The more debt you have, the more likely you are to argue, and the less time you are likely to spend together [6]. How to deal with debt Talk to your partner. Get things out in the open and share the burden. Put all your debts in front of you. Open your post and check your accounts. Hiding from debt won’t make it go away and could make it worse. Make a budget. Look at what you are spending and where you can cut back. Work out how much you can afford to pay off each month. Contact your creditors to can organise a payment plan, even if it’s only a small amount. Speak to a debt advice organisation. Free services like The Debt Advice Foundation can help you get all this information together and offer tips on how to negotiate repayment plans with creditors. Dealing with debt takes time and understanding [7]. You can make things easier by getting help from debt organisations, but keep in mind that money issues can persist. You may need support not only with money issues, but also with the relationship strains that can accompany them. If you and your partner want some extra support, counsellors such as those at Relate may be able to help you deal with relationship issues, whether debt-related or not [7]. The good news is that once the debt has been paid off, relationship quality has been shown to improve again [6]. References [1] 4Children. (2016). “Britain’s Families: Thriving or Surviving?” [2] Undy, Helen, Barbara Bloomfield, Kate Jopling, Laura Marcus, Peter Saddington, and Patrick Sholl. 2015. “The Way We Are Now: The State of the UK’s Relationships 2015.” Relate, Relationships Scotland, Marriage Care. [3] Ann Summers & Relate. (2012). “The Sex Census.” [4] Kneale, D., & Trinley, W. (2013). Tales of the Tallyman: Debt and Problem Debt among Older People. International Longevity Centre - UK. [5] Falconier, M. K., & Epstein, N. B. (2010). Relationship satisfaction in Argentinean couples under economic strain: Gender differences in a dyadic stress model. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 27(6), 781-799. [6] Dew, J. (2008). Debt Change and Marital Satisfaction Change in Recently Married Couples. Family Relations, 57(1): 60–71. [7] Papp, L. M., Cummings, E. M., & Goeke‐Morey, M. C. (2009). For richer, for poorer: Money as a topic of marital conflict in the home. Family Relations, 58(1), 91-103.
Article | communication, finance, debt
4 min read
Say goodbye to the birds and the bees
Talking to your children about sex and relationships can be a daunting prospect but, while it might be tempting to put it off, it’s best to start sooner rather than later. It’s time for the birds and the bees chat to be replaced by open and honest conversations – not just about sex, but about relationship skills like managing emotions, resolving arguments, and listening to other points of view [1]. Try to purge your mind of any negative memories from your own childhood. Even if your sex education was a big awkward talk; or a pamphlet on the sins of the flesh left conspicuously on your bed; or just years of silence, it doesn’t have to be like that for your children. Relationships education is changing The school curriculum is changing. What used to be SRE (Sex and Relationships Education) is becoming RSE (Relationships and Sex Education). Your child will still learn about sex but within the context of understanding relationships, which will help them recognise the good and bad relationships in their lives. Relationships education is likely to include information about a variety of relationship types, including friendships. There is a compelling case for children learning skills to help them talk about their feelings and be more aware of the quality of their relationships [1]. This change comes at a valuable time, as more children are reporting being unhappy with their friendships [2]. Schools are already doing more to teach about online safety, including sexting, cyberbullying and pornography. Young people are spending more time online [3] [4] and, as a result, they may be facing sex and relationship challenges that you never had to deal with. The Department for Education will give schools more guidance about the new RSE curriculum soon and learning about this as a parent too can help you support your child in making safe, sensible choices as they get older. What parents and children think In light of these developments, we teamed up with youth charity The Mix to ask children and parents what topics they’d like to see covered in relationships and sex education. The top five most important topics listed by parents and carers were: Staying safe online Bullying and cyberbullying Being aware of who knows what is being shared online What makes a good and not so good friendship Abusive relationships Bullying and abusive relationships were also particularly important topics for young people who wanted to know more about recognising – and getting out of – bad relationships. Overall, nearly 90% of parents agreed that sex education would be improved by including relationships education [1]. Talking about relationships and sex The coming RSE lessons in schools will be a good opportunity for you to learn together and build on your child’s learning by starting your own conversations at home. While it might seem tricky or embarrassing, it’s best to talk openly and honestly. The more open you are, the more confident and competent your children are likely to be in their own relationships [5]. It’s often easier to talk about sex and relationships by taking advantage of opportunities to talk, like using an issue they’ve experienced at school, a storyline on TV, or a pregnant friend. Don’t wait until they’re already going through puberty, and don’t plan a big ‘sit down’ conversation. Think of it as an ongoing conversation that can be returned to as needed [5]. When your child shows curiosity, answer their questions honestly, but don’t feel you need to expand in great detail beyond what they ask. A good guideline to bear in mind is that if your child is asking you a question, they’re ready to learn the answer. If you find it difficult, you might want to look into a course like Speakeasy, which was set up to help parents feel more confident talking to their children about sex, and to make them more aware of opportunities to do so [6]. If you can’t find a course near you, there are lots of helpful tips on the FPA website. Working with your child’s school Many of the parents who took our survey were keen to play a part in their children’s relationships education [1]. Young people are also more willing than in previous generations to talk to their parents about things that matter to them [2], but it’s easier to get these conversations in early, while children are still young. As they get older, children and young people tend to lean away from parents and teachers, preferring to learn from peers, or by looking things up online [1]. RSE is more effective when schools and parents work together [7]. Making yourself aware of what’s on the RSE curriculum when it launches can help you think about how you might approach conversations at home, perhaps building on topics that are being taught in school [6]. So, keep your eyes and ears open for the new curriculum details in 2019 and, in the meantime, follow our blogs for expert information about relationships.   References [1] OnePlusOne (2018). Relationships and Sex Education: A submission to the Department for Education. [2] Office for National Statistics (2018) ‘Children’s Well-Being and Social Relationships, UK - Office for National Statistics’. Retrieved online from the Office for National Statistics website: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/wellbeing/articles/measuringnationalwellbeing/march2018. [3] Ofcom (2017) Internet use and attitudes: 2017 Metrics Bulletin. Retrieved online from the Ofcom website: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/105507/internet-use-attitudes-bulletin-2017.pdf [4] Frifth, E. (2017) Social media and children’s mental health: a review of the evidence. Education Policy Institute. Retrieved online from the Education Policy Institute website: https://epi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Social-Media_Mental-Health_EPI-Report.pdf [5] Wilson, Ellen K., Barbara T. Dalberth, Helen P. Koo, and Jennifer C. Gard. (2010) ‘Parents’ Perspectives on Talking to Preteenage Children About Sex’. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 42 (1): 56–63. [6] Kesterton, D. and Coleman, L. (2010) 'Speakeasy: a UK-wide initiative raising parents'confidence and ability to talk about sex and relationships with their children', Sex Education, 10: 4, 437-448. [7] Pound, P., Denford, S., Shucksmith, J., Tanton, C., Johnson, A. M., Owen, J., Hutten, R., Mohan, L., Bonell, C., Abraham, C., and Campbell, R. (2017) What is best practice in sex and relationship education? A synthesis of evidence, including stakeholders’ views. BMJ Open, 7: e014791.  doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014791
Article | sex, sex education
9 min read
“Why is he staying with me?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Ok this is a long one I have been with my husband for 15 years and married for 8 we have 2 children At Christmas he was out on his Christmas do i was browsing through Facebook before i went to sleep and a photo popped up with him tagged it showed him very cosy with a young girl. it disappeared around a minute later from Facebook but it was enough to make me think, so the next opportunity I got I looked at his phone and found more photos of him and this young girl on his phone.They are with other people but very cosy and they look like a couple. I did not mention it at first but i just tried to have a discussion about our relationship in which he admitted he had not been happy for 2 years. I thought then and there it was over but he sent be a huge bunch of flowers and seamed to want to work it all out. However i just couldn't shake the pictures from my mind so i eventually brought them up. He assured me they were just very good friends(his words) She had worked with him for 2 years and i had no idea who she was. its only a small office i know all the other ladies by name and i have never had any issues i used to pop in every now and again (for valid reasons he forgot his lunch things like that at his request) i had never seen this girl or heard him mention her. He then said he hadn't mentioned her because they talk about me?? As you can imagine things deteriorated between us and i was very hurt angry and confused. I lost a lot of weight and he seamed pleased by this kept telling me i looked great i was only a size 12 before all this (she is about a size 4 thats a guess very skinny) But then in the middle of all these arguments he though it was appropriate to book to go to Vegas with his friends. Ordinarily i wouldn't mind this but I had wanted to go to Vegas for my 30th 6 years ago at the time we couldn't afford it which is fine and he promised me we could go for my 40th i have been planning this and looking forward to it. financially we are a lot better off now i have been promoted and earn equal to him and there is the option to do overtime whenever i need/want. We could afford for us to go to Vegas now but i wanted it to be something special for my 40th. We have no debt nice cars a lovely house but i would give it all away to feel like i matter to him anymore. I'm struggling to understand why he is staying with me. No I'm not going to pretend I'm perfect I'm not i get very very angry and shout and sometimes say things i don't mean not violent I'm not a violent person at all. classic me (we wouldn't be here if you had kept it in your pants) but i often feel that i do these things to get him to sit up and take notice (wrong i know as it just makes him angry) We find it hard to have conversations without them becoming a argument. His work organise charity things and i have never been invited to 1 he says he wants that part of his life separate from me and he should be entitled to have that. i don't want to stop him doing anything i just want to be part of his life, i don't want to go to everything i know we have issues with childcare my parents live a long way away but help when they can, his parents are closer but don't really do much. I'm really struggling. He now says he's suffering from depression. I have booked him an appt at a the Drs. I'm trying to be supportive i know how horrendous depression can be. When i look back tho i don't think he has ever really considered me and I've probably just put up with it but I'm so so hurt by the Vegas thing he says he going and that's that. What would you all do? I'm lost, confused and don't want to destroy my children's lives. If you all think I'm in the wrong please say I'm especially interested in a male perspective. I have male friends but they are my friends and obviously give me the whole what are you doing with him get rid talk but i am also fully aware they only have my side.
Ask the community | trust, jealousy

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