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The quality of your relationship with your partner (and with friends, colleagues and family members) affects both your mental and physical wellbeing. Similarly, how good you feel emotionally and physically can affect how you get on with your partner - perhaps even more than you realise. |[profileDataBundle id=1]| Improving your relationship quality can have a positive effect on your health, affecting related behaviours like exercising and drinking that can, in turn, affect how you get on. Of course, relationships go through ups and downs. But when we are unhappy or frustrated it’s easy to ignore what we know is good for us. Risky behaviours can provide an escape but sometimes we can fall into habits that are bad for both our health and our relationship. The good news is that, by taking stock and taking a good look at our patterns of behaviour, we can start making a few changes and things can start feeling very different. Have a look at the following questions and then share your answers with your partner. This can help you to assess the bigger picture and start changing some of the behaviours that could be affecting your relationship. Overall, how well do you feel on a day-to-day basis? Where would you score your physical health on a scale of one to 10, with ten being best it can be? Do you smoke? If so, how much, and at what times of day? What are your triggers for smoking? How often do you drink? Do you drink to unwind, to be social, or to shut things out? How well do you eat? Do you and your partner eat together – are cooking and eating well important parts of your relationship? Are you over or underweight? How do you feel about your body? How well do you sleep? –What, if anything keeps you awake? Can you see any patterns? Do you exercise regularly? How do you feel after exercising? How often do you have sex? Do you enjoy sex with your partner? Are you currently working? How does your work affect how you feel? If you have a bad day at work, what impact does it have on your home life? How do you know you are overstressed? What are the signs? What makes you feel good physically? What makes you feel good emotionally?   What next? Have a look at your answers. How does the overall picture look? Does it look good or feel a bit overwhelming? Are there any patterns you’d like to change? If you have any habits or recurring behaviours that aren’t serving you, look at the underlying reasons. Take it slowly – recognising the need for change is a crucial first step. Don’t try to change everything at once. If you are a smoker, that’s a good place to start. Consider cutting down, or just keeping a log of when you smoke and how you feel before and after. Start to notice what need you are trying to fulfil by smoking, and whether it’s working for you. If you want to eat better, start by introducing some small changes to your diet. Get a new cookbook or look up some recipes online. Experimenting with new dishes can be fun. Set aside some time to plan and cook a healthy meal with your partner – this one positive shared experience could be the first step towards getting out of a mealtime rut. Poor sleep, drinking too much and work stress are all issues that can contribute to how you get on with your partner, often leading to arguments. It can feel overwhelming to address these issues at once – a good place to start might be taking some regular exercise. It doesn’t matter what, so long as it is something you can enjoy that fits in with your work and family demands. Exercise can also have a positive impact on other areas of your life, releasing natural chemicals that improve your mood and make you feel happier. Adopting a more active lifestyle can improve your mental health, giving you a positive reminder you that the choices you make affect how you feel. Leading a more active life can give you a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and help you sleep better. It can improve your self-esteem and confidence, helping you feel more valued, and more attractive. Exercise and physical activity can give you something positive to strive for and commit to. It can help you to stop dwelling on problems and, in time, you may even start to enjoy it!   A word of warning! If this exercise has brought up any issues you find difficult to talk about, you may find it helpful to use some of the communication exercises and articles elsewhere on the site. If you have identified that you or your partner are drinking too much, you may need to seek professional help – looking at the articles on addiction on the site can be a positive first step.
Article | Health
5 min read
23 and disinterested in sex...
I've been with my boyfriend for 4 great years. We've been living together with his dad for 3 years now. When we first started dating I was 19 and he was 21. We would really only see each other on weekends or days off during the week. I moved in with him and his father due to an family issue I had with my parents. Through all of this we had a really healthy sex life. Shortly after our relationship began I went on the pill so we could stop using condoms as it seemed I had a mild allergy to them. Our sex life was strong and healthy up until probably a year ago. I started to lose interest in sex. And anything to do with sex. I didn't care to be touched or corested, didn't care to makeout or as my boyfriend calls it explore each other. Looking back, it's not that I lost interest in having sexual relations with my boyfriend, I realized I didn't care to find other men attractive or even have a desire to be with another man. I've had a history with depression. Ive thought it may play a role in this. But even when I know my depression isn't with me I still don't have a drive. My boyfriend and I looked into maybe I lost interest in sex because I wasn't keeping physically active. So I started going to yoga and it hasn't increased my drive. I dont have a lot of stress going on in my life. My boyfriend means everything to me and I know he's the one I want to spend the rest of my life with and one day have a family. But right now, it's a tough road. I know it hurts him when I tell him I'm not interested in sex, or he goes to touch me and I brush him off. I've considered it maybe being my birth control and do have an appointment made for next week to see my doctor. I just don't know what to do and it sucks knowing this may be the reason our relationship starts to break apart. Any advice is much appreciated!
Ask the community | sex, intimacy
“Breaking up will break him”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I have been with my boyfriend for almost 4 years, when we met we weren’t in great places. And since then things have gotten better for both of us, but my boyfriend still struggles with a lot of things like alcoholism and is continually having lapses and promising not to do it again. Where we were living we both had jobs but they were 'nowhere' jobs. And we lived with his mum, struggling week to week. I reached the stage where I was ready for more, I didn’t want to keep living like that. So I found a a good government job in the capital, one that sets you up for life. I talked it over with my boyfriend he wasn’t keen at first, but agreed that it was a good idea and that I should go and he would follow in a few months. It’s been a few months and after a huge argument over the phone it’s come out that he wants to be with me but doesn’t want to move using the excuse there is no work there for him. He then confessed that he doesn’t actually want to stop drinking and wants to stay home and live with his mum. We love each other but I have realised that we want different lives, I know the right thing would be to break up but I love him so much and I don’t want to see him waste his life which I know he will if he stays there. And I am scared if I do break up with him, he will really go off the rails.
Ask the community | decline
“Hot and cold”
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 basically I met this guy on a dating site and everything was going really well, we had quite a few dates around 8 or 9 and have been speaking for nearly a month. We would talk everyday, he would message me in the morning and ask how I was every morning. We arranged to meet on Valentine's day last week and he promised me he wouldn't cancel but on the day he said someone had rang in sick at work and be couldn't make it. All of a sudden after this he started being really distant and now his morning texts get later and later everyday. I asked him the other day what was wrong and he just said he had a lot on with work etc. The past few days he has been distant but fairly talkative until today he didn't message me until the evening and only replied a few times. I have tried giving him space and being nice etc but he's been distant now for nearly a week. I am thinking the worst that he's not into me anymore but I don't know what to do whether to ask him or just keep giving him space? Last time we saw each other a week ago he was still lovely and there was nothing to suggest he wasn't into me anymore. He has just gone distant all of a sudden since when he was supposed to see me on Valentine's day so I really don't have a clue what is going on with him. Since he started being distant he will give me fast replies and ask what my plans are but then won't reply for 5 hours or even won't reply until the next day, i havent suggested meeting up as i'm taking it as he's not interested anymore but then i dont know whether me not suggesting is making him think i'm not into him anymore? I dont know whether he just texts for the sake of it now and so I'm being short with him but he's still being distant. This distance was all out of the blue it was going really well until he cancelled last Wednesday and all of a sudden he's become all distant randomly. I don't know whether I should suggest meeting or maybe be nice as I always wait for him to message me first so I don't know whether that's giving him the wrong message. He told me he's been cheated on before in the past when he did everything for his ex and she cheated on him and before he went distant he seemed genuinely nice compared to the others I've had before he was respectful etc so I don't know whether the fact he was cheated on is making him insecure etc and that's why he's stopped putting effort into me or whether it is that he's not interested anymore but I can't see how I could've made him lose interest. He also said last time we saw each other that he catches feelings quickly and easily and that he felt things had moved really quickly so I just don't know if he is genuine and maybe has ran off because he's scared due to his past and is waiting for me to put the work in or whether he is just using me?
Ask the community | someone else
“What should I say after I ignored him?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I was already in a relationship for almost a year and was no longer in love with my boyfriend when I met my this new guy. He's much older and has most of what intrigues me in a man. I got his number and I started texting first. In the beginning I just wanted to try something new. Flirt with a man, go out on fun activities because I felt bored in my relationship and restrained. I just wanted to live at that time. He replied almost immediately and he still remembered my name even though we had spoken for only a few minutes that day in the conference. He told me a few days later that he had a girlfriend but that did not matter much to me because all I wanted to do was have a little fun. I told a week later that I had a boyfriend too. But we enjoyed each other's company very much and we talked everyday for weeks. He was that ignition I needed in my life and he helped me grow in ways I didn't think I could. I felt more responsible with him, he commanded the respect I didn't think I could be humble enough to give anyone and he unintentionally made me discover things about me I didn't think I could. I was happy. So I told me boyfriend it could no longer work between us because I did not love him anymore. He had recently found out about the other guy and I and was so depressed because he thought I was leaving him for the other guy. I told him I broke up with my boyfriend and I reassured him it was not his fault because honestly I was going to leave him anyways. I found myself wanting to have a serious relationship with this new guy, I was falling for him already and I know he knew but he never made or said anything that could make me know he was liking me differently other than a girl with good company. It seemed I had already starting hoping too much that when he told me his girlfriend came in to town to see him I felt hurt and to make it worse, he did not tell me goodnight that day. He only texted me the next morning. Ever since then I decided to stop talking to him, because I did not want the hurt to grow. He did not call me that day and he only texted the next morning ask why I did not reply his texts, I still did not reply him. About a week later he called me in the morning but I did not pick up and another week later he texted me in the afternoon and begged me to reply him. I just wanted him to prove to me that I was important to him by making more than just one phone call, or sending more than just 3 texts messages in about 3 weeks. I wanted him to give a good reason to not go back to my boyfriend who still kept begging me to come back to him. But those were the only moves he made, he did not even come to my house to look for me. I am suppose to be disappointed and stay mad or just be disappointed and tell myself I guess I know where I fall. I console myself with the thought that we had not had sex even though we were close and spent a couple of nights together. But then I find myself thinking about him, keeping tabs and checking his recent activities on facebook. I even dreamed about him some nights. Meanwhile within those weeks that I ignored him I felt so sad that I hurt my boyfriend for someone who was not worth it. I eventually went back to my boyfriend even I knew sooner or later I would no longer want him. This other guy still is in my head and my heart and I do not know if I pushed him to stay with his girlfriend (because he told me once that he did not care if his girlfriend ever saw us together) or ruin any chance I had with him. I was having a hard time these past few days getting him off my mind that I intentionally called him on Whatsapp last night even though I knew he was not online. He finally came online by midnight and greeted me like nothing had ever gone wrong. I do not know what to say. I am contemplating on telling him the truth to why I ignored him all this while and just hear what he will say. Someone help please.
Ask the community | someone else
“Will I ever believe him again”
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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Been married 22 years, together 26. Husband as had his prostrate taken out a year ago due to cancer. He looked at porn years ago when our children were all young. It really hurt me because I am sure i always gave him sex and i was still affectionate towards him and wondered why he didnt want me. I came down and saw him in the kitchen with his zip down. He said he was reading a story, what a liar. He said he would never do it again but I found more porn on his lap top and even videos in his car of it. It shocked me because it showed he didn’t care about my feelings and how it made me feel. Now all these years later he as done it again. I asked to check his laptop to check his bank account because he had took a loan out behind my back. Told me it was for £100 then admitted it was £300. This hurt and shocked me because he done it without telling me and he had done it last year as well. Said it was to pay bills. This i will never know if its the truth or a lie. So I was looking through the bank account and I just thought I would have a nose through his recycle bin. That's when i came across the porn which was of 2 women. He said it was just a lapse and he wouldn't do it again. He said this years ago. Told him he's addicted said he's not and he doesn't know why he did it. It hurt me because he said he looked twice at it when i was out.. so not once thought to himself right i shouldn't do this I said I would never do it again but he done it the second time. Now i compare myself to these women and think he wants them and not me, also maybe he would like two women to go with. This has all knocked me and the trust as completely gone. Now I wonder if he is still looking at it when he takes his laptop with him every day. I don't want to be checking it and always thinking is he looking at it but I think that's how it will be. This is not a way to live. I have said the next thing he might do is go and find the real thing. He said he only wants me and he couldn't get it up anyway without a pump device. I said he could still do oral and that he can still climax by masturbating. What do I do, and how do you carry on with someone if the trust has gone and they say you can build it up only for them to knock it down again?
Ask the community | trust
“Am I cheating because I flirt?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I have been with my S/O for almost three years now. I am so in love. I love him with all of my heart. He is perfect, he makes me feel perfect and special. He always knows how to make me feel better. But we are getting older now, and I just feel like I sometimes am in a different stage in my life. I sometimes feel more mature. I have threatned a breakup because I have these feelings that things aren’t gonna change. He is going to be the same. He is going to still be this amazing and wonderful person but he has no head on his shoulders. He has a dream but is afraid to go for it. Or at least thats what it seems like. But i have been with him for so long that I just couldn’t imagine himself with anyone else. I know he has some family issues going on right now which is the root of most of his issues but sometimes I can’t help but wonder if things would be different. Which is why I feel like I am constantly searching for something new. But I don’t want it to be our relationship. I am heavily attracted to one of our close friends and I keep having these dreams of being with him and I feel so guilty. And sometimes I catch myself flirting with him, laying down and snuggling with him and constantly thinking about him. The way I used to think of my boyfriend. But the thing is i feel like I will never stop loving my boyfriend. I love him so incredibly much so I feel so guilty. I don’t know how to feel. Am I guilty of cheating in my head? Am I cheating because I flirt with my guy friend? Am I wrong for having these sorts of dreams? I have spoken to my boyfriend about my feelings and he does know about them. But sometimes I can’t help but feel like even though I felt great after that talk and I felt so much closer to him I still keep getting those feelings of my guy friend. I just don’t know whats right and wrong anymore.
Ask the community | someone else, flirting
“A complicated 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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   This is all new to me. I have never been on any kind of forum or even asked for help/advice of any kind outside my small circle. I'm at my wits end and maybe I just need to know if I'm wrong or if it is normal for me to feel the way I do.... I am so confused! I have been married for 22 years (been together for 25 years) and we have 3 children of which two are still school going. Gosh, I dont even know how to put into words what the situation is. Of course it all started fine and life was going good until about 10 years ago. The last 10 years or so have been an emotional rollercoaster ride of note. My husband is a very dominant person and does and says things as it pleases him with no regard to anyone’s feelings. He always knows better and is never wrong. He does not take responsibility for his actions and everything is always something or someone's fault but his own. Every time I bring up something that bothers me it either ends in a silent treatment and a very strained atmosphere or the situation is turned around and it is my fault. What he says and what he does are two totally different things. He flirts and sex chats with other woman and has no time for the kids or me. He is constantly busy on his phone or PC. When I confront him on that, he always has some lame excuse or its my fault because I don't do this or that. One eg that comes to mind is I found out he bought a vibrator for another woman. When I confronted him on that, his answer was: "it wasnt an expensive one".. Seriously?? Is the cost relevant to the fact that he bought another woman a vibrator? In my mind, nothing he says can justify his actions! Six months ago we decided that we are going to separate/divorce but due to our financial situation we could not afford two households expenses. I moved out the main bedroom into the spare room. New year and our anniversary came and he told me that he didn't want to devorce me anymore. So once again we tried talking things out and he wanted to know what I needed from him to make my life easier and he wouldnt expect anything back from me. I told him that I needed his attention and that I have to be the only woman in his life and that I was not prepared to share him with other woman. Is this supposed to be a request if you choose a life partner to spend the rest of your live with? Am I asking to much? Isnt it supposed to be only me? So he has been trying really hard to give me attention and not texting when I'm with him, telling me he loves me and helping me more around the house with things and spending time with the kids, generally being a nice guy. I have to admit I do like the change in him, however he has not given up on his flirting and sex chats. Then he tells me that he doesn’t understand why I dont trust him? Over the years he has lied to me so many times that how and I supposed to trust him? He says I'm insecure and it is not his job to fix my insecurities. He is the cause of my trust issues and insecurities. What gets me the most is the flirting and sex chatting with this one girl who is as old as our daughter. I cant get past this. Its just as good as him talking to his own daughter like that. To me that is unacceptable! I’m in a catch 22 situation and I dont know what to do anymore. I can’t devorce him and leave as I have no where to go and I have no income to support myself. My whole family lives on another continant and he will not allow me to take the kids overseas, so I'm forced to stay until our youngest is 18, which is another 4 years. Am I just supposed to accept that this is who he is and he will never change and he can continue living a double life without any consequinces or any regards to my feelings? Am I being unreasonable? Am I expecting to much from him? I just don’t know anymore.....
Ask the community | cheating, marriage
“Love triangle at work?”
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, so I guess I'm sort of involved in a love triangle at work. A few weeks ago I was traveling with my co-worker and we ended up kissing. It was fun and it seemed to charge up a bit of chemistry with us. We haven't dated or anything but there has been some major flirting and texting. Nothing heavy. I was playing it cool until I found out this girl was seeing someone else at the office. I believe they were seeing each other before we kissed. Regardless it made me feel a little jilted but I bounced back. Today was valentines day and the guy she's sort of seeing brought in Valentines day candy for everyone. It's obvious he brought it over so he could give her some. So later in the day I texted her saying I got valentines day candy from this un named person. And said I think he mistook me for you. It seemed to fluster her, mind you she's been flirting with me up to this point. So after that I decided to act indifferent like I did not care. I gave her a bit of the cold shoulder treatment but was still nice to her. I acknowledged her presence but nothing like I have been doing up to today. Basically I reverted back to grade school and started to ignore her / act like she wasn't a priority. Now I could be mistaken, but this seemed to make her frustrated, and I felt like she was trying to get my attention the whole day. She left the office in a hurry with a short goodbye. It's like I got under her skin. So did I strike a nerve? Does this indicate she's confused. That she might like me too? At this point I've decided to move on because I feel a little rejected. But it was odd behaviour coming from someone who picked someone else. Why did she act so frustrated / agitated when I gave her the indifferent treatment? Am I winning? I don't expect to win her over but I'm not going to lie. It felt good to see her react this way. I don't expect her to start chasing me, that's not why I acted this way. I was simply putting on a game face. And by acting like I did not care about the situation plus giving her a bit of the cold shoulder seemed to make her a little flustered. What is this all about?
Ask the community | flirting, rejection
“Affair with best friend at work”
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 best friend at work recently confessed that he was attracted to me and wanted to be with me physically. He is in a LTR and I am married. He told me he had been feeling that way for over a year and that he liked me a lot. He said he knew the feeling was mutual and the sexual tension between us was off the charts. I agreed that I was always attracted to him but I felt safe flirting with him because I'm married and he's 9 years younger than me. He was always honest with me about cheating on all his girlfriends. He said this is the longest relationship he's been in that he hasn't cheated yet. He hates commitment. He always said he doesn't want to get married because he can't imagine being with one person for the rest of his life. I told him this was crazy and it could ruin our lives and our friendship. He kept trying to convince me it would just be two friends having fun and it doesn't have to mean anything. I said I should be honest and say that at home everything is good. I really do love my husband and family and we don't really have an major issues. Two days after this conversation this guy kissed me. Not just a quick innocent kiss. He came up to me, held my face and looked in my eyes and kissed me very passionately. It was extremely intense. I stopped him and told him I needed a minute and he just held me tight and said "I've wanted to do that for so long" then we kissed some more. After that things got hot and heavy. Lots of sexting and some more make out sessions. Then we had sex. It was an amazing night. Without going into details we clearly both enjoyed it. He begged me to stay the night and I did. We had sex in the morning again. The next few weeks we talked a bit about it and if it was going to happen again but he started to get distant. I confronted him and he finally told me he felt guilty about cheating and that has never happened to him before. He said he wasn't over this whole thing he just needed time. So I tried to give him space. Then a few times just to see where his head was at I asked him if he wanted to hook up and he just said maybe but nothing happened. So I confronted him one more time and asked him flat out if all of it was just a game to sleep with me. He said absolutely not, he said he just felt guilty and he was still trying to process it. But then he tells me not to worry cause it's definitely happening again. Well after a few weeks I hadn't been sleeping right and tired of wondering what was going on I decided I needed it to be over. I told him I thought we should both agree that we lost our minds for a few weeks and we should just be friends. I said I need him more as my friend than I need to have sex with him. He agreed and that's where I left it. Things have been ok at work but now I find my self wondering what the whole point of this was. If he was ever really my friend why would he want me to risk everything just for sex? He's a good looking guy and I'm not really the type of girl people are making moves on. I'm cute at best but I'm not hot. Part of me thinks he had feelings for me and being with me scared him and part of me thinks he really just needed something to chase to get out of a rut with his girlfriend. I just hate not having answers. Does anyone have insight into this kind of thing?
Ask the community | cheating, trust, sex
“Do I have issues with trust?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I have been with this lady since 2013 and we decided to get married in 2017. l work away so spend lots of time working. I recently found out that when l am away my partner has been seeing a guy she works with. They have been meeting since September 2016. They meet after work, have lunch, dinner, go to the movies etc and she swears that it is platonic. He buys her chocs, flowers, sends her poetry, send messages saying how much he enjoys her company. Recently he has been coming to the flat to pick her up which l obviously do not like. She flies into a rage if l raise the matter saying she has done nothing wrong. Calls me old fashioned and says that lots of women have male friends. Am l wrong to take this attitude? I also recently found out that she is still texting, maybe even sexting another guy who she went out with before she met me.. She sends him photos which l took, but does not mention me. Yet another guy in a different country thinks that he is in a relationship with her. She laughs and says that they have been friends for years, but l found out a few days ago that he does not know about me.. They have some sort of financial business going on which she denies, but l have proof. When we are together she tells him that she is with her uncle... Am l just a fool to take this? I want to leave, but love her, but l also feel that l cannot trust her. It is making me crazy.
Ask the community | trust
“My GF entertains her ex-boyfriend”
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'm looking for opinions and advise on how I should approach this topic and if I'm right or wrong. Stuff between us started to go sideways on jan 01 2018. When we were having sex, I saw that her ex boyfriend was calling her. She fell asleep and I decided to go look through her and his messages. Now her ex didn't know for a while that she had a new boyfriend. But also there was also little contact behind the two of them. One day she told me that he messaged her on Facebook after she blocked his phone number. She had told him that she had a boyfriend but they still continued to have a conversation. She did tell me that they messaged on Facebook and she told him that she's dating someone new. but she didn't tell me what else they talked about. We've been together for a little over a year and I know I love her and she claims she loves me. Now my girlfriend texts me and says " her ex was on another girls snapchat while he has a girlfriend and a baby on the way" . okay thats fine but she didn't tell me that she went out her way to warn him and say something about it. when they were together she was beat and cheated on constantly so in my mind I'm wondering why she went out of her way to message him ? I treat her amazing and I know I do. I do everything for her that I can do. way more then I did in my past relationship. So one night she goes to bed and I'm up doing homework, she texts me out the blue and says that her best friend called saying her ex was outside her house crying and wanted to see her dog and stuff like that. So she went out there and talked for a few minutes and went back in. But recently I brought that up and there was more to the story that she didn't tell me. She didn't tell me he tried to kiss her and that she got in the car with him and went to the petrol station. Everything was okay before she told me that I didn't over react to nothing I handled it well until she told me that. I cussed her out and said some hurtful stuff. So that's the story I don't wanna lose her over this and I need to know if this is right. I was in my college classes the other day and my professor said " whats normal to them, they won't see that as an issue" which made so much sense. But right now were losing each other and I wanna fix this. S he gets defense about it and calls me insecure and childish and threatens to end the relationship but I'm neither, I think it's more just respect my wishes of the relationship. I don't really have anyone to talk to so that's why I am here.
Ask the community | ex-partner
“Partner had an affair, having his baby!”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I'm Scottish I met my Australian partner and moved here 14 years ago. We have 3 children ages 11, 9 & 6. For the last two years my partner has been having an affair. We have split up and got back together due to it. Then last year I was diagnosed with cervical cancer AND thyroid cancer. I have had chemo and radiation therapy surgery and many hospital appointments its been hell and is still ongoing as my cancer is still present. During this time my partner was my rock he was there with me throughout it all. My treatment made me infertile and we were heartbroken at the loss of not being able to have anymore children. Things were going great I thought, personally that is. Then just before New Year I was hit with a bombshell. The woman he had an affair with was pregnant and despite him trying to convince her she refused to have an abortion she is convinced keeping the child will mean she traps him to being with her. She is due any week now. I cannot bear it. She apparently knew I was infertile and even my partner thinks she did this on purpose. I know she will use this child ever moment she can to get him and destroy us. My partner still talks to her as he said he is not going to abandon a child of his. I have told him I cannot be with him and don't even want to be around she lives only 15 mins away. I feel humiliated I don't want to go out of the house I feel sick at the thought of seeing people I know I cannot see any future that is happy or peaceful with her in it. He wants our children to know their new sibling and it breaks my heart I have told him she is part of his life not ours, I have no choice in them knowing the kid but she is not to be part of their lives he says he can't promise anything!! I feel like screaming. I honestly don't know how I can cope much more. The affair was bad enough but we were working through that but a child!?! having this women forever part of our lives!! I can't bear it. I feel completely broken I cry practically every day I am barely functioning. My partner has now got himself his own apartment. I have asked him what he wants and all he keeps saying is he doesn't know. I have told him I want to move away not far but far enough that we are not on her doorstep and not having to avoid places just because I don't want to run into her. But I can't do it without his help financially and I legally I cannot move too far without his permission. In theory he says yes but whenever I suggest areas he always has an excuse it has become so unbearable for me that I am even considering leaving the country for good but cannot bear the thought of leaving my children as I know that is exactly what she wants but I feel staying will kill me. I honestly don't know what to do. I'm dying inside.
Ask the community | cheating, big changes
“Feel lost and unwanted, need advice”
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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Ugh where do I start! Just want to say I'm so grateful to find a page where I can express myself without going to a therapist. So this might be long but I promise I have a point and I really need advice. So me and my boyfriend have been together for almost 2 years, talking for 3 years and living for one year together. SO at the beginning of our relationship as usual for many is, soft sweet, effort , sexy and loving. So here's my main issue almost 3 years later. My man is a humble guy. He doesn't like romance, lovey dovey or affection as much. But in the beginning he did. My man doesn't have a high sex drive like I do ! BOOM! I said it ! Now lets approach the problem. I LOVE affection , attention and effort and this my friend he is lacking lately. Now we have spoken about it for awhile since we moved in a year ago. We barely have sex now, it's once in a while type of thing, its starting to become a JOB! I swear ! I get controlling as well and lead on but damn I want to be treated like he wants me as well! He doesn't want to have sex around house , he doesn't like head on the spot, he doesn't like to try new things. Its like bust a nut boom go to sleep. And I'm a freak so yea ..... Now! I have an issue with this because we used to be jack rabbits in the beginning and he made me feel so good (Loving wise, sexy , and wanted in when we wasn't living together ). Now that we are its boring. No flowers, no gifts no love, barely sex. All he wants to do is smoke and chill after work (which is understandable he has a active job) But c'mon , I'm tired too, not to mention I am a mother, I have to cook, clean, make sure things are good in the house, work and deal with this mentally. So I'm tired too but how come I always want him. I crave him , I want him to have sex with me like he actually wants it! You know, that type of fifty shades crap! Little by little things he does is urking me now. and I get turned off so easily by anything. Him not brushing his teeth before bed yuck I don't want kiss him like how I used to, him leaving a mess in house, or him just tired all the time. Now for your mental info we have spoken about this shit always, and it wasn't till recently I had a mental break down. I couldn't take it anymore! Why can't the man I love show me affection and love? Why can't he have sex with me like he actually wants me? One time he yelled in an argument "I'M NOT THE ROMEO TYPE". I was like what the hell??! lol I don't want no soft guy like Romeo but damn I'm a hopeless romantic , give me something. It's likes we're roommates. And my daughter loves this man and sometimes I feel it's a job for him with that too, showing her love and affection. At times I'm like what have I done? Am I less attractive? Is he too comfortable? I'm feeling insecure now. I don't want to force a man to love me or have sex with me. I feel it's not natural to force someone to show love and affection the way you want them. It should be equal. Well you get the point, I'm tired of typing, lol. Please help.
Ask the community | sex, intimacy
“My unsent texts”
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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   You show love with character, your passion, the way you speak of one another, you trust them, you don't go behind their backs and make them question your entire being. How has any of your actions proved you actually care for me. You destroyed me piece my piece and didn't even think twice, I know where I stand in your life. I understand completely people make mistakes but making them time after time over the same subjects, or even over a fucking toothbrush is where I draw the line. But I guess I didn't do too good at that. I couldn't back away from you fast enough before you ripped me to shreds. But even after everything, instead of getting a "I know how bad I hurt you" I get "I love you" and "It'll get better"'. But when? So far I've spent an entire year feeling almost entirely alone. I feel dead inside. I feel cold, empty and crowded. I get left to feel this way but then again it's not really noticed either, I hide my pain or at least I did at one point by simply staying quiet. Talking once and being done. But things were different here, you never held your end. You were never fully devout to me or you wouldn't have walked all over me as careless as you were. You never brought things up, I could be so broken and upset the night before and I never get anything more than "I'm sorry". When you've been pushed, beaten around, controlled, pushed to your limits and then forced to swim; eventually you get tired. I no longer feel like putting myself back together after one too many times of dusting myself off.
User article | trust
“Friend with benefits advice needed ASAP!”
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 didn't know where to post, so since my relationship is based on sex, here goes. I have a FWB who I really like. I think we are exclusive, text eachother every day (till I said we shouldn't) and have been fwb for about 6 weeks. We get along great. A couple of weeks ago I broke it off with him because I wanted more. A few days later called him up and asked if we could try again (FWB), provided he leave after & we don't text as often. I didn't want to get too attached and end up broken hearted, but changed my mind because I decided I am not ready for a serious relationship anyway. Yesterday he came over, but my 3 year old wouldn't sleep so after he waited for an hour, we decided to call it off & get together another night. I thought my kid was sick but she's not. So I want to ask him over tonight. Now I have always done the asking and he already drove quite aways to get here and back last night let alone the hour wait... But I really want to see him. I think about him alot and don't know if this can ever be more... in the meantime, should I ask him to come over again tonight or wait for him to ask? I don't drive so I have him here which is why I do the asking... But I don't want to seem desperate either.
Ask the community | sex
“Devastated and feeling lost”
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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hey All, I'm new on here. Feeling pretty low at the moment. My husband and I have been together for 23 yrs, married for 13 years this yr. In November 2016 (yes 14 months ago!!) he started talking to me differently, really short, came across as quite rude actually - treated me like I was a piece crap on the bottom of his shoe. At first I let it go. I thought maybe he was having a bad week in work. Then I noticed things getting worse, I'd walk into a room, he'd walk out. He'd slope of to bed without telling me he was going to bed, he started sleeping in the spare room. Then we had to spend the weekend with friends we hadn't seen in a year. This I thought was going to be very bloody painful - pretending that we're all good and everything was fine. We got away with the whole weekend, our friends didn't suspect a thing (sadly). I was dying to talk to my friend, but at the same time didn't want to spoil her weekend. When we went home, he was a little more civil to me, at least he would stay in the room when I walked in, and I noticed his tone of voice was a little nicer than the short horrible tone he'd be using before the weekend away. He spent pretty much the whole weekend on the sofa with my friends hubby - this was very normal for them two though... have too many beers and they pass out! I had to now get through Christmas and New Year for the sake of our children. In fact, the 'events' just didn't stop there. We had a family wedding to go to in the Jan and several 'big' birthday's to get through - all close family. So we got pretty good at faking it. No-one ever suspected there was anything wrong. Hubby's mother hadn't been well - she got pretty bad in the new year actually around the time of the wedding - and this is another reason why we continued to fake it. I say "we continued.." as usual this was an unspoken thing. In fact - it had been 3 months and I hadn't said a single word to him about what was happening to us or asked him why. I just couldn't bring myself to ask him, because it would then be an airborne thing... and I genuinely convinced myself... today might be the day that I get my old hubby back and this nightmare will be over. I told myself this everyday for 6 months. I couldn't take anymore. I looked stressed and had broken down in tears to two close friends. I hadn't told anyone anything about our relationship. Just kept it to myself until one day I turned up for my nail appt and my beautician asked me what was wrong. "You've got to talk to him to find out what's wrong" she told me. I knew this, I knew I had to do this but just could never bring myself to ask him. He no-longer wanted to 'go-out' with me, so date night had long gone, he was letting the kids stay up past 10pm on weekends just so that we wouldn't have 'that' conversation. It got to May 2017 before I finally plucked up the courage to ask him, what was wrong. He claimed a few tangible things... kids have got too many toys/there's too many clothes in this house/why is the cupboard in the kitchen a mess and he felt that he never saw any of his money and was upset some months we went over drawn by around £200-£300. This was it!!!! The next day I started a clothes amnesty in the house - 5 bags went! I sorted the kids toys - even did an early morning car boot sale to sell them. I sorted out the kitchen cupboard, sorted the finances so we didn't go overdrawn anymore... and then I realised... why hadn't he addressed any of these issues? Why did it have to be me that did the clothes/toy amnesty/sort the kitchen cupboard? By Christmas 2017 (13 months now passed) I realised it was never about those things, he clearly doesn't love me anymore and hasn't got the balls to tell me. So, we're now 15 months into this "co-existing" relationship. Its made me ill, I've been off work all this week with what I first thought was flu, but I feel physically drained, and I've been sleeping for approx 3 hrs in the day and getting a full night. This situation is now making me ill - perhaps stressed induced, or depression is seeping in. I'm not sure. I've not spoken to him about the situation since last May! I know I need to raise it again, but why is it always me. I've read blogs where wives have been devastated their husbands have told them 'I don't love you anymore" but you know what... at least you know where you stand. We're sleeping in separate beds still... "because I'm ill and he doesn't want to catch it!" I'm sure several of you have thought he must have a little thing on the side - trust me, my husband does not have a single minute spare... every minute every day is taken up with work or kids. He goes to the gym couple of times a week but I'm pretty sure theres nothing there. He goes there when his class is about to start and come straight home. It's not in his nature to cheat. He hates cheaters. I've never cheated on his either. I'm lost. I feel empty. I don't know what to do, I don't want to break up the family, but likewise, how can you love someone that does this to you FOR 15 MONTHS with no real explanation! I don't want to cause his mother any undue stress that would make her illness worsen, but I can't continue living like this. Any helps/ideas/tips would be greatly appreciated. As a final thing to note, we never argue, we both hate confrontation. He was my first proper boyfriend - so I've never split up from anyone!
User article | drifting apart, decline
What is relationship quality?
Relationship quality is all about how happy or satisfied a person feels in their couple relationship.  We think you might find it useful to keep track of your own relationship quality, so we’ve put together a simple quiz to help you do this. Click the “start quiz” button at the foot of the page to get started.     What happens next? The questions will ask you to reflect on things you think are going well, and areas you might want to find out more about. We would encourage you to not overthink your answers but select the first answer that comes to mind. After completing the questions, you will receive a ‘score’ based on your answers, which will give an indication of your happiness or satisfaction with your relationship. This score will range from 0% (poorest relationship quality) to 100% (highest relationship quality).  We may ask you these questions again in the future so we can see how things have changed for you.   How will the information be used? We will use the information you provide to help us with our research, but please be assured that your data will not be shared with any third parties. Please see our privacy and data protection policy and our terms and conditions for a full explanation.   The science behind it Relationship quality is studied a lot by relationship researchers because it’s useful for them to know how happy people are in their relationships at different points in their lives.Lots of relationship quality measures have been developed over the years. The one we use is called the DAS-7, which is based on seven key questions from a much longer measure called the ‘Dyadic Adjustment Scale’ [1-3]. It has been thoroughly tested and it’s much quicker to fill in than other measures.     References Sharpley, Christopher F., and H. Jane Rogers. 1984. ‘Preliminary Validation of the Abbreviated Spanier Dyadic Adjustment Scale: Some Psychometric Data Regarding a Screening Test of Marital Adjustment’. Educational and Psychological Measurement 44 (4):1045–49. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013164484444029. Spanier, Graham B. 1976. ‘Measuring Dyadic Adjustment: New Scales for Assessing the Quality of Marriage and Similar Dyads’. Journal of Marriage and the Family 38 (1):15. https://doi.org/10.2307/350547. Hunsley, John, Marlene Best, Monique Lefebvre, and Diana Vito. 2001. ‘The Seven-Item Short Form of the Dyadic Adjustment Scale: Further Evidence for Construct Validity’. The American Journal of Family Therapy 29 (4): 325–35. https://doi.org/10.1080/01926180126501.
Quiz | quiz
How mindfulness may help you
Mindfulness is becoming more and more popular as a way to let go of your stress and ‘find’ yourself in the midst of your daily (and probably very busy!) life. Studies have shown [1] that practicing mindfulness helps promote positive feelings like contentment, self-awareness, empathy and self-control. It can soothe the parts of your brain that produce stress hormones and feed the areas that lift your mood. If you haven’t tried practising mindfulness, it might seem like a strange and complicated thing that you have to go to a class to learn, but there are a number of exercises you can try on your own. Practising mindfulness can even be as simple as sitting still for a few moments and concentrating on your own breathing.  There are lots of mobile apps with guided processes for mindfulness. Apps are a helpful option because you can call on them when you need them most – if you’re the kind of person who never seems to have a free moment, convenience can be everything. Even if you only have time for five or ten minutes, it can still be very beneficial.  It’s worth doing a bit of research to find an app that you enjoy using. The practice of mindfulness becomes more powerful when it becomes a regular habit, so if you don’t like the sound of the person’s voice or what they are saying, you’re less likely to want to listen to the app. Pick one that you feel you can get into!   What the research tells us We all face stressful, difficult and challenging situations, and these can have an impact on every area of our lives. It’s not realistic to expect stressful moments to go away completely. At any given moment in your life, you might find yourself dealing with stress from study, work, friends and family, money problems, and prolonged existential dread about your future and who you want to be. That’s perfectly normal – it’s how you cope with these stresses that makes the real difference. Some people cope by focusing on a problem and finding solutions and strategies to improve the situation. Other people focus on finding ways to feel better about a situation by reinterpreting it, distancing themselves, or even denying or avoiding it. When the people around you have different coping mechanisms to your own, it can be frustrating. Mindfulness can help you with your reaction to stressful events. By mentally preparing your mind and the body, you’ll start to find you can handle conflict better, and that tough situations don’t get on top of you as much as they used to. Feeling more in control can create some space for you to be the best version of yourself, which has the added side effect of making others around you feel more comfortable in your presence. The evidence for this is right here [2]. Mindfulness is geared towards experiencing the present moment, and having a moment-to-moment awareness of the world around you. Being truly present can help you become a more effective problem-solver, a better listener, and a calmer and more focused person in general.  Mindfulness is also great for your mental health. In one study, it was shown to lead to significant improvements in: Stress Depression and anxiety Sleep quality Life satisfaction [3]  So, if you’re feeling stressed or anxious, if you’re having trouble sleeping, or if you just find that life gets on top of you more than you’d like it to, you might find it useful to give mindfulness a try. Search for some mindfulness apps through your browser or phone and have a look at some reviews. Some focus on topics such as health, sleep, or relationships, and many have free versions that allow you to try them out before you commit. Try a few to find the right one for you. Have you tried mindfulness? Did you find that it made a difference? Or are you a little sceptical? Are there any apps or tools that you’d recommend? We’d love to hear your thoughts – so please do leave us a comment, or share your story.  References [1] http://franticworld.com/what-can-mindfulness-do-for-you/ [2] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005789404800285 Carson, J. W., Carson, K. M., Gil, K. M., & Baucom, D. H. (2004). Mindfulness-based relationship enhancement. Behavior therapy, 35(3), 471-494. `` [3] http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/07/16/peds.2013-3164 Dykens, E. M., Fisher, M. H., Taylor, J. L., Lambert, W., & Miodrag, N. (2014). Reducing distress in mothers of children with autism and other disabilities: a randomized trial. Pediatrics, 134(2), e454-e463.
Article | mental health
4 min read
Dealing with stress
During times of changes, or important stages of your life, there is an increased risk of stress. You can’t make stress go away entirely, but you can learn to cope with it better stay healthy through times of change. Talk to someone These days, we are much better at talking about our feelings than in previous generations, but it can still be a difficult conversation to start. Remember that everyone has been through stress at some time in their lives – no matter how alone you feel, there is always someone who can relate to what you’re going through.  We all need a little help from time to time. Talk to a close friend or a trusted family member about what you’re dealing with and how it’s making you feel. You may find they are able to offer practical help but, more often, just being listened to can help you feel supported and less alone. If you have a good support network of friends or family, lean on them in times of stress. They can sometimes help you find a different perspective on things, so that you can see a path through to solving practical problems in a way that seemed impossible before Sometimes, of course, it isn’t possible to speak to people close to you. They may be involved in the issue, or you may just want to keep things private. In those instances, it can feel easier to seek support from an online community, where you can share your story or ask a question. Sometimes just getting the thoughts out of your head can help you start to see a new perspective on things. Sometimes, the best way forward is to seek professional help. Stress can be just as bad for your health as a physical illness, and deserves the same amount of attention as you would pay to any other injury. If you’re struggling with stress, your GP can offer some tips on where to get further help and may be able to refer you to a specialist.   Stay healthy Regular physical exercise can be a great boost for your mental health, making you more resilient and protecting your self-esteem. When your body is healthy, you are more likely to feel calmer, and you will find it easier to sleep at night and concentrate during the day, and generally feel better. Getting enough exercise can be as easy as taking a half-hour walk every day, so don’t worry if you don’t have the time or motivation to get to the gym. Avoid the temptation to mask your stress with alcohol or other recreational drugs. You will not make the underlying issues go away and you may end up feeling worse as the chemicals in your brain reset themselves after a binge. If you do drink, monitor your intake, or consider taking a break while you get things back on track. There are strong links between what we eat and how we feel. Cook yourself a healthy meal, with plenty of colourful fresh ingredients, and make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.
Article | stress
3 min read
Coping with depression
One in five people will experience a form of depression at some point in their lives [1]. Depression is a prolonged illness, whose symptoms include low mood, a lack of energy, a loss of interest in things you might normally enjoy, feelings of low self-worth, and changes in sleep and appetite [2]. It can be caused by difficult circumstances in your life, but it can sometimes come on seemingly out of nowhere. Some of the symptoms you might notice include: Low mood. Depression is characterised by prolonged bouts of low mood which feel very difficult to break out of. Loss of interest and energy. You may lose interest in the things you usually like doing. This can get in the way of your work, study, and social life. Concentration. Depression can affect your concentration, even to the extent that you may struggle to stay involved in a conversation. Sleep and appetite. You may experience changes in your eating and sleeping patterns. As well as disrupting your regular routines, eating and sleeping poorly can further affect your mood. Low self-worth. You may become more critical of yourself and possibly start lashing out at others too [2]. If you’ve noticed the symptoms of depression and things don’t seem to be getting any better, you should seek help straightaway. Getting support from friends and family is a great start, but seeking professional support is often the best way to cope with depression. Often, the quickest route is through your GP, who can make a diagnosis and referral. There are many forms of mental health support, but most people with depression will undertake some form of talking therapy. This can help you explore the causes and find coping mechanisms to help you move forward. You may also be given exercises to take home. In addition to any treatment you may undertake, there are many things you can do to support your own recovery: Learn about depression. Read up on depression and its symptoms to help you understand more about what you are going through and what you can do about it. You are already learning about depression by reading this article. Set aside blame. Accept that the illness is happening, and try not to blame yourself or anyone else. Remember that depression is treatable and try to focus on your recovery. Notice the signs. Try to make yourself aware of your symptoms and the things that can set off an episode of depression. Get support if things seem to be getting worse. Ask for help with practical problems. When you are depressed, problems can be magnified and may seem insurmountable. People like to help, so give them specific tasks to help with some of the practical problems in your way. Do some exercise. Get some gentle exercise, even if it’s just a walk around the block or a 15-minute session from a trainer on YouTube. Exercising can have the added benefit of helping with sleep problems. Get out of the house. While it might seem easier to avoid social situations, it’s often best to try and turn up to things that you would usually enjoy. Even if you plan just to go out for half an hour, it can help break you out of a loop of inactivity and depression. Keep a mood journal. What usually makes you feel better – a morning walk? Cooking a healthy meal? Seeing friends? Keep a journal of what you’ve been finding helpful, and try to do more of it. Your journal can also help remind you that you have been making improvements, as it is often difficult to focus on the positives [3]. Going through depression is never going to be easy but, with the right support, even the most severe cases can be treated. As with any illness, you should seek professional help if you are worried. Recovery is likely to be gradual, but it is possible.     References [1] Bolton, J., Bisson, J., Guthrie, E., Wood., S. (2011) Depression: key facts. Retrieved from http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/problemsdisorders/depressionkeyfacts.aspx [2] NHS (2015). Low mood and depression - NHS Choices. Available at http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/pages/low-mood-and-depression.aspx  [3] NICE (2009) Depression: The Treatment and Management of Depression in Adults (Update). NICE clinical guideline 90. Available at www.nice.org.uk/CG90
Article | depression
4 min read
If your relationship isn't working, but can't end it
Despite our best efforts, we sometimes find ourselves in relationships that aren’t working. We’ve made compromises, tried new things, and even changed other areas of our lives to accommodate the relationship, but it still doesn’t seem to fix things. When you absolutely know that a relationship isn’t working, it might seem like the obvious solution is to end things and move on. However, if the idea of not being in a relationship feels scarier than being in a bad relationship, you may find yourself clinging onto something that isn’t good for you. Committing to a relationship is a big decision, and one that has to be made several times over the course of the relationship. As things progress, you reassess – if it’s still making you happy, you carry on; if it’s not, you make adjustments, or you end the relationship. Making a commitment involves a range of factors. As well as thinking about how good the relationship is, you also have to consider the rest of your life. Think about your opportunities and your obligations, such as whether you are planning to move away or if you have work or study commitments that require a lot of your time. Consider also how well supported you feel in the relationship, and how much support you have available to offer in return [1]. Remaining in a relationship isn’t always the right decision. The quality of your relationship affects every other area of your life so, while a good relationship is almost always worth fighting for, a relationship that hurts you could be doing more damage than you’re aware of. Many people remain in unsatisfying relationships because of a fear of being alone. This is known as attachment anxiety [2]. For someone with attachment anxiety, the need to have a partner can feel more important than the quality of the relationship itself. There’s a sense of security, often misplaced, that comes from simply being in a relationship, even if that relationship causes you more pain than it’s worth [1]. People with attachment anxiety are more likely to settle for an unhappy relationship. If you’re afraid of being alone, you’re more likely to ignore the more negative aspects of a relationship and put your energy into something that’s not working [2]. This might seem like optimism but it could leave you stuck in an unhealthy situation for longer than necessary. One sign that you might have attachment anxiety is if you tend to make more of the relationship status than the relationship quality [2]. Think about the early stages of relationships you’ve been in. After a few dates, do you find yourself anxious to start using words like ‘girlfriend’ or ‘boyfriend’? This phase can be exciting but when the labels start to outweigh the quality, it might be a clue that being in a relationship at all is more important to you than being in a good relationship. If you’ve found yourself in a relationship that you’re no longer enjoying, take a look at the other aspects of your life and see how things are going [1]. Are you doing well with your work or study? Are you seeing your friends and family as often as you’d like to? Are you keeping up with your hobbies and whatever else is important to you? A fulfilling relationship should enhance the other areas of your life, not replace them. There are always compromises to be made, but if you know that your relationship is getting in the way of other important areas of your life, and you’ve done everything you can to try and make it work, you might want to give some serious thought as to why it’s important for you to stay in it. If it’s just because you’re afraid of being alone, it could be time to take the plunge back into single life and reconnect with yourself before you look for something new.   References [1] Joel, S., MacDonald, G., & Shimotomai, A. (2011). Conflicting Pressures on Romantic Relationship Commitment for Anxiously Attached Individuals. (Report). Journal of Personality, 79(1), 51-74. [2] Spielmann, S., MacDonald, G., Maxwell, J., Joel, S., Peragine, D., Muise, A., . . . King, Laura. (2013). Settling for Less Out of Fear of Being Single. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105(6), 1049-1073.
Article | drifting apart, decline
3 min read
“My girlfriend's sister came onto 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 everyone I am 23 years old and I have been seeing my girlfriend for more than a year now and we have one of the best relationships a couple could hope for. I’ve given her a promise ring and had planned on possibly marrying her some day, we also have been living together for over a year. I am extroverted and i tend to say what’s on my mind, if something needs to be said I’ll usually be the one to stand up and say it. she is a month older than i am, she is a little bit shy but not around me. her only major problems in my opinion are that she is very jealous of her sister. she thinks her sister is so much more beautiful than her and she really looks up to her, also she tends to be extremely empathetic and she is easily manipulated by her family because of it. She gets guilted into doing things a lot. It all started on Christmas day. we went over to her parents house for xmas. her parents were there, her sister/boyfriend, her brother and his gf, 4 aunts/uncles and their kids, as well as grandparents. it was after dinner so we all decided to sit down and watch a movie while the rest of the family was in the other room around the dining room table. i was sitting on the left end of a couch and she was next to me on the right. to the right of the couch across the room was the tv. to the left of the couch was an armchair facing down the length of the couch towards the television, in the chair sat her sister and her boyfriend who lap she was sitting on. the chair wasn't reclined at all just laid back a little. well I’m sitting there looking to my right watching the movie and about 20 minutes in i feel something on my left leg.. I think to myself oh she must have bumped my leg so i move my leg over a little and continue watching the movie. 1 minute passes and once again i feel something on my leg except this time its rubbing up and down on my shin. i think to myself she must think that my leg is the couch so i start bouncing my leg and her whole foot starts moving. (mind you she is on her boyfriends lap at the time and he doesn't notice anything and my girlfriend is watching tv looking the opposite direction and i have my arm around her.) she doesn't react at all in fact she begins to pinch my pant leg with her toes and starts tugging on it. i look over at her and she is staring at me, not the movie then she smiles and winks at me. At this point im completely in shock and looking back at it now i should have opened my mouth and said what the fuck are you doing. however in my state of confusion at the time i ended up straightening out my legs so she cant reach my my leg. she repositioned herself again and tried to reach for my feet and i finally stood up and said i was going to go get a drink of water. while i was on my way back i noticed her looking me all up and down when i walked back into the room. i told(my g/f) i was ready to go and we left. Later that night i ended up talking to my girlfriend about it and told her everything that had happened and she was more or less in denial about it and didn't want to believe it had actually happened but she said she would talk to her about it next time she seen her. The next day she was at work and her sister came in and she said "so did you brush up against *'s leg at Christmas? you kinda made him uncomfortable." and her sister replied "i may have bumped his leg once or twice on accident, why does he always have to make things weird". she replied I don’t know and that was the end of that conversation. After she got home from work I asked her how it went and she said exactly what happened at work and i obviously told her I didn't think she handled it right & she needed to talk to her sister again and ask why she was trying to make moves on me etc. well then she proceeded to get mad at me because I didn't think she handled it right, in fact the very next day she made plans to go hangout with her sister and go shopping as if nothing had even happened. i told her to tell her sister she wasn't going to go hangout with her that I was going to go with her shopping so her sister ended up throwing a fit a guilting her into ditching me and going with her to go shopping. I was kinda pissed but I said whatever, her sister had some stuff to do in town first so she and I went and got some food before I dropped her off at **'s so she could ride with her sister. by the time her sister finished what she had to do in town it was almost 7pm and the day was completely gone. (Her sister) then said she didn't want to go shopping.. is it just me or does it sound like she did that just to spite me?? Anyway, later that night i told (my g/f) that i wasn't happy with what happened it and told her this may be the thing that drives a wedge between us in our relationship. i tried to explain to her that it would be life if i had a brother and my brother had a girlfriend and he was at my house for a family thing, while holding his girlfriends had walked by you and grabbed your ass. then when you told me about it not old did i not believe you but i got pissed at you for accusing him of such things. I'm more or less looking for advice on the matter and I'm not sure what i should do. im wondering how this will effect our relationship down the road and also im wondering if i should marry someone that wont stick up for me in situations like this. your thoughts will be appreciated. Thanks.
Ask the community | flirting
“Boyfriend couldn't cope with my depression”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   My boyfriend dumped me out of the blue in December, he has since admitted that it is because he could not cope with my depression - over the past year my illness has got worse and I also self harm. Only a week before he left me I had confided in him how low I was feeling and that I felt I needed to get help.... how he thought breaking my heart would help I do not know!! I have since tried to take my life and have reached an all time low. I have moved back into my parents home (I am 26 and had been living with my ex-boyfriend for a year but we had been together for 8 years!!) and I am now getting professional help. My ex knows all this and we are in contact every day - he says he wants to stay in contact and help me get better, he even came to see me last week and he looked a mess so clearly this has not been easy on him. I am hoping as I get better we might be able to work things out - am I mad? If I ever mention us getting back together he says it is too much too soon and that he doesn't know what he wants... I just want him back. If anyone has been through anything similar your story or advice would be appreciated..... thanks
Ask the community | depression
“Do I expect too much from my husband?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Tomorrow is our 25th anniversary. Actually, it is now 1:30am so TODAY is our anniversary. Over a year ago I began talking to my husband about what we might do to celebrate it; have a party, go away alone together, take a special trip, a big gift...etc. Over the past year I've brought it up a few times. A month ago I tried several times to get him to have a serious discussion about plans, have both of us participate and make some progress. I bring it up, he says, "oh, yeah, hmmm, I don't know, what do you think...." and then we get distracted or I just give up trying to involve him. Finally, I said, "Our 25th Anniversary is in a week and I don't want to spend the day alone, doing nothing and feeling sad." I clearly expressed my desire for to communicate and together plan what we'd do for it and I didn't want to be the only one bringing it up and doing the planning. I spent lots of time online looking into trips--or even just an overnight in a hotel in our town. I emailed some ideas. Then I came down with a bad sinus infection and have been very sick for the past week. I gave up planning. A few days ago he said, "I made reservations for dinner at Franco's (a very nice restaurant)." He didn't ask if that's what WE'D like--he just decided that's what we're going to do. I appreciate that he made the reservation but we often go out to dinner for a birthday or anniversary--I really wanted to do something special for our 25th. Yesterday was a national holiday--so he had the day off. At dinner last night I asked him if he was thinking of taking the day off of work. For what, he asked me. For our anniversary, I said. He acted like I had just gone too far and was upset that I "expected" that. Actually, his reaction upset me more than his having to work--like I was being a ball and chain, expecting something ridiculous. He left the dinner table and walked around the house, slammed the front door hard and when he came back he was close to tears. He said he's tried to do everything he could think of to make me happy, take care of me, especially while I've been sick (I have a chronic illness plus frequent sinus infections, colds, etc.) but he was exhausted. He said he doesn't feel he can make any plans for us because I might be sick or my elderly mother might need some help. He's been--and always is--very helpful, asking me if he can get anything for me, making a special trip to the store to buy me Fritos (which I crave when I'm sick, for some reason), etc. Generally, he is very "service" oriented. If I want something he will usually do it/get it/buy it. (Not luxuries or whims--but he makes dinner every night (he likes to cook), he often brings me coffee in the am or he'll make me an ice cream sundae for dessert, etc.). I wouldn't say he spoils me but he is very solicitous. But for the rest of the evening he'll disappear until he goes to bed. I feel like we spend very little one-to-one time with each other. His excuse of not making plans because I'm always sick made me feel worse because I know my illness limits him. Anytime I am angry or disappointed with him I find myself thinking how ungrateful I am because of all he does for me. Then I get into war within myself: yes, he does this and that...but I do that and this! Can't I just be angry or sad or disappointed without weighing out whether I have a right to be or not? He's been a good provider but he's not been great in the gift/important occasion department. When I've received little or nothing from him for Christmas or Birthday, he has mentioned that he buys me presents all year long--meaning that I buy things for myself with money he's earned. (I've worked off and on but have mostly been a stay at home mom--we have a daughter, and our son has Autism Spectrum Disorder.) Other forums I've read excuse men for forgetting or being otherwise lackluster in celebrating occasions. I don't buy it. I don't think it's any harder for men to remember or plan or shop. Am I being too unreasonable, too childish for being disappointed about, once again, having a lonely, unremarkable anniversary? I thought giving us a years notice and several reminders would assure us of a wonderful time celebrating 25 years. I didn't expect him to do anything on his own--I wanted to plan it together. But I was NOT going to plan it all on my own--especially not knowing his work/vacation schedule or how much money we wanted to spend. We love each other, there's no doubt. We get along very well most of the time. We have fun and laugh together. We think alike in almost every way. However, we never have sex. There's no hot attraction between us--and really never has been. I feel embarrassed about my 58 year old, 10 lbs overweight, untoned body. He does nothing to make me feel sexy or attractive--he can't even fake that he's insanely attracted to me. Sometimes I feel like a buddy more than a woman--his sexy wife. I find myself wishing he was more like other men--more aggressive (in ALL ways), more masculine (not that he seems effeminate), less passive, timid, insecure, afraid to make any waves or take a stand. He never, ever brings up something that bothers him about me, our relationship, something we should work on, what he wants but is missing between us...I wish he would participate in our marriage, have more than a lukewarm non-reaction to everything. Sometimes I wonder if I've married a wonderful, kind and caring man, but not the right kind and caring man for me--the one who lights my fire and the one who'd fight for and protect me. Sometimes I feel like I'm the protector/defender in the family. Other times--most of the time--I can't believe how lucky I am. I feel like I need a reality check. A group of unbiased people who can tell me if I'm selfish and have expectations that are too high--or maybe I need to move on?
Ask the community | drifting apart
“My girlfriend keeps pushing me away”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I have been with my girlfriend for 4 years and we have a good, loving relationship. Up until about 7 - 8 months ago we have had a good sex life but things have been changing. We kiss and cuddle and hold hands when we are out and about but whenever I try to be a bit more intimate I get a brush off comment like "I thought you were going to sleep" or " Thats enough kissing i'm tired". In fact most of the time she will just turn away in a way that i cant stroke her skin or kiss her neck. This is making me feel awful and is now adding to the problems because whenever I get that rejection which is now all of the time I dont even want to cuddle her or be close because it makes me feel unhappy because I dont feel any connection and feel as though she doesnt realise how hurtful it is to me. I realsise that my reaction is probably not good either as it is making the situation worse. however I have tried to talk about it and explain how she is making me feel. Every time we have a conversation about it we argue and cry and seem to make up and everything is fine. But in fact it isn't. Nothing changes. Things that she has mentioned to me are : She feels ugly and fat, she doesn't get turned on by me anymore and that I dont realsise that the foreplay starts hours before going to bed. All these things are difficult for me to hear becasue it makes me upset about how she feels and also is a massive kick in the stomach for me. However i'm a grown up and can accept the criticism. I am always telling her how beautuiful she looks and how pretty her face and hair are and that I love her very much. As for the comments about me, well, I suppose recently over that last couple of months the romance has not been superb but I still cook for her, clean the house and try to sort out the things that she has been struggling to catch up on recently like Ironing, banking, cleaning her car etc..... With regards to romance i think deep down I am starting to give up. I used to always buy Flowers, take her out to the theatre, go for an impromptu dinner, Cook a nice candle lit dinner at home and things like that. But now I cant really be bothered. I know making love after a date is not the be all and end all but isnt that all part of the romance. The stresses on are relationship are :-She is off to Afganistan for 3 months in January !!!! -She is short of money -She is working every hour that God sends -She is upset about her weight ( and she isn't overweight ) -She was emailing a work coleague last January with quite flirty intimate chat. She left her emails open one day and I noticed the emails. She said that she was going through a difficult time and was doubting our relationship, they nearly kissed but nothing else happened and she loved me very much.- I am facing a possible redundancy - Money is a little tight but ok ! - I get annoyed when she spends all day at work then comes home to spend most of the night on facebook or checking her work emails. She gets home from work at about 8pm every night which is driving me bonkers. I am going to stop writing now because I am getting upset writing and this is a long post anyway so most people probably wont read it all anyway. I hope everyone else is well though. X
Ask the community | drifting apart
“How to convince my BF to fight for us”
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 of nearly 8 years told me on new years eve that he doesn't think that things are working and he doesn't feel the same way about me anymore - he says he stil loves me more than anything but more like a best friend, although claims that he still fancies me but he feels that we have grown apart and the spark is no longer there. He says he is soo confused as he does not know what to do, he has felt this way for a while and hoped the feeling would go away and has tried to sort his head out but it has not worked, he doesn't want to say it's over so he asked me for 2 weeks of space so he can get his head together and is saying that if he still feels the same way then he will know for sure that it is over and if he misses me then will know that there is something still there and we can take things from there. We have lived together for a year (only weeks ago he had told me how great things have been since we moved in together!!) so my life has totally been turned upside down, he has gone to his parents and said i could stay at home but i cannot face being there alone so am staying at my mums. I did not see it coming, yes the past month he has been grumpy and i agree that we have drifted appart, but we were not arguing so i never thought that things were that bad, he had hinted he was going to propose this year. The reason i feel we have drifted appart is because we no longer do anything together as i think we took eachother for granted that we live together so seeing eachother every day at home was enough - we stopped making an effort, going on dates, having fun we just used to sit at home watching tv or he would go out with his friends/go to football/rugby. i see now that we need to make more of an effort, go out together, get the fun back but all he keeps saying is that he doesn't know as what if it doesn't change things what do we do then - i can't understand why he can even think of just walking away without trying, not when we have been so happy in the past? He is a very caring person and a big softy, kissing and cuddling me, always telling me he loves (he was even telling me that this time last week!!) infact people have always been jealous at how close we are/were which is why i cannot get my head round: a) how he can think of walking away b) why his life would be better off without me as he has plenty of freedom to see his mates and do what he wants now. I don't know what to do for the best, i have packed up my half of the flat but now don't know if that was wise - will he be relieved or would it make him think 'oh no what have i done?' - i texted him to explain, saying that if he did deside to try again that i felt we shouldn't go back to living together untill it felt right. I am trying sooooo hard not to contact him too much as it is space he has asked for but i was thinking of sending him a letter - what do you advise? Another idea i had was - He is a big football fan and in 8 years i have never been to a match with him so i was thinking of buying 2 away tickets and booking a hotel; i want this to show that i want to share in his interests and for us to get away and have some fun? would this be a good idea? i thought he would appreiacte this more than flowers. Any help/suggestions would be great.
Ask the community | drifting apart
“Girlfriend cheated, I can't get over it”
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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Alright so I met the perfect girl about two years ago who ended up being my first love and first serious relationship. She became my girlfriend, my best friend, my EVERYTHING! Then almost a year into the relationship I was going through so stuff that made me less available to spend quality time and very stressed out which put a huge strain on our relationship. My girlfriend began to go out with her friends all of the time and I never thought anything of it because I trusted her and was busy myself so I wanted her to have fun. One day later on down the line I see a picture that she was tagged in on Facebook with this guy behind her dancing with her. We had a rule that we wouldn't dance with anyone else and when I questioned her she said they took the picture right when he got behind her to dance with her... Being the (dumb) trusting boyfriend I was I accepted what she said without question and just asked her to remove the picture. Then a couple of weeks later following that incident she had a falling out with her roommate who supposedly posted that my girlfriend cheated on me on Facebook and my girlfriend told me about it and how it wasn't true and being once again the (stupid) trusting boyfriend I was I was receptive to what she said without question. Cheating was something that i didnt think she would ever do because I knew that she loved me dearly. I began to feel my self becoming more and more unhappy primarily to the great amount of strain that was put on our relationship because of what I was going through. My girlfriend was somewhat supportive but complained and didn't like it at all one bit. I thought about things for weeks and decided to break up with her because I needed time and didn't wanna do anything bad to her like cheat or anything. She was heartbroken and begged for me back but I refused. Months later I tried getting back with her and she was not making it easy for me at all. There was another guy who she was seeing but she still loved me and it showed and I knew I just needed to be patient so I was. She then decides toget some type of birth control that required her to have an std test and come to find out she has syphilis and I was likely to have to it as well because we had sex on several occasions. Being focused on wanting to get her back I completely brushed that off when she told me and she felt like she couldn't make me waitwait for any longer because I was the best thing that's happened to her and she dropped everyone and got back with me. Weeks following I found out that she lied about a guy she said she didn't have sex with and that she cheated on me back when I was going through that stuff and her roommate had posted it on Facebook and told me it wasn't true when it really was. I was completely crushed! I couldn't do anything but want to work things out because I had just gotten her back and wasn't ready for things to end. She made a 360 degree change after for the better and has shown me that she was sorry and loves me and would never do anything like that again. It has been 7 months and still to this day, I can't seem to forget about it and I feel like its preventing me from moving on with her. Things will be good for a couple of weeks and then something will happen or I'll see something that reminds me of what she did and it just brings me back to the situation and how much it hurt me. Still to this day there has been a lingering unhappiness that I just can't get over because of what she has done and I do not know what to do with myself! I wish I could just get over it so I can move on with this girl and my life! She has done everything she possibly can to show she is sorry and to make things better. Although I do want to move on with this girl I'm not most concerned with that. What I'm mainly concerned with is what the best thing for me to do for MYSELF is. Advice would be greatly appreciated.. I have been having way too many sleepless nights..Thanks! By the way.. My girlfriend and I are both in college.. I'm 20 going on 21 and she's 19.. Going on 20
Ask the community | cheating, trust
“Married, having an affair with younger 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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I am a married woman with children and I'm having an affair with a younger man (10 years younger) who's also in a relationship, and has a baby!! I know what we're doing is wrong but neither of us intended for it to get this far or for anyone to get hurt. My marriage is at an all time low at the moment and has been for a long long time, we just don't get on at all, constantly argue and there is no intimacy between us at all!! but I just plod on for the sake of my children - H (the other man) is more or less in the same position but he's not married just lives with his girlfriend and baby. We first started out just messaging each other general conversation but things progressed further with each of us confessing how we'd love to meet up - eventually we did at his house while his partner was out and one thing led to another!! We've recently met up in a hotel room and had the best time ever. I can't leave my marriage as it would destroy my husband and kids and he won't leave his girlfriend because of his baby, he says he can't leave her til his baby is old enough to leave home (which is a long way off!) We don't see each other as much as we'd like to as it's difficult for us to both getaway but message most days. I am at an all time low at the moment as I can't stop thinking about H and the times we do spend together 🙁 would love to hear from anyone who's been in the same position......and what I should do x
Ask the community | ongoing affairs
“My insecurity is killing our 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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Hello, I just didn't really want to talk about this with any of my friends and I am looking for an unbiased opinion. My boyfriend and I have been properly together for almost 7 months now and we've had our ups and downs. For this period of time we've been through so much together... through his mum being diagnosed with cancer in the very beginning of our relationship, through my personal problems involving my mum and my past, my emotional instability at some point and others. he's been by my side and I've also been there for him in every way I can. He's almost left a couple of times, but he just couldn't because he loved me too much. The truth is that we argue often, but for silly things and we always find a way to fix it. Sometimes, I feel so broken in comparison to him and other people I know. I've had a pretty emotional and rocky childhood because of my parents' separation and loads of issues concerning that, and also heartbreaks, falling out with friends,etc. At the age of 20 now I find myself so scared of loving someone, but at the same time so willing to love. I just wish I could love and let go of that fear that people always leave and that feeling that I'm never going to be good enough, because I can see how it ruins my relationships with people, not just my boyfriend, but my family and friends. I am a really nice person with a good heart, real fun and people just love to be around me. But then when they get close to me I can feel that I become this baggage for them. I am too emotional. It's so hard to fit everything I need to say to describe myself and my life at this one post. So, let's just get to the point. I am so scared of loosing my boyfriend. A few days ago he told me he didn't feel the same about me. But he explained that it's not that he loves me any less, but he gave an example: at night when we go to bed, before he'd just want to have sex with me, but now if he is too tired he'd go to sleep. I told him that's absolutely normal. After a few months of being together, especially when we've lived together for like more than half of that time, it's completely normal not to have sex every day. He also told me we spend way too much time together and he needs some time on his own to do his own things and he wanted to sleep at his room in his student halls for one night and I took this pretty badly , but still went through with it because of him. The next day when he came back to mine I was upset. I didn't like spending the night away from him. But he was so sweet. He said he missed me that night and he didn't want to spend any more nights away from me, but he just needed to do this to see how he feels. During the summer, he went back home, but he was with me every weekend and we had a lot of sex for those two days. And after he came back here for uni, we kept on having a lot of sex in the beginning and then the amount of sex we have gradually decreased. Is that okay? Does it mean that he doesn't want me anymore? Am I right to think it's normal or should I be worried about it? That's one thing that worries me. We are so good together, I can feel it. We dream of being together forever and love each other unconditionally. But we often end up arguing for really silly things such as my ridiculous jealousy (he hasn't given me any reasons to be jealous, but I am insanely jealous and insecure and I don't know how to deal with it. I apologize for being so jealous, but I think it's worse for me than for him. It just kills me inside. I'd appreciate some advice on how to deal with this as well.) or even things more stupid than that. I am actually ashamed of sharing them with you. Thank you for reading this! I am looking forward to some fresh piece of advice! Xxxxx
Ask the community | insecurity, jealousy
“Boyfriend is into transgender escorts”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ My partner of 2.5 yrs and I have just split, and I'm having a hard time dealing with it. We lived together for just over a year (in my house), he's late 30's....I'm mid 30's In March this year we both changed jobs and were probably having a little bit if a stressful time. For a period after this I felt like there was something just not right between us, and although I approached him a couple of times to talk my worries over he convinced me there was nothing wrong, and in time once our new jobs had settled we'd 'get back to normal'. My mind was settled for a short time but one night in mid may I went through his computer and mobile phone. I'd like to add that I felt shocking about this, but just had to ease my thoughts. I discovered he'd been watching transvestite porn, logging into sexual social network sites for transgender escorts, seeking out cross dressers services, emailing them with enquiries, and calling them. I was shocked and confused...I didn't go to work the next day, telling him I felt under the weather. I spent all day deciding how I was going to approach this and confront him. I felt so hurt and inadequate, but equally I thought if I could speak to him calmly he'd have an explaination. At worst I thought if he was confused about his own sexuality I didn't want him to feel judged or ashamed. When he got in from work, I asked him what he'd been doing during his 2 days he'd had off that week whilst I was at work...he just said not much really, playing the Xbox, tidying etc...I asked if anything else and he started to be uncomfortable with the interrogation! Eventually I asked if he'd been watching porn.... He laughed it off...and kept saying no. He was lying... I eventually told him I knew he'd been watching it, I knew he'd emailed and telephoned male escorts... He told me I was ridiculous and trying to cause an argument... When I'd searched his computer, I printed everything off....so I gave him the print outs. He was so embarrassed, he didn't know what to say, he clearly felt completely caught out. The only explaination he could offer me was 'it was just a joke, a one off stupid joke' and he'd never do it again. I didn't know what to believe and over the course of the next couple of days I just accepted what he had said and tried to get in with life. After 6wks I felt like there was something still not right, I tried to talk to him but he repeatedly would say I was been silly and nothing was wrong. Again I checked his computer and mobile and discovered each time he'd been off work and I was at work he'd been looking at and contacting transvestite escorts, watching porn of the same nature. I asked him if he'd been doing it again and he said no, he'd never do that again and jeopardise us like that again. I confronted him with what I found again.... He'd never stopped looking, in the six wks we had since the first time I found out. He says he's never met them, but I don't know if that's true or not, he lied about the whole thing in the first place so what's to say he hasn't lied about that. During the following week we tried to make things right again, he said he didn't want to lose us, and neither did I really but I didn't understand his interests in the escorts. 5 days later we'd gone out for a family celebration, had quite a lot to drink but had a great day. That night in my drunken state I mistakingly text a male friend with a text ment for my other half. When I fell asleep he checked my phone and saw it, thought the worst and wasn't happy (naturally). Even though my friend replied the next morning with a message that made it clear what I had sent wasn't meant for him. When I woke, he said it was all over. He couldn't do it anymore, that he felt like I cheated on him!! He said he was going to his parents for a couple of days to clear his head... 2 days later I came home from work to find everything that belonged to him gone. Since that day 4wks ago he won't talk, text, meet...nothing. It's like I don't exist to him anymore and I feel like I'm greiving a death. I have been to the doctors to ask for some help as I'm finding I just can't cope, I'm constantly in a state, hardly eating or sleeping. I feel completely inadequate, hopeless, not good enough.... Was I not good enough? Did I not fill his sexually desires? Has this been going on always and I didn't know? I feel like the breakdown is all my fault - I mean a text to a friend incorrectly - is that really relationship ending stuff?? I tried so hard to get him to open up to me about what he was looking at and explain things. I tried to make him feel like he wasn't been judged so he could feel comfortable to talk. What did I do wrong?
Ask the community | pornography, rejection
“Dealing with my spoiled girlfriend”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________  We’ve been together for 1.5 years( both 18) and it might be over soon. She was brought up ridiculously pampered and spoiled by her wealthy parents. She’s never had a job or had to work for anything and has enjoyed being handed things on a silver platter. I’m well off as well but I never had anything handed to me, I have a job, and spend sensibly. Basically every weekend she’ll come over and we’ll go to the mall where it’s mandatory to buy her whatever she wants. If I don't she pouts and makes me feel horrible. Sometimes she’ll ask nicely/suck up but other times she’ll just hold out her hand and say “ sweetie, money”. Since I want to be nice( and admittedly a doormat) I give in. It makes me mad though when she throws in little comments like “ You’re like a little piggy bank” or when we’re with her friends she’ll tell them how “ well trained” she has me.( that one made me sick) or what she used to do until she finally quit was I would give her the money and or credit card and she would pat me on the head like a dog and say “ That's a good boy. Give me a kiss”. I’ve always enjoyed things like going on drives, walks, movies, reading( you can’t read as a couple but still) etc. I’ve asked her before why she doesn’t reciprocate( other than xmas and birthday) and she’ll tell me “Girlfriends don’t spoil boyfriends” If we’re not shopping we’re with her friends showing off the things I bought her. If I break up with her, she will go around the school lying about me and bashing me. Do I take that risk and dump her? My family says dump her. And to make matters worse, she's excellent in bed and if I break it off then...
Ask the community | finance, compatibility
“No sex is affecting my self-esteem”
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'd like to apologize in advance for this being so long. There's just a lot of background information that I think is important because I feel like some parts of my story are unique; I've been doing a lot of internet research, and I've haven't found someone in a similar position.) My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 3 and 1/2 years, and we've been living together for almost a year and half. We started having sex about 2 and 1/2 years ago. The core problem is that I feel like we don't have sex very often and it makes me feel bad. For the most part, this has been true our entire relationship. As soon as we started having sex (about 9 months after we started dating), the frequency of intimate activity dropped dramatically; when we were still fooling around (and virgins), he would want to do something 3 or 4 times a week. Now, we'll have sex/fool around/anything maybe once or twice a month. It makes me feel unwanted, fat, and ugly. My self-esteem is in the tank. Also, because I've talked to him about this so many times, now I feel kind of dirty or wrong for wanting to have sex. And, I feel helpless because, in my eyes, I can't do anything about it. He has always been the one to initiate sex. I became too discouraged to try anymore a long time ago because he either doesn't notice when I'm trying to initiate or (when he does notice) he doesn't want to have sex. I've tried every trick in the book to turn him on, but it doesn't matter. The one time I managed to initiate he couldn't perform. So, we only have sex when he wants to, and as a result, I feel like I can't even turn him on, which makes me feel worse. He doesn't feel bad about the lack of sex. I'm not sure if he doesn't notice it, or if he doesn't need it. He says he doesn't often masturbate, and I know he doesn't look at porn. He's so busy that he usually just stays home with me, so I know he's not having an affair either. Whenever I've talked to him about it, he's never given me a reason for not wanting to have sex. Once he explained that he feels a little self-conscious because things don't always .... "work" for me easily. I've told him that I don't care and that I just wish he would show me that he loves me and finds me sexually desirable (since he doesn't tell me that I'm pretty), but it doesn't matter. To me, it's not a physical need but an emotional one. To make things worse, the reason why I'm so hard to turn on is because I don't ever expect him to follow through. He likes to "tease" me, doing the same types of things he does when he wants to have sex but not follow through. He says he needs to touch me to get turned on, but that everything shouldn't have to lead to sex, so I shouldn't worry about it. But, I can't help but feel like he doesn't want me anymore when he touches me and doesn't get turned on. So, I don't know what to do. I can't remember the last time we had sex, and I'm starting to resent him. He tried to get us to have sex a couple of weeks ago, but I was still half-asleep, and he didn't even try to make things work for me. I feel like he's becoming a selfish lover, only concerned about his needs, which was never true before. I'm desperate. I can't go through the pain and humiliation of talking to him again. I've been trying recently, and I can't get him to have sex with me either. Since I clean up after him and take care of him (which is another story), I feel like a roommate or a mother, not a girlfriend. The whole situation makes me feel terrible about myself, and the plain truth is, we're not really that compatible in terms of our interests, hobbies, etc. either. I'm starting to question whether or not I can be with him for the rest of my life, which has always been the plan. What should I do?
Ask the community | sexless, confidence
“Husband is obsessed with his family!”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ We've been married ten years we have two kids. My husband spends all his free time with his family. On his way home from work he passes his brother mother and sisters house and every night has to stop and see them. He should be home by 5 but misses dinner and time with our kids because he shows up at 7 or 8. He doesn't work on the weekends but ALWAYS makes plans to do something with his mother/sisters or brother. His mother is not married and obese and needs help with everything. His sister has two year old twins and is seven months pregnant with no BF or spouse and lives with her mother as well. They ask him for help with everything and he will drop everything to go help them. I can beg him for weeks to help me with a project and it still never gets done. Even if they don't need anything he still has to hang out with them every weekend and most week nights. I like his family but I want OUR family to have some quality time alone! It's to the point that I get extremely angry when they invite us for a BBQ or birthday party or just to come over. I've begged him for alone time, he makes me feel like I'm being selfish because they need his help. It's been like this for years. Six months ago I filed for a divorce assuming he can't possibly love me he does nothing with me. He begged me to take him back for three months he wouldn't eat or sleep and lost sixty pounds...I dropped the divorce. We talked a lot about our problems during that time and I thought things would change. I found out on Facebook today that he's volunteered to refinish all the furniture for his sisters babies room this weekend! Last weekend was spent painting his other sisters new house. I don't know what to do anymore, we fight whenever I bring it up he says I'm being selfish. I want to tell every family member to leave us alone and find their own husbands...but there will still always be a BBQ or Birthday party anyways that we have to attend! I can't stand it anymore I want time with my family!
Ask the community | family, values
“My affair is tormenting 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 need some help as I'm going through a really difficult time mentally and physically, and need to find a coping strategy. Sorry, it';s a bit of a ramble....! I've been with my wife for 12 years, married for seven, and we have a beautiful three year old daughter. We have a good standard of living, both have high profile, busy jobs, and are a good 'unit'. But, we're both deeply unhappy with our life, and have drifted apart. We function, but there is no love, no physical intimacy and no real social life. Last year, I met someone at work. I had flirted with others before and had occasional liasions. But this was completely different. The physical and mental attraction was instant; she was in a relationship at the time, but it soon ended as he walked out on her. She has three adult children from a previous marriage. To cut a long story short, our relationship quickly grew from slightly flirtatious texts and emails to a full blown physical relationship. Within a couple of months, we were head over heels in love, and trying everything to meet, texting and emailing all the time, late night chats on MSN and enjoying each other's company. We talked about living in our own little world. I started seriously considering leaving my marriage, but said to my partner that I would not leave 'for her' but 'for me'. She accepted that and never put any pressure on me. As things got more and more serious, we talked a lot about wanting to be open about our relationship, do things as a couple with other people, all the usual things. She increasingly found the separation at weekends etc. harder and harder to bear, and wanted more and more 'us' time. I found that incredibly flattering, but also very difficult as I knew I had to make a decision. My wife was out of work and my job was at risk, and I din't make the decision. Then, in May, she ended it all abruptly as she couldn't take the wanting more anymore. Within a week we were back together. In June she ended it again (while we were in bed!) after a work night out where someone had made a throw away comment about how good a life I had. Again, we were back together after a week, and she said she was reconciled to carrying on as we were. We then went our separate ways on holiday, which gave us both a chance to re-evealuate things after a difficult couple of months. We managed to text a bit while we were away, and came back really looking forward to seeing each other. To cut a long story short, she ended it again a month ago in a very bad way, just ignoring me and then leaving me to 'dump' myself by text! She had met someone else, and appears to be having a wail of a time, although that has never factored in the reasons for the split...purely timing I think. At the time I was on extended leave from work, and just fell apart. I headed to the hills, literally, for a few days. We met a few days later for a coffee and we talked a bit. Over the next couple of weeks, we stayed in touch, varying between light hearted, friendly chat, the odd slightly flirtatious message to full on emotional outpourings from me. She wanted to stay friends., but found it really hard to explain her emotions. I effectively left my wife for two weeks, but moved back in and am now in the spare room! We met last week for dinner, and I convinced myself I wouldn't be needy or emotional, just enjoy the time together. We managed that for most of the night. But at the end I said I just couldnt stay in touch as a friend. I regretted it the moment I dropped her off. Supidly I then went the other way, and asked her, at some point in the future, to marry me.....she declined! After some more chat the following day, we agreed to take a break of a few weeks, but then she texted me on Friday as she was in a meeting where my name had been mentioned. She told me how handsome I am lol! We drifted along for a few days again, but on Weds of this week, I called halt again. I just couldnt handle it. I feel so many emotions. I havent slept properly for a month, have lost a stone in weight, although thankfully I havent hit the bottle! I want what is best for her, and I don't want her to be looking over her shoulder all of the time, worrying about my emotions. I feel terrible guilt that I didn't act earlier, and tremendous sadness that we have missed a great opportunity to make things work between us. I am really struggling to stay in touch as a friend, but cannot think of life without her. Her coping mechanism is to carry on as normal, but deep down she is in a mess too....she tells me she is sick and that she loves me and sometimes doesnt sleep. If she says something even slightly flirtatious, I have hope; if she doesn't, I lose hope and think she is stringing me alone (which she isnt). If I get too emotional, I make it difficult for her, and if I don't I think she may think I don't care. I dont know how to cope, or what to do for the best. I don't know what she really wants. Her happiness is the most important. But I don't think I am strong enough to walk away for ever. I try and kid myself that one day we will be together.... romantic visions of a meeting on the eiffel tower one spring day, you know the sort of thing! But I just don't know. All I do know is that she is the love of my life, and I am hers. Keen to hear opinions.
Ask the community | cheating, ongoing affairs
“Why doesn't my boyfriend want 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 boyfriend and I have been together for 2 years now. And we have been really happy and everything has been great up until about 3 months ago. Until then we were great. We couldn't keep our hands off of each other and he would always hug me and grab me and kiss me. He would hold my hand and do all the things a boyfriend should do. He would also initiate sex with me a lot and I would initiate it with him and it would be fantastic sex. And it would last a long time. However in the last few months he hasn't hugged me or when I try to hug him he doesnt put his arms around me. When I want to kiss him he just ignores me completely. When I go to hold his hand he just pulls it away from me. And he hasn't tried to have sex with me at all. Even when I try to initiate it he doesn't want to. I've tried everything, I've let him choose my underwear, I've bought lingerie for him, I've tried letting him decide what we do in bed, I've tried being the one who takes charge. NOTHING is working. And especially lately on the odd occasion we do have sex it's like he's not there, he doesn't touch me, he doesn't look at me, I get nothing from him. And it doesn't last that long, he either can't keep an erection or goes for about 15 minutes and just stops randomly. I don't know what to do anymore. I'm getting tired of feeling like I'm not wanted. He assures me that nothing is wrong but I just don't turn him on anymore and I want things back to how they were. I love him so much and I just don't know what to do Any ideas?
Ask the community | sex, rejection
“I don't trust my man's female friend”
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'm new here... I can't discuss this with anyone in my life, so *really* I hope you can help me wrap my head around this problem. Lately, I've been stressed by a new addition in my boyfriend's life: his female friend from work. He and I are in our 20s and have been together for two years. We've had a solid and happy relationship until this point...and it's still mostly happy as long as his "friend" doesn't come up in conversation. The summary is this: I don't trust his female friend AT ALL. And I feel that my boyfriend should be more alert to the red flags that I'm seeing from her. Henceforth I will call this girl "Lacey" and I'll call my boyfriend "Joe." Here's the facts on Joe: - He's extremely mellow by nature. - He's nonjudgmental (a little too much, in my opinion) - He's extremely loyal and respectful towards women. - He's a clear and honest communicator. - My happiness is one of his greatest priorities, but he won't compromise his values or beliefs to please me. - He gets sad about the fact that he has very few friends. He doesn't want to lose Lacey's friendship. Here's the facts about me: - I'm pretty smart and diplomatic. - I'm a pretty good judge of character and strongly dislike unethical people. - I'm not a jealous person and know that I can't change someone or dictate how to live their life. - If there is a conflict, I always scrutinize my feelings and perspective before the other person's. Here's the facts on Lacey: - She's in her mid-twenties and is single. - She comes across as attractive and normal.... until you know her backstory. - She got pregnant as a teenager and has two kids by two men. She was married to Dad#2 until he cheated. Then she started cheating WITH him on his currently-pregnant girlfriend. She felt zero guilt about this. Now Dad#1 has temporarily moved into her apartment with his new girlfriend. Lacey is now cheating with him instead. Again, she feels no guilt for doing this. Besides those scary facts, this is my biggest problem with her: She seems clueless about proper behavior when being friends with a man in a relationship. Here are some examples: - When Joe and I first started hanging out with her, we'd go out every weekend. Then I started realizing she had no interest in being friends with me. She ignored my existence 90% of the time and only talked to Joe about work or her life. Also, she would only text him, not me. I found it very rude and started not wanting to hang out with her. - While she was cheating with Dad#2, she would show Joe VERY EXPLICIT texts that Dad#2 would send her. Things like, "I wanna lick your *bleep* and make you *bleep* while you *bleep* my *bleep." I think it's very inappropriate that she showed these to my boyfriend. - She came over once to hang out. I got tired at midnight and went to bed. Instead of leaving soon after (which seems proper to me), she stayed and talked with Joe until after 1:00am. - She has asked to have dinner with Joe on a Friday/Saturday evening a few times. Once, they were out for about 6 hours. I ended up going to bed by myself. My boyfriend insisted that it was fine and normal. I feel it wasn't right. - The last time she came over, she kept pressuring my boyfriend to smoke a cigarette with her on our balcony, knowing that I wasn't happy about it. I didn't like the vibe I got from that. During this same evening, she talked about the banter she & Joe engage in through text. She sounded like a teenager bragging about thinly-veiled flirtation: "Omigod, like, he's SO MEAN to meeee! He said I was uglyyyy," she said while laughing. "Even when I make little sad faces in my text, he's still mean to meee!" ......... I just sat there like, Really? You think I wanna hear about what you two banter about? Joe insists that he knows what flirtation is, and doesn't flirt with her. - In the past month, she quit her job at the place where she and Joe worked. Now she has a lunch shift that coincides with Joe's. They've gotten lunch together a few times now. And she has posted two Instagram photos of them at lunch together. She likes referring to him as her BFF ("best friend forever"). In the second photo, she was pressed against his side with her hand wrapped around his upper arm. It was a pose that could be construed as either innocent or a bit too cozy. So that's it in a nutshell. I keep trying to avoid blaming Joe for condoning and going along with her questionable behavior (especially those dinners they used to get). I don't want to blame him because, all this time, he's been 100% upfront and honest about their interactions, and he said he'd never be inappropriate or cause problems. He also thinks I'm judging her too harshly and reading too far into her behavior. I think he's ignoring red flags, ESPECIALLY the fact that she's a shameless cheater! And I think he's egging her on by condoning questionable behavior: letting her take pictures of them together, buying her a funny shirt, texting her regularly, etc. I just don't know how to feel about this, guys. I hope you can tell me your thoughts about this. I know that asking him to end their friendship is out of the question. That's not my job as his girlfriend. But am I crazy for thinking she's behaving inappropriately? (Or is he behaving inappropriately too?) Am I crazy for thinking he shouldn't be hanging around with a woman who cheats shamelessly? Am I crazy for thinking that spending evenings alone with her is inappropriate from now on, now that they have the opportunity to get lunch together? I would really appreciate any advice or thoughts you guys have on my situation. It's so hard feeling so alone. :'(
Ask the community | trust, someone else, flirting
“Girlfriend gave oral sex to her colleague”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hi everyone, This is my first time posting a question. I have been going out with my girlfriend for just under 6 years now and we have had a very stable relationship minus a few rough patches due to stress from everyday lives such as work and money. Over the last year or so we haven't really been spending that much time in the bedroom, sometimes this was due to me being preoccupied and other times her. We decided on having certain intimate nights at weekends and one in the middle of the week which I thought had brought us back to our once comfortable sexual lives. The last 2 months I've been changing jobs and have been extremely stressed after work and sometimes spent the majority of weekends applying for different roles and spending a lot of time on the phone, this is where I think the problems may have started to begin. Due to me being very busy my partner had decided to work some overtime too for extra money and to give me more time to myself (or so she had said) this was usually 1-2 nights mon-friday anywhere from 2-3 hours per evening. To cut a long story short she recently left her skype open on my laptop and she had been talking to a good girlfriend of her's about us and how she wasn't happy and how she'd been going to a colleagues place for an hour or two after work and had really gotten to like him and had developed sexual feelings for him.. without going into the details of the full conversation she had been visiting him at least once a week at his flat and performing oral sex on him after watching a movie or after he cooked her dinner. Part of the conversation was how she didn't want to pursue relations with him but really enjoyed his company and pleasing him in such a way for cooking her dinner and keeping her company and how it made her feel really good pleasuring such a nice guy and how it made her feel very powerful and attractive. Her friend was actually very shocked and didn't really condone it but the part that really hurt was that I know she was coming home to me after seeing him and I feel very betrayed knowing I've been kissing her and such without knowing. Needless to say we've now broken up and she seems truly sorry and is even willing to leave the job she works at in order to distance herself from him but I am truly lost as to what to do. Any advice would be great! Thanks
Ask the community | sex, cheating
“I hate my partner but we have a 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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________  He's not a bad person. But sometimes I just feel like I hate him. Everything he says, his presence in a room just makes me want to run away. He's a good father, we have a wonderful daughter and I guess that is why I have stayed for so long. We have been together for 6 and half years and I'd say I've known things weren't right for about 5 years. Our daughter is three. I love my daughter so much and want the best for her but I just don't know if I can carry on for much longer. But how can I do that to my daughter? And it's not just taking her away from her father, we have a nice house and a good relationship with his family who help out a lot. Practically our relationship works. The logistics are good, if we split up then we would probably end up with shared custody of our daughter and I want her to have a stable upbringing and not to be carted between two homes. I want to love him... but I feel like I don't even like him. I keep thinking back to when we got together and I just think of events where I should have ended it with him. I have actually tried to end it with him more times than I can remember. Even before we had a child. But he always talks me round. Every time. I just can't leave. I don't think I have the will power. He will cry, or overwhelm me with complements, or give me a sob story and tell me what a good person I am. And then for about half an hour I feel like I want to be with him and that things will be ok. Pretty pathetic right? But then the arguments... well they're vicious. We throw insults about each others family at each other and he says stuff to me which has made me feel so worthless which I don't even want to repeat. And it's always my fault. I always start the fight. Apparently. I 'attack' him. But I'm always the one who ends up sobbing and sometimes after a fight I will just go to bed even in the middle of the day and be unable to get up again. He just won't stop. I want him to leave me alone and even hiding under the covers as a thirty year old woman and humming with my fingers in my ears won't block out the things he is saying to me. He will normally come to me once I'm completely worn out and do the whole 'you're a good person' spiel. I feel trapped. I have been suicidal. I am incredibly bitter and just feel resentful to him almost all the time. You will probably think I am a terrible mother but I'm not. We are both good parents and the really bad stuff we keep away from our daughter. She is a happy confident little girl. From the day that I got pregnant all I have cared about is making sure she is happy and healthy. I don't want to ruin that. I don't want to take her away from her lovely home and her father who she adores. I know suicide is ridiculous and that would completely ruin her life and I would never do anything but I am just really depressed and I don't know if there is any way to improve my relationship. I want to love him but it all just feels so fake when I try to act like I do... Help
Ask the community | arguments, despair
“My wife keeps texting her co-worker”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   My wife recently took a new job. I will start off by saying she is very honest, loyal and has a history of being good friends with other men as well as women. I have never doubted her loyalty to me and continue to believe that she will be faithful. In addition, to be fair, I can be jealous at times (she never gets jealous) and have had moments of making something out of nothing on occasion. In her new job, she immediately became friends with a male co-worker who I know is mid-40s (she is 31). She insists its nothing more than a friendship and that is her intention which is all that matters. They did end up out together one night for drinks after a few co-workers left and then a few days later he bought her an expensive bottle of wine which she told me about. I attempted to blow this off trusting my wife. The issue came up when I discovered texts from this man over the course of an evening until after midnight, including songs and videos he was sending her and a 30 minute phone conversation while I was out that evening. I then looked at her computer (I know i shouldnt have) and found that they were instant messaging each other all day at work. Nothing inappropriate but it wasn't all focused on work either. I confronted her after seeing this occur over several weeks - she insisted nothing was going on, he apologized the day after he texted and called her at night and that she had no bad intentions. Since then I assume they instant message each other during work and recently was at home and saw him text her at 10pm. I asked why he was texting her and she got pissed saying i didnt trust her. I trust my wife but I dont trust this other individual that I know sits next to her and works with her every day. She asked me what I want her to do - the problem is I want her to figure it out herself that she shouldn't respond to him after a certain time period. Am I wrong? I hate fighting with my wife and we see this very differently but I don't think I am wrong.
Ask the community | trust, someone else
“My girlfriend completely shuts down”
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 girlfriend and I have been together for 2.5 years or so now. Things are very serious, and I definitely see myself marrying her someday. We love each other a lot and we barely fight. When we do, it's usually short-lived and we don't leave mad at each other. But on occasion, we do get into bigger fights. Today, we fought big time for the first time in a while. I explained to her why I was upset and annoyed with a particular situation. I told her why I was frustrated and exactly what I was frustrated about. She completely shut down, but was clearly upset. I kept trying to ask her what was wrong and why she was upset, but she continued to shut down. I kept trying to guess what was wrong, but I was so frustrated that I left after about 30-45 minutes of me begging her to talk to me and her literally saying nothing, but occasionally shrugging her shoulders. I didn't know how to fix the situation if she wasn't willing to talk. After I got home, she texted me a picture of some post that she saw online that explained her emotions exactly. It said: "I completely shut down when I'm upset and it is upsetting my partner. I won't talk or move I just kind of stare off into space and I am generally unresponsive. This is how my outside reacts. On the inside I am screaming at myself to move or do something but it is like my body just won't react. I want to talk to him about why I'm upset but it's like my body won't let me. He gets so mad when I won't respond but he just won't understand that I can't. I'm just so afraid that this could end our relationship and I don't want that to happen. I want to fix this." How can I work with her so we can both get what we want? Every time we fight, she will shut down because she is upset. I have no idea why she is upset and I can't help her. I'm forced to guess what is wrong and what is upsetting her, and usually I'm incorrect. I can't fix the original fight unless I know why she got upset, but she can't talk about it. How can I get her to express her concerns while being mindful of the fact that her body shuts down and won't let her talk to me when she's upset. Thanks.
Ask the community | communication, arguments
“My wife only gives me oral sex, nothing else“
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   We've been married over ten years. We love each other. Everything else is really really good. We get along, we laugh, we spend time together. We're literally soul mates.The wife will give me a bj a couple times a week and she is really really good at it. There are no problems here. I'll admit I have a really high libido, I'm strongly in the mood at least once every day but usually twice. I'm really happy with activity every day though, but our average frequency is more like every other day... unless something crazy comes up. Sometimes it's every day if things are going really good (low stress times). But again, I'm ok with every other day. I don't really enjoy masturbating any more because I would just prefer her. I do not look at porn either, no interest in that at all. No interest in other women either. She has told me she is horny about once a day. If she hugs me with any sexuality at all it's an instant erection. She likes how she makes me excited so easily. She told me it makes her feel confident and know that I'm attracted to her, which is an understatement. She's very very attractive too. She has people come up to her and flirt all the time. Here's the problem. This has been going on for quite a while now. She rarely kisses me more then 10 seconds. She may let me kiss her neck and breasts, but lips... not much. She'll let me touch her body everywhere... except her vagina. That's very very rare. And if she does let me touch there it's for less then a minute. And she will not, under any circumstances, have intercourse with me. Ever. I have talked to her about it... ALOT, and she says my size scares her... that it hurts her. I don't think I'm a monster down there. I'm about 8" depending on how excited I am. Interestingly, if I masturbate it's barely 6 inches... She's the only thing that excites me really. She has also told me I am bigger now then when we met... she might be right because I swear I used to be about 7 before, and it seems bigger. When she does oral on me I might be a little over 8 sometimes at the peak of it right before I finish when it's really intense. She also says she literally loves giving me bjs, she really enjoys it and I don't think she is lying. She also tells me it's enough pleasure for her just doing that for me. If I say I want to thrust more (I say it other ways, many other ways, dirty or sweet or clean or naughty whatever)... anyways, if I say I want to thrust more, implying I want to have intercourse, she'll let me do it orally instead. Even kinda rough and deep, whatever I want orally just no intercourse. I prefer the feeling of being completely inside whenever we do things and she can do that (deep throat) almost all the way, almost the whole time she gives me oral. When it comes to oral she does it almost anyway I want it. With oral, she will do almost anything I want. That isn't a problem at all. She is just worried I will want the same kind of feeling with intercourse, but I told her I would control myself and not try to push it in like that all way. She says she will eventually try it (we have before, we used to all the time), but she's been saying that for months now. I think it is the combination of lack of affection and no intercourse that is really bothering me. If it was just the no sex, but we kissed a lot more I might accept her reasons. If we had sex and didn't kiss I'd probably still be worried. If she let me pleasure her down there and we kissed I'd believe her reasons. Unfortunately, it's all three... little kissing, very little pleasure for her, and no intercourse. I'm sorry if this is coming across pornographic that's not my intention I assure you. Everything else I've read is always men saying they cannot get any oral sex or any sex at all... One thing I read was a guy saying his wife constantly gave him oral all the time, but maybe that was a joke. I'm wondering if there are people who are going to say I'm really lucky that the only thing I have to do in my sex life is get incredible oral sex almost every other day. Maybe I am? I'm just really bothered by what is NOT happening. I want to be intimate with my wife again. I tell her, we talk about it. She assures me it's just my size that scares her. That it will hurt, but I say I'll be as gentle as I can be. She always open to doing the bjs as described above, no problem. But never anything else... again: little kissing, very little pleasure for her, and no intercourse. I do try to do these other things often... very often. But I'm always pushed away in one form or another. I'm really bothered by this. Am I crazy? Do I actually have it really good and I'm just trying to have my cake and eat it too here? Should I worry? Why do you think things are like this? Does anyone have experience with this? Any advice would be appreciated. Maybe I need to hear how I should quit complaining? Maybe I need to hear what people think is wrong here?  Oh, and sorry for the novel of a post. I felt I really needed to spell it all out honestly to the random people on the Internet.
Ask the community | sexless, intimacy
“Husband always breaks and loses things!”
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 and I have only been married for a year, but we are having some real problems already. He is great around the house and helping with our new baby but he literally breaks or loses something nearly every day. It's getting to a point where I am getting so stressed and upset when I have to replace yet another thing we can't afford (or go without) that it's making me ill. I am at my wits end and have no idea how to help him take better care of things. I have tried talking to him about it and emphasising the importance of looking after posessions. It's not even just his own things he loses/breaks. It's the children's things, phones, wallets, money, keys, clothes. The list is endless. He also broke our bed, computer, camera, loft door etc. I have no doubt that each time it has been accidental, but it is getting me so down I have even thought of leaving at times. I don't want that at all as we do love each other and have a lot in common. I know he doesn't value material things as much as I do and I wonder if this is a subconcious thing, but I need some kind of advice and solution suggestions. Please help, I can't afford to carry on like this...literally!
Ask the community | marriage, new parents
“Caught my partner watching porn”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I dont know what hurt me the most. The fact i thought i knew him and thought he wasnt like that, the fact he KNOWS i dont like it and ive told him it would really hurt me or the fact he told me not to come round and pick him up and instead he'd wait for the car and meet me at mine in an hour (well now i no why he didn't want me to turn up!) Walking in on him last week really shocked me. His face when he slammed his laptop down and ran to the door and almost stopped me from coming in was wierd!! And i am SUCH a fool! Immediatly i thought porn but even though he had no pants on i still reminded myself not to assume as ironically its our 1 year anniversary next week n i thought he may be booking something. Ha!! Anyway, i asked him if it was good (i was actually only joking as i didnt see the toilet roll until after id asked it) n he said no not really n i nearly broke down in tears. Anyhow long story short i stormed out n drove home with my phone in my bag assuming he'd be ringin or txtin asking why i left but NOTHING. It took me 20-25minutes to get home n then wen he did txt he had a go at me!!! So when i phoned him (really upset and shouting) he initially said he did it for me. Later when he admitted he didnt know why he did it i then got him to admit that actually he was lieing about "doing it for me". He claims he cant remember me telling him how much it would hurt me and says its the first time he's ever done it. However im finding it hard to believe that its such a coincidence that the first time he does it since being with me is the time i walk in on him doing it. I dont know what to do. Its our anniversary on Friday n ive only just started being able to put my arms round him n let him get close in bed and kissing and this happened last wednesday! We have good sex n he does very nice things for me but the fact he obviously doesnt listen to me or care about my feelings means i'm struggling to get over it. How can i trust he wont do it again?? Please help!
Ask the community | pornography, trust
“Affair with a close friend and neighbour”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I've been married for more than 8 years and I can say I am happily married. We are both in our mid 30's and my husband is supportive. He completely adores me! I also love him very much. I love being with him. Actually, we have that kind of relationship everybody "envies" and considers very balanced. About 3 months ago I started to have an affair with my neighbour. We both have children who are friends and we have always spent a lot of time together. It all started off innocently enough and over the years we flirted and started to become emotionally attached. We discussed and shared lot of things in past. He is intelligent person and good friend of my husband. Most of time my husband use to travel for his work. Approx 3 months back i visited his home for some work. His wife and kids were away from home. After having some normal discussion he touched me i dont know what happened to me. In moment of heat, i allowed him. Since then it happened few times more. Now i feel very unsecure. He keep asking after every few days. I deny but he says he loves me and need me. He says he wont get same feeling with his wife. He is also married and has no intention to leave his wife. I don't intend to leave my husband and my kid, but this situation is getting a little out of control for me. At least in what concerns my stability or sanity. Sometimes I just don't know exactly what I should do or what I really want. Go on with this relationship or end it? I'm getting very confused and the problem is that if I was not married to my husband, I would like to be married to this man - we also have a lot in common and that's what strikes me - how many times in your life are you supposed to meet your "soul mate"? I thought I had met mine 8 years ago when I met my husband (and I still do)? What should I do?
Ask the community | someone else, crush
“I want to know details of my wife's affair”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   My wife and I have been together for 15 years. We are very compatible and get on well but for some years we have been drifting and not appreciating one another. We have two wonderful children whom we both adore and who we love raising together. A few years ago my wife decided to focus more on herself. Where previously I would have considered that we were soul mates it was painful to see her separate from me and I couldn’t rationalize how the desire to set up a business meant no longer sharing her thoughts and feelings with me. I realized a couple of years ago that I was no longer her priority and then about a year ago I asked if she was still in love with me. She said no, nor did she know if she wanted to stay with me. I wondered about an affair but she always said that she’s too busy and that this wasn’t her. She is obsessed with time on her own, in part because of her perception that I am clingy and also mainly because she just needs a break from the kids and her day to day life. She went away for a weekend in June with some girlfriends. She mentioned that she’d met guy there that she used to go to school with. Because I trusted her I thought nothing of it. Sex has been patchy between us since having kids and we started sleeping together more regularly after this trip away. I just put it down to the fact that she’d had a good time and I felt happy that I had been able to support her in doing this. We spent some time with her family in France this summer. I needed to return home to work and my wife was very keen to stay in France for two further weeks. This confused me as she hates the countryside and she gets stressed with being alone with the kids. Clearly she wanted some time apart from me. Just before I left she mentioned that this guy was to visit her with some girls. Again, I thought nothing of it. While I was alone back home I think we spoke about three times and the communication from her was friendly but very matter of fact. Things were awful when she came back and she seemed very cold and distant. I felt suspicious of this guy and asked our son where they’d both slept. He said one thing and my wife had said another. She’d left her inbox open on the PC and I saw quite a passionate email between her and him and a photo of them together during the original weekend away and I knew that there had been an affair. When I confronted her, her reaction was to say I was crazy and that we have problems. I told her what I’d read and then she admitted emotional infidelity but she denied sex because she had her period at the time. I asked her why she did it and she said because he desired her and made her feel like she did when she was young. It turned out that while we were apart she spent hours and hours on her own reading letters from when she was a teenager and listening to music from that time too. I guess she’s having some kind of mid-life crisis, something that she recognized and promptly signed up for therapy with a relationship counsellor I’d located a few years ago to try to do something for our stagnation. This discovery has prompted the most amazing rekindling of our relationship. We have started to have an extremely active sex life and are close physically in a way that we hadn’t been in years. We have started to diet together and to exercise more. I recently ran my first half marathon and I have lost 15kg. We are attending a tantra course together and have two weekends alone planned plus concerts and holidays. We spend our evenings talking and planning and sharing and feeling very connected. For the last few years she has been telling me that there is no such thing as unconditional love. What this experience has shown me is that this isn’t true: that I am still in love with her and that I love her unconditionally. I have told her that I forgive her and I believe this. I have also apologized sincerely for all the million and one things that I did over the years to make her distance herself from me. She feels now that I really listen to her. Our children are so important to us, but I feel that our relationship is more central to our family now. The children see that we are in the bedroom more than before and don’t sleep with our pajamas on but they are happy to play with each other and we still do a lot with them. The one remaining cause for difference is that I don’t really know what happened between them so much as “nothing really happened”. My view is that if this is the case then just tell me what happened and let’s move on. Of course I have doubts that they slept together or at the very least shared our bed but I’d rather know that than feel that she continues to hide things from me. And I’d rather know this now than to discover this years later. Her view is that she is an individual and entitled to her privacy. I agree but not with regard to infidelity. I don’t want to bring it up any more and she has said that she won’t tell me although annoyingly that she was going to tell me. He lives in another country and I’ll never meet him. It hurts that she had him come to stay with our family in France especially that this was literally hours after I left to go home. But that’s it. She did what she did and it’s over. Things are great between us now, really great. I actually feel that she could fall in love with me again. Maybe she already has. So should I just stop wondering what happened during this brief affair or am I entitled to know?
Ask the community | cheating
“My wife had an affair with her 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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hi all.. I've just discovered my wife is having a sexual relationship with with her Ex boss, this has torn my world apart completely. When she started working for this company 5 years ago she was warned about the sex mad owner. I trusted her as our sex life wasn't great or very ambitious. She was never one for taking risk or trying anything new in the bedroom, and it wasn't for the want of asking on my behalf either. I offered everything from toys, group, partner swap dressing up, role playing, outside, in fact i think i tried most things without any joy. Anyway i discovered messages on her phone around 4 months ago but left it and tried to find things out for myelf. I had no luck and in the end just decided to come out with it and hey presto she came clean on everything. She said it started as friendship but a led on to more things and they have been sleeping together for about 6 months now ( so she tells me). She has broke down and is beside herself for hurting me after 14 years marriage and 20 years together. She says she dont know howit has led this far and also how it has continued as well, as she felt bad after every time... My problem is the fact I feel I'm being laughed at - as he will see it as another notch, although she says not. She has lied to me for months about where she has been swimming, shopping, her sister's. This and the fact someone else has had there hands on her makes me sick (and i have been). Any one who knows please feel free to comment...
Ask the community | cheating
“I can't get my girlfriend to be sexually active”
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 a 25 year old man with some issues with my girlfriend. I'm posting here because I don't know if I'm crazy or if my girlfriend is. Or maybe we both are. I'm a deployed vet of 2011 and before then I was single for roughly 2 years and had not had sex in that long until January 2012 when I met my current girlfriend. We used to have sex so often it was great. I started working my old job that I had before I deployed and even as hard as it was I always made time for sex. I know that in some people they become "too tired" from work to have sex but I'm not one of those people. I still find her to be the love of my life and every day she comes home from work I'm so happy to see her. I always figure she'll want to lay with me and talk, kiss, and eventually have sex but lately this just hasn't been the case. I don't find myself to be too selfish about the sex, I don't beg for it and I try not to get mad, but when it starts being once maybe twice a week I get frustrated, start having trouble sleeping, and I'll even sleep on the couch because when she makes me stop I don't even want to be near her. Now why I think I may be wrong for wanting sex so often is because right now I'm unemployed and looking for a job so while I'm not doing much, so I think about her more and when she finally comes home I just want her, but like I said, even when I was working I wanted her daily. She has complained to me a lot that she is fat, as much as I could tell her she's not. I've heard that women who are insecure of theirselves are less sexual, like they think their man will judge her by that? She does randomly get touchy and grabby and even sexual but it seems to only be while I'm busy on the phone or playing with friends online like she's looking for that thrill. For the past two monts she started playing an mmo videogame she used to play, maybe it was to allow me to play my video games more I don't know, but now that she's playing it again, it just seems to be all she really wants to do is play. I've told her before that I don't like her playing it because it seems to take time away from our relationship but it starts arguments that don't get solved. I guess as couples get older they become less sexual and eventually resort to routine and hobbies to stay busy, I think I'll always want sex. What scares me is that life is so long and I'm only 25 and I want sex this much. How am I supposed to stay with this person when things are already getting rough a year and a half into the relationship? I've had to do things just to keep my mind off her because the last thing I want to do is push her away because of my feelings. I'll go on a drive or mow the lawn or even masterbate when it's been long enough. Also she's shown serious signs that she wants to have kids within the next 2 years and I've told her were not ready, especially with me unemployed. I've seen dozens of guys through google search with my problem and I've even gone on sites where the woman says HE won't have sex with her and its annoying to read that there are so many people refusing sex. I'm nearly 100 percent certain she isn't cheating and fulfilling her sexual needs elsewhere because she told me from the very beginning that she is a bit clingy and gets attached easily which I was ok with. I know her complete work schedule and I know when she's stuck at work for another half hour, were always talking and she nearly never gets out with friends and when she does she tells me. I feel like she's just happy touching me randomly and giving me only a couple kisses here and there. She spends almost all her time playing her game and I feel like she doesn't need me anymore. I haven't really served a purpose to her lately. It is weird though, whenever I'm gone for the night she tells me she misses me and she'll even send me nude pictures through text. This is probably all jumbled and confusing but I'm tired and can't sleep, I'm hoping someone can help me. Just an hour ago she turned me down so I got frustrated when she turned me down and fell asleep, and I came to this website. I've read that simply ignoring your girlfriend will frustrate her and make her more likely to have sex with you but I don't want to play stupid games to get what I want and I don't want to make her miserable just to get sex. There are people out there who complain that they get sex from their partner now only 1 or 2 times a month. I'd go insane or leave her. Someone help me.
Ask the community | sexless
“My wife is texting other men”
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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   This is my first post, and I'm writing it after having just confronted my wife over messages on her phone. About 2 months ago, I start having suspicions over the amount of texts she was getting, so rightly or wrongly I managed to get her phone (which she normally guards like a monkey with nuts). I quick skim through her messages showed me that my older brothers best friend had been texting her with some really dodgy stuff. With this information, I entered my wife facebook page, and found even more messages in her trash that she obviously thought she had got rid off. I confronted the problem then, telling her to stop talking to him. For a while it seemed to be ok, then it started again last week. I walked in to the study to find her click off of a conversation on facebook she was having with someone.. i deliberately hung around till the reply pooped up on her screen, and guess who... its that fella again!!.. this time it didnt seem to be rude though. I asked her why she was talking to him again, to which I got accused of being a control freak and not letting her talk to anyone. That night I took myself downstairs to sleep on the sofa, next morning a gave her another clean slate and said nothing of it. However the issue must be on my mind, because as soon as she left her phone unguarded i checked again. Probably the wrong thing to do, but there were no sexually explicit texts this time thatI saw, just a few with some strong sexual references, suggesting sex on the beach.. and asking her if she was all wet?! (sorry if that offends anyone). I confronted it again, once again being accused of being a control freak.. and being told I should leave. However as soon as I suggested that I would seek custody for our son, stating he deserved better than a woman that would do this to her family it all changed... she wanted relationship counselling etc. What do I do? Just so you know the background, My wife was in a previous relationship, and had 3 children. She found out he was having an affair with a man at work and so they seperated, however I have heard part conversations of other versions, stating actually my wife was sleeping with his brother (yet again more secrecy). At 21 years old I took on the role of dad to these 3 boys that I now see as my own, however I know legally I have no standing. But Joseph is mine, after a very late miscarriage two christmases ago, where we lost a daughter at 7 months, we were lucky to conceive Joseph... and he is a little star.. his first word is Dada... and to be honest is probably the reason I've stuck around.
Ask the community | cheating, trust
“I'm 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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Before anyone answers, please know I'm not looking to be judged. In a nutshell, I want to be over this. The problem is, I have been sincerely in love with my husband's brother for years. Every year it gets stronger. My husband and I started dating when we were 17 and his brother was only in 6 grade. We got married at 19- about 8 years ago. Around 6 years ago, I developed a personal relationship with my brother in law that was totally healthy and since then have always had a soft spot. I really can't remember when it started, at least 4 years ago, I began to fall in love with him. I know it's wrong. I don't need to be told that. It's gotten to the point that when I'm around him I get depressed. I tried telling myself it's sick because he is basically my little brother but that doesn't work. I won't go on about what it is I love about him as to not justify my feelings. I tried severing any ties or chance of seeing- hearing about him but their family is close and it isn't really possible with out it seeming suspicious. My six year old son is extremely close to him and talks about him constantly. I can't get away from it. I go to bed thinking about him and wake up thinking about him. My marriage is a good one. We got married too young and are very different people. Regardless, my husband and I love each other very much and are best friends. We have moved passed the gushy part on our relationship but are mature adults. I'm a black and white person and feel like there is no situation that would ever make being with my brother in law OK. But I can honestly say I have never loved anyone the way I love him, and it's love that has grown over years. How do I get over him? I know these feelings are not healthy for me my family or my husband's.
Ask the community | someone else, crush
“How do I forgive my girlfriend for cheating?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Me and my girlfriend have been together for 10 years, living together for almost 4 years now. I am 32 she is 29. I have recently found out (from her friend) that she has cheated on me with an older man who lives down the street. They had sex in his van, a friends car and our bed, of all places (while I was in work). I dont know what to do. She has apologised etc and said it was a mistake and it went too far, she said she enjoyed the attention but not really the sex. This guy is pretty ugly etc I dont understand. I had my suspicions as I found a pack of condoms in her bag, one missing but she lied saying they were her friends, since realised they were hers and one was used with him. I am devastated as I thought we were happy, she lied to my face when I accused her with no evidence, it wasn't until i told her someone had told me about the affair that she admitted it. She has told me it finished after the last time and there has been no contact and deleted his number. We are still together trying to rebuild our relationship. We have decided to move but will take well over a year to sell our house etc. I see this other guy almost on a daily basis, he has no idea that I know about their affair, i see his van and knowing they had sex in it is a constant reminder, I struggle to sleep in our bed knowing she has been with him in there. I really dont know what to do, I have so many questions. Should I ask all these questions, even ones relating to the sex they had, or should i try to forgive her etc. It is so difficult with all these constant reminders and the fact I know the other guy. We have so much history together and this is the only time any of us have cheated but how can I deal with the lies she told me and the constant reminders of him living down the street while we still live in this house? Thanks
Ask the community | sex, cheating
“I have a boyfriend, but I'm falling for someone else”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hey there,  I've been with my boyfriend for a little over 4 years - we met abroad, then, after year or so, we moved back to my country and he found a job and some friends here. Our relationship, on the other hand, started going downhill; We have common interests - except that he's social and likes to go out, while I am and do not... but he's very practical, down to earth and career and money are important to him, while I'm a typical dreamer: I couldn't care less about career and money, I want to do what makes me happy - in my free time as well as professionally - and I don't want to be faced with financial and bureaucratic issues very single day... I'm not saying that one approach is better or worse, that the other, I'm just saying, that we're different and we want different things. We argue a lot and while I'm overly patient and careful with what I say, my boyfriend get very aggressive and overwhelming. Aggressive as in pushing his opinion into my face, not letting me talk, not listening to my point and not taking them into account...then, a few hours later, when he calms down, he acts like nothing's happened...Other time we're okay, he acts like he still loves me and wants me, he makes plans with me, yet we don't do 'romantic stuff' and don't talk about our thoughts and feelings much... And, now that you have an idea of my ongoing relationship... I've met this guy on a long weekend with friends about a year ago and we 'zinged'. We're very similar, he's also calm, introverted, but very caring. We make each other feel special and good about ourselves. We message each other, we talk sometimes, but we don't push it. I know he likes me, and I know he knows that I like him, but we don't say it...because I have a boyfriend and I don't want to hurt him and while he knows the problems we have, the other guy respect it.  But I can't stop thinking about him. At first I thought it was a crush or something I felt because my boyfriend and I had problems, but still, I think about him and when I see him, it's like...i'm just happy. I think I'm (falling) in love with him. Yet, my boyfriend and I have been together for so long and we've been through so much...he's a kind of troubled person and I've been trying to help him and he's also been supporting me through a lot, even bad decisions. It feels kinda unfair even to just have feelings for someone else and thinking about being with someone else... What the hell should I do?
Ask the community | someone else
“My wife doesn't show me affection”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   We are married with 1 child 9 years old, been together for 18 years, im 44 and she is 38, I have always instigated sex and over the years I have realised that its always me doing the trying all the time. My wife doesn't kiss me, no cuddles, no affection and I am just so fed up. I cant speak to her about this, a few years ago I got a lecture about how sex is all I want. She can't switch off from paying bills to enjoying sex, I can but without sex I am starting to resent her everyday. I can't figure out why she doesn't want sex and affection, it's eating away at me. I stopped instigating sex 4 months ago and we had no sex, she has just ignored me in bed and we just carry on just living snd surviving. I know she isn't seeing anyone else and she doesn't go out much. The other night she went out with girlfriends and came home merry and she instigated sex, in my head all I wanted to know is why haven't we had sex for 4 months, we had sex and it was great, the following morning nothing again, she is always nasty the next day and it feels like she regrets being nice. I just need to hear from anyone who has experienced this or can give me some advice to get back on track. I don't have anyone to talk to.
Ask the community | intimacy
“I'm happy in love, but have feelings for another woman”
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 so I am a guy and have a bit of a situation where I need some advice. I have been with my girlfriend for almost 5 years now. I love her and consider myself the luckiest I have ever been to have her. She is the most loyal and committed woman I have ever been with. Ever since the first few months of our relationship, we would stay at each others' houses every night and rarely spent nights apart. So we essentially lived with each other this entire time and have had very minimal problems or conflicts. We now have our own apartment and are still getting along as living partners great. That is the beautiful thing about our relationship is that we are so compatible and cooperative that we can spend every day with each other with little-to-no problems. Of course, there are small things that we get angry about (i.e. "how come I'm always the one doing blah blah?", "all you do is play video games", etc) but they are always temporary and they do not affect the structural integrity of our relationship. We have our ups and downs, and have even separated at one point because things were not working correctly. We eventually reunited and agreed to improve on (and we have improved on) the areas where we were lacking in our relationship. Today, we are strong, together and have big commitments in our future. BUT... here is my predicament. I have a friend that I met through work (we no longer work together currently) and have gotten to be very close friends. She confides in me about things she says she does not tell anyone else, even her family. We share several common interests, passions and get along very well. She has many desirable qualities as a woman and as a person in general. She is essentially the polar-opposite of my girlfriend in many regards. She's also drop dead gorgeous. She has also fought through some very adverse and tragic phases of her life on her own will and has made it to become a strong, independent, self-sufficient, and loving person. She still has her flaws, and actually comes to me for help and guidance. She has had a difficult past with relationships and has always seemingly ended up with guys who don't give her the love, care, commitment, dedication, etc. that she deserves. She has also stated that she is not ready for another relationship as she is still not over her ex-husband. Also, she doesn't get along with other women and doesn't have many female friends (which makes things more difficult) So recently, she has been just "hooking up", "seeing" and spending time with guys. All of which seem to just want to get in her pants. She's aware of what some guys are capable of, yet her actions still contradict what she really wants, which is to be single and emotionally heal from her previous relationship. We text each other very often and spend time with each other a lot (sometimes alone and sometimes with my girlfriend and other friends). I've always been physically attracted to her, but in the past few months other feelings have started to develop. I feel a connection with her. It feels wrong and I don't know how it even developed. I love my girlfriend and would never break my loyalty to her. However, I also understand that you simply can't change what your heart feels. I've tried to remedy this problem with an attempt to channel or reroute my feelings in an appropriate manner, in the form of being a good and loyal FRIEND. When she needs me, I'm there. If she needs advice, I'll give it. If she needs a smile, I'll try to make her laugh. That kind of thing. Purely platonic friendship. My strategy has held firm but as not solved my problem. I don't want to have feelings for this woman! Keep in mind I have never told her that I do have feelings for her. So just last night, we had a get-together/kickback at her place and my girlfriend and I went. Mind you, alcohol was involved. We were all having a great time. There were two guys that came, one of which she knew (and apparently liked). There came a point during the night where everyone (minus my girlfriend and I) became visibly drunk, including my friend. I know she is quite the belligerent drinker and doesn't think quite clearly when she drinks so I kept a close but subtle eye on her. She began making out with this guy (who I believe she has only know for a month or so). There was this feeling in my stomach and fire that started to burn in my mind when I saw it. Jealously? Maybe. The way I analyzed it in my own mind was that I was having a conflict within my own mind. One side of me has feelings for this girl and the other side of me knows her past and has a duty as a friend to protect her from situations where she will get hurt again. For the lack of a better phrase, this sucked ass for more than one reason. Not only did I feel guilty that I was jealous of what I was seeing because my girlfriend was there, but because I had no right to feel guilty! I care for this girl in more ways than one, but I want it to only be ONE way...the PLATONIC way. I don't want to jeopardize this relationship with my girlfriend that I've built for so long. I'm all out of ideas of how to remedy this situation. Do I tell the truth to her about how I feel and lay my cards out on the table? Would that solve anything? Do I continue trying to be a good friend? Will my feelings eventually dissipate or get even stronger? I really need some help here. Thanks.
Ask the community | someone else
“My boyfriend thinks I'm hiding things”
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 at my wits end about an ongoing issue between myself and my boyfriend of 12 years. We haven't had the smoothest of relationships and have split numerous times over the years always instigated by him, always for the same issue. He has told me he doesn't trust me in the past because he says I hide things from him that have happened. Or I have lied about where I am going. Both things I disagree with but he shouts at me that much I end up agreeing and doubting myself. The latest incident was about 3 weeks ago I returned from a work trip and we were browsing through holidays. He took my phone from me and said I want to look on your facebook, I was shocked at his sudden demand and got angry that he was invading my privacy. He said he knew I had been messaging someone and accused me of turning up to his house a couple of weeks before with a love bite on my face (which was eyelash tint). He then asked me who had been sending me horse racing tips on twitter and I couldn't think what he was talking about until afterwards (channel 4 tipster that tweets, doesn't send me messages). He looked through my Facebook messages, twitter messages, text messages, questioned me about numbers and my internet history. When he was doing this I was getting angry that he was doing this and shouting at him. I panicked when he checked my internet history because I had looked at someone's twitter account the night before from my past (male). He asked me who the person was and I lied because, when I once searched for a friend he ended things with me. I should have told the truth immediately I realise that because I wasn't doing anything wrong, but my past experience with him scared me. I thought he would leave me again. After I had shouted at him to get out and told him I needed to sleep I text him because I didn't want to sleep on an argument. He was continuing to say I was hiding something and I owned up to who the person was. He said there was more I was hiding and he called me all sorts of names. Since this I have proceeded to tell him that I wasn't hiding anything else and he still disbelieves me. We did meet up to talk a couple of days after and he said he didn't know what he wanted to do. We decided to go away from each other and meet again. When we did he told me he had kissed another girl a week after the incident and maybe more and has kept in contact with her.I felt cheated and he said we had already ended. He is now also claiming that the last time we split up I gave my phone number to someone he knew but didn't tell him when we started contact again. He claims I told him I had only chatted to him online. I don't remember saying this as it was a year and a half ago but don't think I would have lied about it. He first said I hadn't come to him and told him I had been chatting to this person and he had to ask me about it and said I wasn't open enough with him. I was then able to remember that he asked me during the first time we spoke so how could I have told him any sooner. He also says I lied about the place someone lived that I dated because one minute he said I told him it was one then a different, I also disagree with this and can only think I may have been talking about different people. I have told him I believe he has issues as I don't see the relevance of whether I chatted online or through text to someone, whether someone was from one or the other place and really he has no right to ask me about anything from when we were apart and not in contact as he had made the decision to end us. He says I have an issue telling the truth and will even be willing to come and explain it to a counsellor for me because I obviously don't know I am doing it. Am I in the wrong? I am losing my mind.
Ask the community | trust
“My man has low sex drive, but 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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hey everyone I'm having a tough time with this lately, and I would appreciate any constructive input you may have. I've been with my man for four years now and we recently got engaged a few months ago. Our first year together our sex life was great and frequent, but beyond that it has pretty much fallen off the map. I've brought it up to him a few times, keeping my cool but still showing my concern. He claims his libido is low, and that often he's tired, his body can't get to that point of intimacy, etc. I've been the one to try and initiate, but 99% of the time it goes nowhere. Needless to say I'm very frustrated. I'm 24 and he is 36. I don't want to seem like I'm being pushy with the whole situation, but it seems that nothing ever happens. He really doesn't cuddle/spoon/etc. all that much either. I know sex isn't the end-all, be-all of a relationship, but it shouldn't disappear and should be a part of a healthy loving relationship. So I've been (hopefully understandably) concerned for a while now. Just to give you an idea, we've only done it four times in the past two years. Yikes, I know. Sometimes I don't know how I've dealt with it. I believe I have been beyond patient what any normal person should. He has a nice demeanor and laid back personality, but I've learned that a lot of things are "all about him" and talking to him about my issues can be like talking to a brick wall (I feel like I don't get anywhere), so the whole scenario is very confusing. That being said, I began to suspect he wasn't telling me everything. I've learned of his lies before, so lying wasn't out of the question. So a couple months ago (after dry spells with no end in sight), I looked in his phone history and bam. There it was. Porn. Son of a bitch. I began to shake and lost my appetite. And I cried too (still do sometimes). When your partner makes excuses why there is no intimacy and it seems that they don't even try, then you find out they've been looking at porn all along, it just hits you like a ton of bricks. It's pretty much a slap in the face. Last night, I was so worked up about it that I finally decided to ask him. I stayed calm and took the route of giving him a chance to come clean (if he was into porn, not sounding confronting or accusatory), hoping he would see I was keeping it low key and that he could talk to me about it and how it makes me feel. He knows I don't like that stuff and he's said he isn't into it either. But I sat there and pretty much teared up inside as he lied straight to my face. Funny thing is, among the things he said in our discussion about porn, he said "If someone feels they need to hide something like that, they probably shouldn't be doing it in the first place" and that it would be disrespecting to their partner to lie about it (among other things like that). Hmmmm... So I went to sleep last night absolutely broken up that he felt perfectly comfortable lying to me about this issue. He said I should be able to trust him, but I really can't now. I feel like my next step would just to flat out tell him that I know, that last night was the calm before the storm. I'm setting myself up for him to be extremely pissy and defensive, but being as he lied about it I don't think he has anyone to blame but himself. Well I could go on longer about this, but I guess I'll stop there for now. I actually could hardly sleep last night having watched the man I love fabricate that elaborate lie right in front of me (he's very articulate and very believable if you don't know any better). Running off my frappuccino right now, hopefully I'll sleep a little better tonight. I don't agree with porn in my relationship and he knows and has said he feels the same way. When it pretty much replaces the sex, that is crossing the line. I can't help but feel I've lost part of him.
Ask the community | sexless, pornography, rejection
“My boyfriend isn't physically intimate”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I'm really hoping someone can give me some kind of input on a situation in my relationship that feel completely at a loss about. We've been together nearly three years (I am 30, he is almost 40). Compared to my previous relationships I've always found our sex life a little odd. With my previous boyfriends we always did it at least a few times a week, they would never turn me down, would pester me for sex when I didn't want to - and they always seemed happy to be doing it. I have a wonderful, close and loving relationship with my current boyfriend. But there is a real issue with sexual intimacy - I've been teling myself that it's a minor thing and I can deal with it, but the truth is that it's starting to become a problem. Even when we first started seing each other We only had sex occasionally, it was always me that initiated it, and whilst we were doing it he honestly never seemed to be enjoying it that much. He would get an erection without much trouble, but never seemd to "lose himself" like I'm used to guys doing, and he would never ejaculate inside me - he would always have to finish himself off by masturbating. once made him climax thrugh oral sex and he said that was "the first tim that's ever happened". The situation now is that we hardly ever do it at all, which he seems unbothered by - he'd rather we spent time togethher watching films, or talking, or hanging out with other frieds - which is fine, but sometimes I crave phyical intimacy. I have tried all sorts of things to address this: I asked him what he would like to do in bed, but he just answered that what we do is fine. I have tried to speak to him aboout the issue, aware that I need to be sensitive about it, but he always seems to find a way too change the subject, or laugh it off, or act like he doesn't get what I'm talking about. I've suggested a bit of roleplay or bondage or some other games - but he says he's "not into that". I have loads of sexy lingerie but he doesn't seem excited by it. I even bought chocolate body paintonce and he just ate it on toast! Food excites him more than I do! I don't think there's any problem with my technique, as my previous partners always seemed more than happy with it, I've learned some good tricks over the years if I do say so myself! Even if there is a problem, I can't get him to tell me. The only things that do seem to excite him sexually is pictures of certain celebrity women (not porn, he doesn't seem to like actual porn, just pictures of them in short skirts, lingerie etc or just films with certain actresses). I don't see how I can cater for that as I can't make myself look like Katy Perry if I just don't! At least if he was watching porn I could try and copy some of the scenarios! But it just seems to be about looking at beautiful women. He also enjoys going to lapdance clubs on stag nights with friends - but when I tried to do a lapdance for him he just laughed at me and said: "What are you doing?!" It all seems to be about looking at women, rather than actually having sex with them. I do feel I look as good as I can do - I used to model part time until a couple of years ago, I workout regularly, eat healthy, look after my skin and hair etc, get chatted up by other men, so I think I'm probably OK looking (small chest but that's another issue)!, He tells me he thinks I'm attractive and compliments my looks a lot, so logically I guess he must find me attractive on some level, though the fact he isn't affected in any way by the sight of me in lingerie and stockings does make me feel a little unattractive. I've got to the point where I really need a second opinion because I'm at a complete loss of what to do.I feel quite upset because I love him, and our relationship is so good in every other way - we can talk honestly about anything except this. I feel like I'm failing somehow because I can't help him to enjoy a sexual relationship. I love him, but I really miss having someone who couldn't keep their hands off me,and who loved having sex with me. I feel like having that intimacy would make our relationship complete - but as it is, we're floundering. Does anyone have any ideas - I feel like I've tried everything. Even if I could get him to properly engage in a conversation about sex that would be a start!
Ask the community | intimacy, sex
“Should I stay friends after an affair?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________  I have been married for just under 20 yrs, with one daughter aged 16. In recent years our marriage has grown stale - my husband works shifts, and this means we get very little time together. We seem to have gradually drifted apart on both emotional and physical levels. I have made a life for myself and through this have recently had an affair which lasted a few months. In that short time I really felt a connection with the guy, we spoke/txt several times a day and despite both having families managed several liaisons for intimacy. At the outset we both agreed we would never leave our families and it was all to be a bit of fun. Famous last words I know as I definitely started to have feelings and instead of being fun it became a worry as I knew it would never come to anything, however somehow I didnt have the 6strength to end it because he made me happy and whenever he sensed this was how I was feeling he made it clear he wanted to continue - I made him happy too, and I genuinely felt he cared about me. About a month ago the affair ended abruptly due to his wife suspecting. She threw him out initally although he is now back in the family home haviang convinced her it was all in her imagination. All contact between us ceased. I was heartbroken - not just for the loss of someone who had filled every day for the last few months, but for the upset from the fall out for all concerned. My extreme reaction at home, weeping all the time, meant my husband confronted me as he had suspected I was playing away, but he wasnt angry more concerned as he said he loved me unconditionally and was prepared to forgive and forget. He said he understood people lose their way sometimes. He has said he is very hurt by what I have done and its the worst time of his life. My problem is now that despite my lover saying he would disappear from all the circles where we came into contact, he has now reappeared. The first time was a complete shock for me and I could tell he felt awkward. I just kept communication light and kept my distance. In the last week he has gone out of his way to come over and speak to me -still small talk, no referrals to what we shared but the way he looked at me across the room made me think he still felt something. A close friend has said that its highly likely that the feelings we both had will exist for a while - the affair didn't end because those stopped, it was the circumstances. My one wish was that our families wouldnt get hurt and that we could remain friends after it ended. I cant decide whether his recent behaviour is an acknowledgment of trying to go back to being platonic friends again. That said, it doesnt allow me to move on and try and work things out with my husband, who after all has been unbelievably understanding. And I realise I am deceiving my husband again now as I have not told him this person has surfaced again. So my question really is, can we go back to being friends - or is the fact that we have now crossed the line mean that this is realistically impossible.
Ask the community | cheating
“My husband puts his family ahead of 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 am at my wits end, I really need some guidance as I have exhausted all of my own resources to no avail. I married my husband 2 years ago and we now have an 8 month old daughter. Our relationship has had consistent traits which I could manage before our daughter was born, but find myself unable to do so now. My husband always puts his family first. Our life has revolved around their needs for almost the entire relationship now, and become progressively more of an issue. EG. I work from home, my father in law would come at least once a week to visit during working hours, he would talk and talk for 2-3 hrs and ignore my requests that I really DID need to get back to my work. My husband felt he was showing he cares about me. Our wedding was originally in new york, just the two of us. I did not want a family wedding for 2 reasons, I am divorced (my first husband defrauded £120K from me and then disapeared off the face of the earth, I was granted a divorce and am still repaying what emerged to be online gambling debts he fraudulently and without my knowledge secured against our home) and 2nd because, I wanted I our wedding to be about us, not his family, just us. Our wedding was in the end a large family wedding where every decision was made by his family, any attempt by me to ''push'' what I wanted was met with apolcolyptic abuse and threats. I was to get ready for my wedding in a suite paid for by me, my husbands mother and 2 sisters arrived on my wedding morning and took over this suite, I did not even get to wash my hair. I could not do this the day before because my husbands sister who was a bridesmaid decided she no longer liked her gown, I therefore had to re-model it...., my husbands view? they just wanted to share the day with me....one the birth of my daughter (who sadly was born premature, very low birth weight with various health problems and almost died before she was 4 months old) I stuggled with my own extensive health problems (which were aggravated by the pregnancy) and the extreme worry for my daughter as none of the doctors could work out what was wrong with her. I was told that I would attend his sisters 31st birthday party when my daughter was 5 weeks old. I refused to take her at night to a restaurant when it was virtually impossible to breast feed her in perfect surroundings (she vomited upto 45 times a day - I was breast feeding her for 90 minutes then taking a 60 minute break then a further 90 minutes - round the clock - as she vomited so much, she was losing weight and dehydrating to the point of being life threatening at least twice a week) she was in alot of pain and would cry terribly after feeding. I felt it inappropriate to expect me to consent to a demand (not invitation) to bring my baby to a party under these circumstances. My husbands view - it was his sisters birthday and we should consider her feelings, she would be sad if her brother and neice were not there.....? thoughts anyone, advice???
Ask the community | parenting together, values
“Boyfriend gets mad that I don’t initiate sex“
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ My boyfriend and I have been friends since we were 12 (20 years) and have been dating for the past 2 ½ years. In the time we’ve been together, he has rejected my sexual advances EVERY TIME except once. I take it bad and am unable to try again for months when this happens, all the while he gets upset saying he is tired of always initiating sex, and wants me to do it too. I tell him I can’t because every time I get the courage back up to do it, I’m rejected (he’s too tired, had a stressful day, has to get up early, etc.) and as result, I don’t have the self-esteem or courage to try again for a while… the whole cycle starts over once I do try. When I get upset about being rejected, he tells me I’m trying to make him feel guilty and/or start drama (which is NOT the case, drama was not the outcome I wanted – sex was!) and we end up in a fight over it. Then he doesn’t touch me for days/weeks and says it is because the fighting/drama turned him off. So, we only have sex when he feels like it, he wants me to initiate, I get rejected every time I do, so I rarely try… repeated for 2 ½ years now. It has taken a major toll on my self-esteem/sexuality. I’m starting to think it’s a control issue on his part… thoughts? Ideas to break the cycle? I should have been more clear that we have a good sex life... He just initiates it every time. We don't go at each other twice a day like we did the first year, more like 2-3 times a week, and he is very touchy/affectionate with me but if I happen to be in the mood and try to initiate something, he always has an excuse not to do it. He was all over me Wed., Fri., & Sat. But this morning, I tried to start something and he there wasn't time (there was time for a quicky!) if it had been the same time, on the same day, but he was the one initiating, he would have made time. If he didnt complain that I never initiate sex, I would think he just prefers to be the one who starts it. I've also thought that maybe he enjoys turning me down. What I don't understand is, if he wants me to start it, why turn me down when I do, insuring I won't have the courage to try again for months? He just says I have bad timing and i should try more so I catch him at the right time (by right time, he means the right time for him). It's so frustrating. 
Ask the community | sex, rejection
“Having an affair but can't leave 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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I really need someone to put my life back on track, to turn me back into the mother and wife I once was... a year ago, all that matters to me was my family whom I took pride in and would do a lot for them without expecting anything in return. After all, love is unconditional and as a mother, its my job to love, care and protect them. I didn't even ask a lot from my husband nor did he expect a lot from me. We were just in a good marriage, hardly any arguments between us and we took pride in our parenting and are proud of our beautiful, bright children. It all started when a single dad at school confessed to me that he finds me attractive and admitted fancying me for a while. It all came as a big surprise to me as I do not expect a mum like me to still have "admirers". Although I turned him down but since then my confidence grew and I started enjoying the fact that I can still attract male attention. Six months ago, I met William. I was very much attracted to him, physically and sexually. We started off texting back and forth, first with light and gentle flirting. We met up for a few drinks now and again and have a good time laughing and flirting. Then it soon developed into a bit more and more and then more. I am not one into casual flings or reckless, irresponsible behaviour but then suddenly before I realise, I found myself having an affair with William. A proper full blown affair. By the time I asked myself "what have I done?", it was too late. I have already slept with him. I know it was all principally and morally wrong. I know I have done something very bad and my husband would not forgive me if he knows what had happened. I asked myself what do I want from this relationship with William? Is it just purely for sex? Physically, we both look good together and we are both in lust with each other although William said its not just about that. He said he cares about me and wanted to see me every weekend. He kept telling me he misses me whenever he is not with me and he would send me daily texts messages which were all very sweet to read. I thought I was falling for William because I can't get him out of my mind and I really love being with him. I am so attracted to him that no one else can catch my attention because my heart and mind is just set on him alone. The problem is I can't seem to leave my marriage because I don't want to break my family apart and let my kids and husband down. What I have is beautiful and to destroy it could be the biggest mistake and regret in my life. Yet I can't stop contact with William no matter how hard I tried, I always ended up going back to him again and again. It is like an addiction. Maybe I am in love with him but I am just in self denial. Although William has told me he loves me but he doesnt convince me enough that our relationship has a future. Although I can see myself (on my own) with him but I can't see my children in the picture. William is a single guy, still living a bachelor life and there is no way he would swap his convertible two seater sports car into a family car. Everything in his life is that of a bachelor; even his bachelor pad is so unchild-friendly and immaculate that I can't even imagine my kids sitting on his leather creamy sofa. I can't even see him swapping his bachelor pad to a family home. All signs are telling me is I am a "current" girl he is currently seeing until he finds himself a single girl he is willing to settle down with. I have somehow raised that issue in a joking way with him and of course he denied it. I didn't press him more because I don't want to spoil the fun between us. Also I felt I have no right to press him for commitment when I myself am still married. He did say to me before that I should make my mind up on what I want in life or with my relationship and he is jealous to imagine sharing me. There is no sharing. I have become even more emotionally and physically detached from my husband. Thinking back over the years, we have grown apart emotionally and intimately. There is hardly any connection between us and I am no longer attracted to my husband in a sexual way. No matter how I want to try with him again but I just couldn't find myself interested in the whole idea. I think its because I am so distracted having William around. Sooner or later this is going to come out and my husband will find out what I have been doing. I really have to decide what I want in life but at the moment its nearly like saying wanting to have the cake and eat it. In my dream, if I can, I would just walk away from my marriage and start a new life with William but I cant leave my children behind and it pains me to imagine letting my husband down because it would be a blow to him. It would kill him if I leave. Also, is William the kind of guy who is worth sacrifising for? That question has been hanging on my head. If I leave my marriage for a guy who is worth every tear and pain and manage to have a good relationship and lead a happier life with.... that would be beautiful but William might not be worth the sacrifices. Should I confront William and ask him to be honest with me on what he wants? He got to give me some kind of commitment. Part of me thinks if he can't commit on a long term thing with me and include my kids in, then he is a waste of time and effort. He is just not worth it. But to raise all these with him mean potentially I am at risk of losing the fun I can have with him. And if he said yes he is ready to commit, do I really have the heart and courage to leave my marriage and tear all their world apart? Please please please have anyone been through similar experience or can someone wake me up?
Ask the community | sex, cheating, marriage
Moving in together: buying & renting
Moving in together is one of the biggest decisions you can make as a couple. Whether you are buying or renting, there are a number of things to consider and it’s important to get your legal position clear from the beginning.   Buying Mortgage lenders tend to treat couples similarly whether they are married, civil partnered, or not. However, some mortgage lenders require you to have life insurance as a condition of the loan and single (unmarried) men are treated as a higher risk. You can get past this issue by choosing a mortgage without a compulsory insurance clause – there is no legal requirement to have life insurance. If you are planning on buying a property together for the first time, you will need to decide how you are going to own it, and make this clear in the paperwork. It is also a good idea to make a will, if you have not yet done so. Joint ownership means you both have a legal share in the property. If the property is only in one person’s name, then the other person will have no legal right to the property if you separate. This can be changed if an agreement is drawn up or if ‘trust principles’* apply.   There are two types of joint ownership: Beneficial joint tenants This means that the whole property belongs to both of you and neither has a separate share. If one of you dies, the other automatically becomes the owner of the whole property. This type of ownership suits most couples who plan to stay together for life. Tenants in common The property is still owned jointly, but each of you has a separate share. If one of you has contributed more money to the property, you may decide to reflect this in the size of your shares. If one of you dies, that person’s share can be passed on in the will or under the rules of intestacy**. If you own a property as tenants in common, you will need a separate document or deed setting out the shares in the property and how the proceeds of sale will be divided if you sell the property. This is usually called a ’trust deed’ or a ’declaration of trust’. If you choose to be tenants in common, it is important to: Make a ’declaration of trust’ Your solicitor can draw up this legal document which sets out each person’s share of the property and what happens if one partner decides they want to sell. Make a will Tenancy in common does not make your partner the automatic beneficiary of your share, so it is very important to make wills saying what you want to happen to your share if you die.   Owning together If you have already bought a property, you may not be sure how you own it. It is a good idea to find out. For most properties, there is a record of ownership at HM Land Registry. You can get a copy from the Land Registry online service and check up-to-date information.   Moving in together If you or your partner already own your property and one of you has moved in, it is likely that the property is only in one person’s name. This is something you need to talk about, especially if you or your partner makes contributions towards the mortgage, bills, and general maintenance of the property.   Changing the way you hold the property Try to agree at the beginning what the original position was, ie who owned the property, and agree on what you want the new arrangements to be. Make a short written record of your agreement, preferably in the form of a declaration of trust.   Renting Different types of property and rental agreements have different rules. These also depend on whether you have a council tenancy or private accommodation. There are three main types of rented private accommodation: Assured shorthold tenancy A tenancy that started on or after 28 February 1997 will be an assured shorthold tenancy unless otherwise stated in writing. Assured tenancy A tenancy started between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997 will be an assured tenancy unless the landlord stipulated otherwise and this is in writing. Regulated or protected tenancy A tenancy started before 15 January 1989 is likely to be a regulated or protected tenancy.  There are different time periods for which tenancies can last and these have different names: Fixed-term, which means the tenancy lasts for a limited period like six months or a year. If neither tenant nor landlord gives ’notice to quit’ at the end of that fixed period, the tenancy automatically becomes a ‘periodic tenancy’ which has no fixed end date. After a longer period of time, a tenancy can become a ‘statutory periodic tenancy’, which is the most secure and can only be ended by the landlord getting a possession order.   Renting in both names If you and your partner decide to rent a property together, the rental agreement will recognise you both as equal tenants. This doesn’t mean you are each only responsible for half of the rent. If one of you leaves the property, for example, the other will be liable for the whole rent. Always make sure you have seen a copy of the rental agreement.   Renting in one person’s name If the tenancy is only in one partner’s name, the other has no automatic right to remain in the property if the couple break up. You would have to negotiate with the landlord about the possibility of transferring the tenancy to another name, and your success will depend on how good a relationship you have with your landlord.   Glossary * Trust principles: Trusts are created to hold assets for the benefit of certain persons or entities. A written declaration of trust states the terms and conditions for the distribution of assets. ** Rules of intestacy: If a person dies without having made a will, this is called ‘dying intestate’. Intestacy rules dictate how the money, property or possessions should be distributed and who should inherit them.   Further information AdvicenowNational Housing FederationShelter
Article | living together, big changes
6 min read
“My boyfriend doesn't want sex”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________  I've been with my boyfriend for almost 7 months now. We love each other and get on amazingly well. However...he doesn't initiate sex with me. In the day he can be all over me, hugging and kissing me,holding my hand, saying how pretty I look and how attractive he thinks I am. This is all very well but I wish he'd show it in the bedroom! When we do have sex (usually initiated by myself) he finds it difficult to have an erection for more than ten minutes. I feel this is the root of the problem and is why he doesn't initiate sex with me. We've spoken about this many times trying to get to the root of the problem but with no luck! The funny thing is that throughout the day, he has no difficulty getting erect, but when it comes to having sex...this is another matter. A big problem now is that when I feel in the mood for sex I tend to fantasize about other people, including one of my exes who I was very sexually active with. I feel guilty for doing this, but find it difficult to fantasies about my current boyfriend as we hardly have sex!!! Please can someone offer me any advice about how to talk to my boyfriend about sex, how to make out relationship bit more spicy and whether I'm a bad person for fantasizing and thinking about my ex sometimes!! My relationships at the moment is going brilliantly in every department apart from this... I'd really appreciate your comments, Thanks.
Ask the community | sexless, intimacy
“I have a boyfriend but can't stop thinking about someone else”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________  Hi there. I have been with my boyfriend on and off for almost 6 years. He is my first love and I care greatly for him. The problem is someone I've known for many years also, we have always had a spark between us and i cant help but think about him. I feel I am currently unhappy in my relationship, I'm not sure if we really have any future and as much i love the guy I'm beginning to wonder if it may be best to go our separate ways. The more unhappy i have become in my relationship the more me and this other guy have been talking. We talk online and text each other most days and i have heard through friends that he likes me and i think i like him too. The trouble is i don't know if i really should end things with my boyfriend, 6 years is a lot to give up on and i don't want to just assume something would happen with this other guy. But am i really staying with my partner for the right reasons? If i were to end things what would be the best way? And what do i do about this other guy? Please help any advice would be greatly appreciated, I'm so sick of thinking about this.
Ask the community | someone else, compatibility
Sorting out benefits after separation
Once you’re no longer living together, you’re classed as separated for tax and benefit purposes. Separating from your partner may mean that you become entitled to new benefits and tax credits or higher amounts of benefits than you already receive. If you or your ex-partner were claiming benefits for the family before you separated, it’s important to tell Jobcentre Plus and HM Revenue & Customs straight away. Keeping them up to date about your change in circumstances can help you avoid being overpaid or losing out on money. Qualifying for extra benefits could make a big difference to the options be available to you, particularly when it comes to the cost of housing. If the parent with the main care of the children can work at least 16 hours a week, they may qualify for Working Tax Credit. This benefit can make a substantial difference to a single parent’s income, so it may be worthwhile – financially anyway – if you can manage this. If you have permanently separated from your partner, you can claim benefits and tax credits as a single person immediately. If your separation is temporary or on a trial basis, you may not be able to claim these benefits while there is still a chance you may get back together. For advice and practical support with benefits and tax credits, contact your local free advice centre, such as Citizens Advice, or called the Gingerbread Single Parent Helpline free on 0808 802 0925. You can find further detailed information on page four of the factsheet 'Action to take when a relationship ends',  produced by the charity Gingerbread who provide expert advice and practical support for single parents.
Article | legal rights, co-parenting
2 min read
How addiction can impact relationships
A substance use problem often leads to changes in a person’s behaviour that can be damaging to a relationship. They may be emotional and unpredictable. They may feel ashamed or fear the consequences of their addiction being discovered. They will sometimes lie to conceal the true extent of it. Secrecy and deceit can cause a breakdown of trust in the relationship. The partner of the addicted person may feel suspicious of the reasons for their partner’s behaviour. They might also feel confused, scared, or angry at the change in their partner and the unpredictable situation. When I discovered their addiction, the worst thing about it was that I’d been lied to. A partner with a substance use problem may have highs and lows - one moment happy and positive, and the next anxious, irritable, or depressed. They may be preoccupied and pay less attention to their partner. This unpredictable behaviour and mood can often cause arguments. If discussing the problem always leads to an argument, both partners may give up trying to talk, and communication can break down entirely. Then a distance grows between them. There may also be a loss of interest in sex or intimacy. If I try to explain why I started drinking, it turns into a row. It’s easier not to talk to each other at all. However, problematic substance use is not always hidden. Sometimes, someone knows that their partner has a problem but feels they are walking on eggshells as they try to keep the peace. They might also fear that, if they rock the boat, they will drive their partner further into their addiction. Sometimes, people will take on more responsibility in the home, with childcare and finances, to compensate for their partner becoming unreliable. They feel they have to take control of everything and that they have become a ‘parent’ to their partner. Children in the family can also suffer. The parent with the addiction may become withdrawn and lose interest in family activities. Their partner may be distracted because of juggling extra responsibilities. Children are often aware of arguments and tension in the home and feel scared and confused. And, if they get used to seeing addictive behaviour, they may learn and develop similar behaviour themselves.   What to do when dealing with a substance use problem Facing up to a substance use problem can feel hard, as it often makes the problem seem more real. But, in a relationship where one person has a problem, both partners may be in denial. If they both feel powerless to make changes, it can feel easier to pretend nothing is happening. The partner may feel ashamed to talk to family and friends about the problem. They may blame themselves or be embarrassed that outsiders will see their partner or relationship in a negative way. They may have been told by their partner not to tell anyone. There are then two people feeling very scared, resentful, and lonely in their own relationship.   Talking to an unbiased person outside of your relationship can be a real relief and a step toward change If you are experiencing problems in your relationship that are the result of addiction, it may be worth seeking professional help. Online relationship advice such as our listening room, support, information, and counselling can be very valuable in many cases. If you are experiencing domestic violence or any form of abuse in your relationship or family, seek support from a specialist agency. If the problem is long-term, involves cutting or physical harm, or has been triggered by traumatic life events, you may need to seek face-to-face counselling via a specialist agency or your GP. You may find it useful to look at article ‘How do we move on from addiction as a couple?’ NEW: Relationship Realities - listen to real stories by real people who are affected by alcohol and drug use problems.
Article | addiction, substance abuse
4 min read
My partner had an affair with a colleague
You’ve found out that your partner has had an affair with a colleague. Perhaps they told you themselves, or maybe a mutual friend told you, or you found a message on their phone that gave them away. However you found out, it’s likely you’ll be going through a range of emotions, and your mind might be reeling with questions: Why did my partner cheat? Have they cheated on me before? Did they prefer having sex with this other person to me? Is our relationship over? Finding out your partner has cheated is a horrible experience to go through. While it may not feel like much of a comfort, it’s useful to know that you’re not alone in this situation. Many of our forum users have been through something similar: “I discovered messages on her phone around 4 months ago… I just decided to [ask her about it] and hey presto she came clean on everything. She said it started as friendship but they have been sleeping together for about 6 months now”, posts Philly in My wife’s secret affair with her boss.   Discussing the situation Confronting your partner without it turning into a full-blown argument can take a lot of patience and skill. Before you start to discuss the affair, write down what you want to say. If you find you’re getting too angry, take a break and leave the room to gather your thoughts before you continue. Affairs aren’t always just about sex. Someone can be tempted into the arms of another for many reasons – not feeling loved, not feeling understood, or not spending enough time together, are all possible reasons you might hear. Uncovering the hidden issues can help you move forward from an affair. Look at our Hidden Issues insight to learn more about how these issues manifest themselves in relationships.   Moving forward Talking to others can be a helpful way of dealing with your emotions during this difficult time. If you have close friends and family you can confide in, tell them about how you are feeling. You could also try speaking to one of our Click listeners in the listening room, where you can explore your feelings and the question marks that linger over your relationship. Staying together may be a difficult choice to make. Keep in mind that, in some cases, relationships become stronger after one partner has had an affair. The situation can prompt both partners to examine the relationship, get all the issues out in the open and deal with them.   Splitting up? For some, adultery is unforgivable. If you cannot see a way back, you may want to end the relationship straight away. However, you may want to give the relationship another go. The affair could leave a cloud over your relationship for some time, and you may find that, as time goes by, you still can’t move on from the incident. If this is the case, then you may decide that it’s best to leave. This article on when a relationship ends can help you through this difficult time.
Article | cheating
3 min read
Fathers’ legal rights and responsibilities
Parental responsibility (PR) is the legal name for a parent’s duties to their child. Having parental responsibility means you have the right to contribute to decisions made around your child's future and how they are raised, including giving consent to medical treatment, choosing their school, and their religion. Having parental responsibility does not mean that separated parents can over-ride each other’s wishes or interfere with day-to-day decisions relating to the children when they are with the other parent. Having parental responsibility doesn’t mean that you will always get what you want from a court if you disagree with the other parent. You may also be liable to pay child maintenance even if you don’t have parental responsibility.   Who has parental responsibility? Parental responsibility is automatically granted to mothers and to fathers who are married to the mother. You will also have parental responsibility if you have adopted the child or if the child was born after 1 December 2003 and you are registered on the birth certificate (in England and Wales). You do not lose  as a result of divorce or separation.   How to get parental responsibility If the mother agrees, you can both sign a Parental Responsibility Agreement form. You can download this form from the Courts & Tribunals Service website or ask at your local county court. If the mother doesn’t agree, you can apply for a Parental Responsibility Order from the court. In considering an application from a father, the court will take the following into account: the degree of commitment shown by the father to his child the degree of attachment between father and child the father's reasons for applying for the order The court will then decide to accept or reject the application based on what it thinks is in the child’s best interests.
Article | fathers, legal rights, separation
2 min read
Finding time for each other
Juggling friends, family and work commitments can leave you and your partner struggling to find time for each other. Check out these tips for a bit of help putting couple time back on the agenda. Avoid putting too much pressure on each other.  As relationships develop, couples who once spent all their time together often need to carve out some independence for themselves. Don’t take your partner’s need for ‘me time’ as rejection.  There will be times when one of you wants to spend time together and the other wants some alone time – it’s not always easy balancing the two, so try to give each other a break. Reminisce together. Talking about the happy times can remind you  why you fell in love and help you think of ways to recreate the feelings of your most treasured moments. Try to commit to at least an hour of couple time each week. That’s time without children, friends or family members, when you can focus solely on each other. Put it in your diaries so you can look forward to it, and make it a priority. Find a babysitter.  Or, if you can’t afford one, put the kids to bed and schedule an at-home date night for a little later in the evening. Keep date nights fun. Don’t bring up the negatives in your relationship on a date night. If there are issues you need to address, save them for a scheduled catch-up where you can focus on overcoming obstacles in your relationship. Celebrate significant dates. Anniversaries and other significant dates can remind you of the things that first brought you together, and are an opportunity to look at how you’ve grown both as individuals and as a couple. Try to do something special for your partner on these occasions. You don’t need to spend a lot of money; just think of something that’ll put a smile on their face. Develop time management skills. If you’re struggling to find time to spend with your partner, try to follow these four steps: Plan – spending 10 minutes thinking about how to maximise your time can save you hours Delegate – if someone can do something for you that will free up time for your relationship, let them Say no – you can’t always do everything Cut back –too many activities can put strain on your relationship at risk, so try to pick the most important ones Do some homebuilding. Everyday tasks like decorating, gardening, cooking a meal, or doing the food shopping together can build intimacy – and it gets things done in half the time!
Article | intimacy, planning
3 min read
Free online parenting plan
Splitting Up? Put Kids First was made by OnePlusOne, who are also behind Click. It was designed to support separating parents in helping them put their children’s needs first at a time of great emotional upheaval. The way separated couples manage co-parenting can have an enormous impact on a child throughout their life – from education in the short term, to future relationships and mental health in the long term. The aim is to reduce the number of children negatively affected by painful parent separations while encouraging a culture shift in the way people deal with co-parenting, to make the continued involvement of both parents the norm, and ensure that those working with separating families can provide the guidance and tools needed.  Created by our parent company, relationship charity OnePlusOne, this is the first online Parenting Plan that helps couples communicate and make arrangements about who will be seeing their children in an informal yet structured environment. The service is FREE and available 24/7 and 365 days a year. Help is available now, with no need to book an appointment or go on a waiting list. OnePlusOne Director Penny Mansfield CBE, says: If couples have a very nasty breakup they may find it impossible to work out arrangements for their children.If we can encourage them to think about new childcare needs before it becomes too difficult, that will be much better for everyone.Our hope is it will remove much of the bitterness involved in a break-up because you don’t have to make an appointment or go to a place where you have to define yourself in a certain way”. Splitting Up? Put Kids First is available in Welsh and English. Give it a try and let us know what you think. Contact dean.wilson@oneplusone.org.uk if you’re willing to share your feedback with us.
Article | co-parenting, children, planning
1 min read
The role of grandparents (during separation)
Being a grandparent is a precious role, with all the joys of spending time with and caring for a child, and less of the stress. Most grandparents idolise their grandchildren, and grandchildren can thrive on that special relationship. After a parental divorce or separation, the grandparents’ role can shift dramatically and what was once taken for granted becomes fraught with complications. Grandparents – especially those who have been very closely involved – invariably get caught in the middle. You may worry about seeing less of your grandchildren or losing contact altogether. Your loyalties can be torn between wanting to support your child through the painful periods and wanting to stay on good terms with their ex-partner. After a separation, grandparents are faced with many dilemmas: Grandparents are often called on for advice and support. They need to be good listeners while staying neutral. Grandparents are expected to be there to pick up the pieces but withdraw whenever they are regarded as being too interfering. Grandparents should respect boundaries but also be available for support when needed. Grandparents often have to to provide comfort, reassurance and answers for angry and confused children, not always knowing exactly what is going on themselves. During a separation, parents are often overwhelmed with their own issues and with making sure their children are OK. In this state, it’s easy overlook the valuable role that grandparents play. It is worth taking the time to sit down and talk with grandparents about what they are might be thinking and feeling, making sure they don’t feel taken for granted. It is OK to say you need them. The support of grandparents can be a crucial factor in how children cope with their parents' separation. Try to be clear about what you would like from them, and encourage them to do the same for you. Be open and honest. Keep in mind that when a couple’s relationship breaks down it doesn't just affect the immediate family members – it touches other family members in a number of ways too. You may also like to visit How mediation can assist grandparents on the National Family Mediation website.
Article | grandparents, co-parenting, identity
2 min read
Tips for communicating with your ex
As a separated parent, one of your biggest challenges will be to put aside your feelings about your ex to focus on your child. This is not an easy thing to do. It can take a long time to adjust to the end of a romantic relationship. When you have children together, you’ll need to renegotiate the terms of your relationship entirely. You're no longer partners, but you will still need to work together to raise the children. Although your conversations may be focused more on practicalities, it’s still important to share the positives of being parents. Look for opportunities to talk about your children's successes and try to appreciate what their other parent does for them – staying positive can help you keep the dialogue open. If your ex is making communication difficult it is easy for bad feelings and behaviour to escalate. While you may not be able to control your ex’s behaviour, you do have power over your own, and can at least try to be a positive influence.  Your ex may just be going through a tough patch. Keep sticking to your goal of focusing on the children's needs and stay patient, and you'll stand a better chance of getting through it without doing too much damage to your co-parenting relationship. Try to agree to keep the co-parenting conversations separate from all other discussions, for example, about the house or money. These are important issues so you will need to make sure they are being dealt with somewhere else. If face-to-face conversation is too hard for the moment, you might find using text or email easier. Just bear in mind that tone of voice and body language can affect how people respond to communication. The absence of these cues means that messages can be misinterpreted, so pay attention to how you phrase things, and give your ex the benefit of the doubt. If you need to raise something difficult,  let the other parent know you would like to talk and then agree a convenient time and place. Set an agenda so there are no surprises and you can both be prepared. Agreeing to meet in a public place can ensure you both behave civilly, and it also takes you out of the children’s environment. To keep your communication at its most effective, consider having regular meetings to review: he children's successes and achievements parenting time arrangements special events health, education and general welfare discipline and boundaries activities     Why it's worth the effort If you don't find a way of communicating with your ex that works for you both, it's going to be hard on everyone – the children will miss out and you could end up dreading every conversation with your child’s other parent.  Children's needs change as they grow older; your life will change too - it’s important that you can sit down together and talk about how these changes will affect you. Keeping the dialogue open and developing some good will makes the difficult conversations that much easier. Follow this link for further information on separating tips and advice.
Article | co-parenting, communication
3 min read
How to prepare for family mediation
Mediation is a process in which parents work together with a professional mediator to develop a mutually acceptable parenting plan. The parenting plan can be quite structured, specifying the day-to-day arrangements for the children, as well as plans for the school holidays, birthdays and other special occasions. You and your child’s other parent decide what to include. Parental conflict over arrangements can have a damaging effect on children. By working together in a safe and managed way with a mediator, parents can avoid these battles and come to agreement that suits the children’s needs.   How to prepare for the mediation process Approach mediation with an open mind and be willing to listen. Parents who are open and listen to their ex-partner are more able to reach a settlement. Do your homework before mediation andcome prepared with several options. Write down a few ideas and proposals so you can refer to them in the mediation session. What children need is often different from what parents need. Make sure you understand your children's needs, so you can stay focused on them and not on each other. Family mediation is not the place to focus on the other parent. The process is likely to break down if you and your ex-partner get into an argument about who said what. This is not a place to rehash old conflicts but rather to solve parenting problems after divorce or separation.  Be open to different ideas, and willing to compromise so you can reach a peaceful solution on behalf of your children.     Things that might help you while you are mediating Focusing on your children's needs rather than your own Acknowledging that children have different needs depending their age, temperament, and development Acknowledging the other parent's strengths Accepting that children need time with both parents What to take with you to the mediation meeting A proposal for residence and a time-sharing plan A calendar of school holidays, work schedules, and a schedule for your child's activities A flexible and business-like attitude A positive attitude you will be able to sort things out between yourselves Based on Tips to Prepare for Child Custody Mediation by Philip M Stahl  www.parentingafterdivorce.com 
Article | co-parenting, mediation, planning
3 min read
Do we both want the same things?
Ambitions, hopes and dreams How much do you know about your partner’s vision of the future? Do you talk openly about where you see yourselves in five or ten years’ time? Many couples don’t! Important decisions like where you want to live, your career plans, and whether to work full- or part-time often get overlooked as couples embark on their life together. Children Many people assume that making a long-term commitment like getting married means having children sometime in the future, but not everybody wants to start a family. If your ideal future involves starting a family, make sure your partner is aware. It is especially important for couples to share views on having children. Talking about what matters to you bothWhen thinking about what matters, you might want to have a look at the headings below. You don’t need to have all the answers right away – what’s important is being honest about what matters to you. Creating a home together What did home mean to you growing up? How important is it to be near family and friends? Do you see yourself settling in one area or moving around? How do you picture an ideal home? Children Do you want to have children? If so, how many? If either of you have children from previous relationships what issues does this raise for both of you? What are your memories of childhood? Extended family  How involved would you want your extended family to be? What lessons would you learn from your own upbringing – what would you would want to replicate or avoid? Career What do you want to get out of the work you do? What’s your ideal job? Do you want to be self-employed or employed? How do you want to balancing work with your home life? Which matters most – making money or doing a job you care about? How ambitious are you? What motivates you? Life together and apart How important is your social life? Think about your shared friends and those from before you met. How much time will you spend together as a couple, and how much time apart? What does quality time mean to you? Do you have a mix of shared activities and separate hobbies? What do your interests and hobbies signify for you? Do you have any travel plans and dreams? How important are these to you? You shouldn’t rush this activity – you might even want to do it over several weeks rather than in one go. Try to consider your practical goals as well as big dreams and fantasies. You might even want to go through the list with your partner.
Article | communication, compatibility, future planning
3 min read
Arguing in a long-distance relationship
If you are in a long-distance relationship or if you and your partner have long periods apart, it’s likely you rely on technology to keep in touch. Texts, emails, other messaging services are great for keeping you connected but what happens when an argument erupts in cyberspace? When you spend a lot of time apart, you might feel pressured to make the most of every conversation or message exchange with your partner. But, despite best intentions, we all get stressed from time to time and arguments can break out, just as they do in a geographically close relationship. One of the biggest problems with arguments over text or email is that it’s very hard to get the tone right. Tone is often difficult to convey and easy to misinterpret. Communicating with the written word can also lend itself to passive aggressive conversations, where one partner insists everything is fine in a spoken conversation and then allows the real issue to come out through texts or emails. This can be frustrating for the other partner if they want to talk things through.   Some tips Think about the times you and your partner have made up after a row. What ended the argument – a knowing smile; a hug; a cup of tea? If you’re apart, you won’t always be able to make up like this, but it can often help just to hear each other’s voices on the phone . Face-to-face communication isn’t always possible and telephone call don’t always work. If you find that your partner deflects difficult subjects or shuts down on the phone, or you find it too emotional to say what you mean, email can be a valuable tool. A reasoned email can sometimes be the easiest way to express and acknowledge different points of view. Writing things down gives you a chance to stop and think, and get your point across clearly. It’s very important to allow yourself a cooling off period. Don’t send important emails when you’re still feeling upset, as you risk making impulsive comments that you may later regret. Instead, try to list the points you’d like your partner to consider. By sending them in an email you’re giving each other time to think about the reasons for being upset as well as ways to resolve them. You can then try to have a calm discussion about the issues on the phone or next time you meet, rather than a full-on argument. Remember that timing is crucial. If you send an email about last night’s bust-up and it hits your partner’s inbox during a hectic day at work, it may just make the situation feel harder to deal with. Pick your moment, and don’t hit the send button until you’re confident they’ll have the time and space to deal with it.
Article | long-distance, communication
3 min read
What is a ‘cohabitation agreement?’
If you’re considering moving in with your partner, it might be worth making a cohabitation agreement – even if you’re just renting. A cohabitation agreement, sometimes called a ‘living together agreement’ is a plan that maps out the financial aspects of your relationship, and can protect you both if the relationship breaks down. This doesn’t mean you don’t trust each other or that you’re planning to separate but it might clear up some of the question marks about how you would sort things if it doesn’t work out. If you and your partner aren’t married, there are very few laws protecting you in the event of a breakup. Contrary to what many people think, there is no such thing as a ‘common law marriage’ status, no matter how long you live together. So, if marriage isn’t for you, you might want to take some measures towards protecting your rights. A cohabitation agreement is a contract you can draw up together, with the help of a Family Solicitor. It can protect you in the event of a breakup, even if things end up having to go to court.   Why you might want a cohabitation agreement A cohabitation agreement protects your and your partner’s financial rights, which can include your home – whether you own it or rent it – all your property, and the money you spend on bills. If you separate without a formal agreement, you’d have to divide up your property and deal with the finances yourselves, which could be particularly difficult during a breakup. Getting all of this down on paper while you’re still happy and on good terms could save you this trouble in the future, should anything go wrong.   How do you bring it up? When you’re in a happy relationship, planning for a breakup might seem like the worst idea in the world. However, if you feel like you want to be ready just in case, it’s important to find the right way to broach the subject with your partner. Let your partner know your reasons for wanting to set up an agreement. Make sure they understand that you want it to be a joint decision to protect both of you. It might help to think of it like buying insurance. A cohabitation agreement can protect you if one of you dies, or if you break up. You’re not planning for any of that to happen; you’re just giving yourself one less thing to worry about if it does. Essentially, it’s a way of solidifying your financial rights without getting married, and it might just give you a little peace of mind as you embark on the adventure of living together.
Article | living together, legal rights
3 min read
As children grow, their needs change
As children grow up and develop through different stages, they gradually become more involved in the world outside their immediate families. Starting nursery and school are both significant steps, usually marking the start of children developing their own social lives. By the time children reach their mid to late teens, it might seem like their friends have become more important than their family. For separated parents, life transitions like these can also trigger a need to review the childcare arrangements. If possible, it's better for children if both parents are involved in the planning and decision making around these stages and changes. Older children may want to take on part-time jobs or have weekend sleepovers at their friends’ homes. When children start school, parents need to consider that parenting time will be built around the beginning and end of the school day and term times. All parents will will also have to take responsibility for making sure homework gets done and school uniform is washed and ready for Monday morning. If your children spend part of the school week at both homes, you will find that good communication and planning are essential to keeping life easy. If you have a good co-parenting relationship, adapting the arrangements to suit your children's changing needs doesn’t have to be a big issue. If, however, you find agreeing changes with the other parent difficult and avoid discussing the need to review things, you may find things suddenly aren't working anymore. Most parenting plans have a shelf life of about two years before they need to be reviewed. Sticking rigidly to an outdated plan can be very constricting to children. Be prepared to accept that reviewing the arrangements is a normal part of sharing the joys and challenges of watching your children grow up.   New parents and siblings It's common for children to become part of a new stepfamily after their parent's relationship ends. The prospect of a baby brother or sister can be exciting to children of all ages, but can also feel like a threat. If you're the other parent, you may have mixed feelings about your ex's new family but your priority should be to  support your children. If you find it difficult to support your ex, try to see it as an opportunity to show goodwill by accommodating changes to arrangements around the birth of the baby and being flexible around parenting time. Follow this link for further information children in the middle after a separation.
Article | children, co-parenting, family
3 min read
Helping children adjust to life in a stepfamily
With higher rates of divorce and separation, stepfamilies are one of the fastest growing forms of family, now making up more than 10% of all families in the UK. After separation, children are more likely to stay with their biological mother. However, the number of children living with their biological father and a stepmother is increasing.   Which children find it easier to adjust to stepfamilies? The younger a child is, the easier they are likely to find it to adjust to a stepfamily. Boys generally seem to find it easier than girls to adjust to stepfamilies. However, in early adolescence, boys and girls alike tend to find it difficult to adjust.   How long does it take children to adjust? It’s important to have a realistic expectation of the time it can take for a new family to establish itself. Don’t expect anything to happen overnight, and be prepared for it to take years for everyone to adjust fully. One source says it can take ‘as many years as the age of the child’. This may be an overestimate but, generally, the older a child is, the longer it can take to adjust.   The effect of successive stepfamilies There is also a link between the number of relationships a child’s parent goes on to have and the child’s behaviour. If you think of later relationships as transitional periods for the child, it’s easy to see how unsettling it can be to have to adjust to another new family and start again. Repeated change can lead to behaviour problems like disobedience and hyperactivity. Some studies have shown that children can find a parent’s remarriage even more stressful than the separation itself. However, children may find it easier to deal with a parent’s new partner if their other natural parent isn’t starting a new relationship at the same time. Having a stable family situation in at least one home seems to be important.   The impact of a new baby on a stepfamily Stepfamilies are often referred to as ‘blended families’ as they can be made up of a variety of step-parents, natural parents, biological siblings and stepsiblings. Many couples also choose to have more children with their new partner. Married couple stepfamilies are more likely than cohabiting couples with stepchildren to go on to have children of their own. Whatever the circumstances, most members of a stepfamily will need time to adjust to the arrival of a new baby.   A new mother in an old family When the baby is a first for the mother but not the father, she may have additional pressures to cope with on top of the stress of new parenthood. Knowing that her partner has been through this process with another woman, she may struggle to feel in control, and worry that her partner knows more about it than she does. She may also feel resentment that her partner is spending time with his older children, especially if she thought that the new baby might bring him closer to his new family.   An old dad in a new family This may also be a difficult time for the prospective father too, as he feels his own needs are squeezed out. For example: His partner may be anxious about the birth and expect his full attention. His biological children may well have become angry or withdrawn. His ex may act out her feelings of betrayal and loss by stepping up demands around money or access arrangements. He may be drawn to his new family and withdraw from the old one just because it seems like the easier option. Fathers of a new child may also try to compensate for the new baby by spending more time and money on children from a previous relationship. Relationships with the ex-partner and grandparents might also become more complicated as everyone adjusts to having a new baby in the family. Stepfamilies also tend to be larger than non-stepfamilies and are more likely to have three or more dependent children than non-stepfamilies.
Article | stepfamily, children
4 min read
Separating from a partner – married or not
When a married or civil partnered couple ends their relationship, they need to go through a formal process of divorce or dissolution. Couples who are not married or civil partnered can separate without having to go through any formal process. However, splitting up can be more difficult for couples who are not married and not civil partnered, because there is no recognised structure for sorting things out. This can be particularly difficult if you have children. Whether you are married, civil partnered, or not, the court has the power to intervene in relation to the care of children. If you have an issue over your children and have applied to court to sort it out, some family courts will offer a mediation or conciliation service. Counselling and mediation services are available for all couples, parents and families. Deciding on the most appropriate service will depend on what the unresolved issues are. Mediation can deal with finances, separation and children; whereas conciliation deals specifically with issues relating to children. See the following links for more information: Advicenow - breaking up survival guide Cafcass  - information for children and their families involved in family court proceedings Counselling directory – find a local counselling service Resolution – find family lawyers, mediators and other relationship professionals Find your local council on gov.uk – your local council should be able to tell you about family services available in your area.   Dividing assets It is always best to try and reach an agreement with your ex-partner about how to sort out your finances and assets. Getting lawyers involved can be very expensive – perhaps even more expensive than the value of the items in question. If you can’t sort things out on your own, it is worth considering a mediation service. If you are not married and not civil partnered, the following general rules apply: If you alone paid for something, it belongs to you. If you bought something together, you own it jointly. If you bought something and your contributions were unequal, then your share in it will be equal to the contribution you made. However, what you do or say to each other at different times can change the above rules. For example, if you buy something but say to your partner, ‘this is yours’ or ‘this belongs to both of us’ a court can later regard you as having created ‘a trust’ and can hold you to that promise. It is always better to have a written record of ownership. Or you may be regarded as having created a ‘trust by implication’ – this means that what you had said or done led to the conclusion that something you bought on your own is now shared or was given to your partner.   Child maintenance As a parent, your financial responsibility for your child continues after your relationship with the other parent has ended. Child maintenance is regular financial support towards a child’s everyday living costs. It is paid to the parent with the main day-to-day care of the child by the other parent. Receiving child maintenance will not affect any other benefits you are entitled to, including those that are means tested. You have two options for arranging maintenance: a private arrangement; or a statutory (legal) arrangement. The Child Maintenance Service can help with setting up both kinds of arrangements. You can arrange child maintenance privately between yourselves without any official or legal intervention, in whatever way best suits your circumstances. The Child Maintenance Service offers free help and tools to set up this kind of ‘family-based child maintenance arrangement’.   Further information Child Maintenance Options offers impartial information and advice to help parents make informed choices about child maintenance. Call the free helpline on 0800 988 0988 or use the Live Chat service from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday or 9am to 4pm Saturday. The Child Maintenance Service is the statutory body responsible for the child maintenance system.
Article | divorce, separation
4 min read
Mini course: ‘Getting it Right for Children’
Most mums and dads want what’s best for their children, and this doesn’t end when you separate. Very few parents set out to put their children in the middle when they separate but, as the emotional and practical realities of parenting after parting set in, it’s often the children who get caught in the middle. Research shows when couples part, there are inevitable disagreements and difficulties. Children often become caught in the middle of parents’ arguments and this additions stress can be damaging, whatever their age. As a separated parent, it’s easy to get so caught up with your own feelings that you don’t see the impact of separation on your children. It’s not intentional, but it does happen. Getting It Right for Children when Parents Part is an online programme  designed by OnePlusOne to tackle the potential problems children face when their parents separate. The course uses Behaviour Modelling Training techniques that have been proven to be very effective in helping to break behaviour patterns and do things differently. The easy-to-use course lets you watch common scenarios which help you understand the ways parents inadvertently involve their children in their difficulties, how this affects them. Watch the characters reflect on what happened in each case and how they felt about it. Identify the skills you have seen and think about how you could use them in your own situation with your ex-partner. Set your own personal goals – specific things you want to change that will help you communicate better with your ex-partner and avoid putting your children in the middle.  There’s also a programme forum where users can share experiences and tips with each other. Signing up is easy, and you can work through the course at your own pace – complete one family at a time or all four in one session. You can access the programme here and give it a try. Whether you think you need it or not, it could help you, your ex-partner and your children make changes for the better.
Article | co-parenting, children, communication
2 min read
Constructive conflict in relationships
Conflict is unavoidable. In every relationship, there are always going to be things to sort out that you can’t agree on straightaway. How you choose to deal with that conflict can make all the difference to your relationship [1]. This may be particularly important if you have children. Children who are exposed to negative conflict can sometimes act out or become anxious and withdrawn [2]. But, whether you have children or not, it’s always useful to improve your communication skills, and learning how to argue better is one of the best things you can do for your relationship. Some arguments are over quickly and soon forgotten. Other arguments may come up more often, and could be indicative of a more serious personal or relationship issue. By using positive and constructive strategies [3], you can help ease the damage that destructive conflict can sometimes cause [4].   Constructive or destructive conflict Destructive conflict is characterised by negative behaviour like criticism and rejection. You may be able to think of times where you and your partner have become heated and angry, and unable to resolve your differences [5]. Constructive conflict means staying calm and trying to work towards a solution together [2] [6]. If you have children, constructive conflict can help them to feel more secure. Children are less likely to get drawn into this type of conflict [6] and may even learn effective ways to cope and resolve their own problems in the future [2]. And, whether you have children or not, using constructive conflict makes your life easier, and helps you to find solutions faster and avoid getting stuck in cycles of criticism and defensiveness that can be difficult to break out of [5]. For tips on keeping your conflict constructive, check out the list below: Stay calm This is the first and most important step. When you’re calm, it’s much easier to see your partner’s point of view, which is essential to building a constructive conversation. Look for solutions Trying to win won’t get you anywhere, so look for solutions that take everybody’s needs into account and choose a course of action together. Be accommodating If your partner is being negative or destructive, you don’t have to respond in kind. Sometimes, it only takes one of you to start making the conversation more constructive. Be positive Positive behaviour like finding a quiet space to work things out or making your partner a cup of tea can sometimes help you get through a conflict. In some instances, a bit of affection may even be appropriate [7].     References [1] Goodman, S. H., Barfoot, B., Frye, A. A., & Belli, A. M. (1999). Dimensions of marital conflict and children's social problem-solving skills. Journal of Family Psychology, 13(1), 33. [2] Grych, J. H., & Fincham, F. D. (1990). Marital conflict and children's adjustment: a cognitive-contextual framework. Psychological bulletin, 108(2), 267. [3] Johnson, K. L., & Roloff, M. E. (2000). The influence of argumentative role (initiator vs. resistor) on perceptions of serial argument resolvability and relational harm. Argumentation, 14(1), 1-15. [4] Lloyd, S. A. (1990). Conflict types and strategies in violent marriages. Journal of Family Violence, 5(4), 269-284. [5] Gottman, J. M., & Levenson, R. W. (1984). Why marriages fail: Affective and physiological patterns in marital interaction. Boundary areas in social and developmental psychology, 67-106. [6] Cummings, E. M., & Davies, P. (1996). Emotional security as a regulatory process in normal development and the development of psychopathology. Development and psychopathology, 8(01), 123-139. [7] Goeke-Morey, M. C., Cummings, E. M., Harold, G. T., & Shelton, K. H. (2003). Categories and continua of destructive and constructive marital conflict tactics from the perspective of US and Welsh children. Journal of Family Psychology, 17(3), 327.
Article | communication, arguments
3 min read
Get legal advice if you can't afford a solicitor
Legal aid rules changed in April 2013, meaning most people who need a solicitor after separation or divorce must pay as a private client. However, legal aid is still available in certain circumstances. You are entitled to legal aid if: you are a victim of domestic abuse there are child protection issues there is a danger of your child being abducted   There is also a limited amount of independent legal advice funded through legal aid for people who have used mediation.   Legal aid is still available for mediation Family mediators are professionals trained to help people at any point in the separation process. They will listen to you, provide you with legal information (but not advice) and help you make informed decisions about the future. You will usually be offered an individual one-to-one meeting, during which you can talk through your situation and discuss what to do next. It is a personalised service and the mediators can also signpost you to the specific help you need. Using mediation alongside a solicitor can be a good way of keeping costs down. If you do not qualify for legal aid, mediation fees are generally cheaper than using solicitors. Research shows that agreements are made more quickly than going to court [1].   You can find more information on how to contact local mediation services that offer legal aid through Resolution.   Legal aid for a solicitor You may qualify for legal aid to see a solicitor if: you are a victim of domestic abuse and have evidence If you do not qualify for legal aid, you can ask a solicitor if they offer a free half hour or a fixed fee initial meeting.   References [1] Bourn, J (2007). Legal Services commission: Legal aid and mediation for people in family breakdown. National Audit Office. London: The Stationary Office. http://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/0607256.pdf
Article | legal rights, co-parenting, children
2 min read
Family courts – What they expect from you
Before you apply for a court order it is worth remembering that judges will expect you to have tried to agree. You and your ex have joint responsibility for working out the arrangements for your children. This duty continues when you separate, even if you have never lived together. If you can’t talk to each other, you will be expected to ask for help from a mediator or a solicitor. The court will expect each parent to put forward their case. It is the court’s duty to put the child’s welfare first. It can be hard for parents to accept that what they ask for may not be what is best for the child.   What courts say is best for a child: For parents to encourage the child to have a good relationship with the other parent. For parents to have a ‘good enough’ relationship with each other. For the child to spend time with both parents. The law sees it as the child’s right to have regular, personal contact unless there is a very good reason not to. In the rare cases where contact is denied, the court will have been satisfied that the child’s safety is at risk. Denial of contact is unusual and in most cases the contact ordered will be frequent and substantial, considering the child’s age and all the circumstances. In some cases, contact will be arranged on an interim basis which will be subject to review until the Court is satisfied that the amount and frequency of contact is right. Non-payment of child support is not a reason the court would consider denying contact.   Summary If you want to change agreed arrangements, the court will expect you to make sure the other parent agrees first or that you have used the help of a mediator or solicitor before going to court. Experience shows that court-imposed orders tend to work less well than agreements made between parents. Court proceedings are good for restoring contact when it has stopped and increasing it when it is insufficient. However, going to court does not necessarily improve the parenting relationship, which is so important to children’s wellbeing. While family mediation offers parents a chance to improve their relationship and focus on the needs of the child, going to court tends to teach couples how to argue!   Having a court order If there is a court order in place you must do what it says, even if you don’t agree with it. If you want to do something different, you must apply to the court to have it varied or discharged.
Article | legal rights, co-parenting, children
3 min read
Facing problems after a baby arrives
It’s sad to feel like things aren’t what they used to be in your relationship. Having a baby can bring this feeling on overnight, so it’s important to recognise and accept that all relationships change and adapt over time. Having a baby is such an exciting time with so many positives that it’s easy to see why couples expect to feel happier together. It can come as a real shock to find that you aren’t getting on. But research shows that this is normal – parenthood is often the most difficult transition anyone will have to make.   Struggling with new roles When you first become a parent, you may struggle to hold onto a clear sense of who you are. You have to get used to a new identity and sometimes the other roles in your life become secondary, at least in the beginning. This includes your role as a partner. New mums may also find it difficult to adjust to changes in their body like increased weight, stretch marks, sagging and scarring. The demands of breastfeeding can be difficult to adjust to, and many new mums find themselves feeling unattractive or at odds with their body. However, while some mothers and fathers may feel the loss of their old selves, others are happy with their new identity.   Loss of freedom The demands of having a baby to look after can leave you feeling like you no longer have any individual freedom. Many parents struggle with not being able to come and go as they please, or to go out and to enjoy their own interests. Life with children brings a new routine of mealtimes, nap times and bedtimes. Adjusting to this new lifestyle with no let-up can feel very suffocating for some parents and may take a lot of adjusting to.   Changes to other relationships Having a baby can also change your relationships with other people, including your family, friends, parents and in-laws. Many couples find they develop a stronger bond with their own parents and in-laws. This often comes from a combination of enjoying a shared interest in the baby, and a reliance on support with childcare but it isn’t all plain sailing. There are often difficulties with partners’ families, particularly if they interfere with your way of doing things. Some couples struggle with interference or criticism from their own parents, and difficult relationships may become even more strained. Some partners want to go back to the traditional ways of doing things that they were brought up with, which can lead to conflict between couples who have different ways of doing things. New parenthood can stir up past childhood experiences and feelings and it may also stir up old memories of parenting for the new grandparents. If you have difficulties with your parents or in-laws, it’s often best to discuss them with your partner first and work out what you’re going to say. That way you can present a united front and avoid letting your in-laws or parents create any difficulties in your relationship with your partner.   Relationships with friends It can be hard to keep up with old friends, particularly if they don’t have children of their own. They have different schedules and may not understand the demands on your time – especially at the beginning. But having a baby gives you lots of opportunities to make new friends with other new parents, who can be a great source of advice and support.   What else helps? Remember to look after yourself. This means eating well, resting when you can, and exercising if possible. Most importantly, though, try to recognise that things will get easier. Meet other new parents Being with a baby can be lonely and isolating; other new parents can offer support or just be someone to talk to from time to time. Your health visitor or GP may know of local groups, or you can try your local Children’s Centre, library, NCT group, or faith centre. Don’t expect too much of yourself. You, your partner and your family are what matters most, especially when the baby is small. Don’t worry too much about the housework or cooking fancy meals. Most other things can wait. Take time to enjoy your baby. As parents of older children say, the time when your baby is small will fly by (although it may not seem like it!). It won’t be long before they’re off to school or leaving home, so enjoy this time while it lasts.
Article | parenting together, baby, new parents
4 min read
Keeping your individuality
We’re all different. We all have our own personality traits, habits, hobbies and passions that define us and make us who we are. Yet sometimes when we enter relationship, we find that our defining characteristics start to blur as we fall in step with our new partner. We give up going to our Saturday morning spin classes to go and watch football. We lose touch with friends. Sometimes, we even change the way we speak! We usually do this to bond with our new partner and learn more about their interests in the early stages of the relationship. However, as time goes by, many of us find that we’re still just going along with what our partner wants to do and no longer make the time for our old interests. When we move in with a partner, it can be even harder to maintain a sense of self. In extreme cases, people can find themselves changing their whole appearance and lifestyle to fit in with a partner. But, on top of losing your identity while you’re in the relationship, you put yourself at risk of being even more devastated if the relationship ends. You may feel like you’ve not only lost a partner, but a whole way of life. This can leave you feeling lost and confused over your own identity. Of course, you do have to make some compromises and small changes to make a relationship work, but you don’t have to give up everything that makes you happy. It’s possible to hold onto your individuality and have a strong relationship.   Set aside some ‘me time’ You and your partner don’t need to spend every moment together. It’s the quality of time you spend together that counts, not the quantity. Sit down and discuss a mutually convenient time when you can both be alone to pursue personal interests. Keep in mind that plans may have to change to fit around work and family commitments, so you and your partner must both be open to changing the schedule now and then.   Learn to say ‘no’ You don’t have to say ‘yes’ to everything your partner wants. This doesn’t mean you have to say ‘no’ to everything – it’s great to try new things – it just means you should look for a balance as you plan your activities.   Keep friends and family close Growing up, your friends and family were the people who helped shape you to become the person you are today. Keep in touch with the people who matter to you, and you’ll stand a better chance of keeping in touch with yourself.
Article | identity, self
3 min read
Communication for separating parents
When parents first separate Couples separate in all sorts of ways: at one extreme, there’s the long talked about and planned separation and, at the other, there’s the sudden walkout, completely out of the blue. Thankfully, the majority fall somewhere in between. Separating from your partner can bring about some of the most open and honest conversations you have had for a long time. This is the point when many couples express the wish to be amicable and to give priority to making sure their children are all right. These are important moments that can make a big difference to how your family weathers the storm. However, when reality sets in post-separation, it can be hard to stick to these genuine intentions.  It’s hard not to be angry or upset with your ex, when faced with the stress and worry of all the adjustments you have to make. Because things may not always go smoothly, it helps to be clear about what your most important goals are for the future. Here are two that you might want to consider: To commit to supporting your children in having a free and uncomplicated relationship with the other parent. To keep whatever feelings you have about each other separate from your co-parenting relationship. These principles can serve as foundations for everything you do as co-parents. You may want to personalise them and add your own details, or use our free online parenting plan template to agree on some shared commitments.   Parents’ communication post-separation Having blocks of time when you do not see your children means both of you will miss out on some of the things your children are doing. It’s important to remember that children notice if one parent isn’t aware of things that are important to them – things like a school project, a lost toy or a fall from a bike. It’s not realistic to expect to have a full report of everything that happens to the children, but you should try to aim for regular updates to keep everyone involved. When you are co-parenting, communication has to become a more deliberate and thoughtful exercise than it was before. If you are the main carer, you are a vital link between the children’s day-to-day life and their other parent. The more you pass on, the easier the transition will be for the children going between the two homes. If you are the non-resident parent, it’s up to you to take an active interest in all aspects of the children’s lives. Don’t leave it all to your ex to keep you updated with the children’s news – ask how they are getting on, what they’ve been up to, and when the next parent’s evening is. Children feel secure and cared for when parents communicate clearly. Don’t leave it to the children to pass on their news and never ask children to communicate with their other parent on your behalf. You might find it impossible to imagine talking frequently and easily with your ex about the children. Some parents fall into conversation quite easily after separation but, for others, it can take years to feel OK. Take small steps and accept that it might take some time to get it right.   When communication is difficult Communication can be difficult because: You feel too anxious, angry, or upset to speak to the other parent. You always end up arguing – it’s easier to not talk at all. The other parent refuses to speak to you. You feel the other parent is more powerful than you. You simply don’t like the other parent. You struggled to communicate even when you were together.       Why it’s worth the effort In the long run, it will be easier on everyone if you find a way of communicating with your ex that works for you both. Children’s needs change as they grow older, and your life will change too – you need to be able to sit down together and talk about how these changes will affect you. Keeping the dialogue open and developing some goodwill makes the difficult conversations that much easier There are affordable divorce plans available from our partners at amicable, who have people available to talk through some of your options.
Article | separation, communication, co-parenting
4 min read

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