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Health and relationships
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
“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
“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
“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
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
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
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
The myth of common-law marriage
Common-law marriage is basically a term for couples who are married outside of a registered civil or religious marriage. Otherwise known as an ‘informal marriage’ or ‘marriage in fact’. Now for the myth. The myth of common-law marriage is that couples who live together have the same legal rights as married couples. It springs from a time when there was uncertainty about what constituted a ‘marriage’. Church and State marriage ceremonies are relatively recent, having been grafted onto older popular rites where legitimacy was not dependent on written law.   Marriage by consent In earlier times, the validity of a marriage depended on the consent of two people publicly announced or at least symbolised by the exchange of rings or love tokens. These were spoken rituals, celebrated by the people themselves; their witness and memory of the events was evidence that made the marriage legitimate. Among Anglo-Saxons, the Beweddung was a public ceremony led by the father of the bride. The groom and his people offered weds to the bride’s guardians - these were guarantees that the bride would be looked after. In Scotland and northern England, couples exchanged vows (plighting the troth) by joining their hands in the handfast. They were then called wyf and husband. A woman without a guardian – such as a widow – gave herself to the groom. The partners exchanged weds and rings, kissed and clasped hands and this was overseen by an orator. The man would give the woman the gift of a ring to imply a formal contract.   Married ‘in the eyes of God’ In the 13th century, Pope Innocent III declared that the free consent of both spouses was the sole essence of a marriage, not the formal solemnities by a priest or in church. A valid and binding marriage was a verbal contract, through an exchange of vows between a man and a woman over the age of consent (14 and 12), with two witnesses and expressed in the present tense. A promise in the future tense was only binding if it was followed by sexual intercourse, which was taken as evidence of consent in the present.   Married ‘in the eyes of God and the Church’ Priests initially got involved as orators, inviting witnesses and prompting the vows. They later offered the church porch as a place to announce and witness vows made at other public places such as the market cross. Gradually, the clergy took over the role of orator, asking those attending whether there were objections to the marriage and then getting the couple to repeat their betrothal agreement publicly. This was symbolised by rings and coins placed in the priest’s book. By the 1500s, most people brought their vows to church as the final part of the marriage process, following the betrothal and church services started to take place at the altar rather than in the porch. The church did not approve of men and women taking themselves as man and wife before their vows were ratified by the church, since canon law recognised this as the basis of holy matrimony. However, the church courts recognised common rites - spousals, handfasts, and trothplights followed by intercourse - as valid marriages.   Marriage and the law All three branches of the law – ecclesiastical, common and equity – had control over some aspects of marriage. Medieval canon law determined the rules of marriage. These were revised and restated in the Canons of 1604 and enforced by the church courts. The criminal courts could become involved if either party chose to sue the other for a statutory offence like bigamy. Equity law had jurisdiction over trust deeds and became involved in marriage where there was litigation around marriage settlements and the enforcement of trust deeds. The various courts overlapped and sometimes contradictory verdicts were returned as to what was or was not a legally valid marriage. After inheritance, marriage was probably the single most important method of transmitting property. As a result, much of the litigation about marriage was about property over which the common law had legal jurisdiction.   Uncertain unions and clandestine marriages By the 16th century, large numbers of people were living together in situations of varying uncertainty, as there was no consensus about how to conduct a legally binding marriage. Some – especially poorer people – still opted for private verbal contracts, which were ‘valid in the eyes of God’, but not always enforceable in court. Others chose a clandestine marriage conducted by a clergyman. These followed the ritual of the Book of Common Prayer but violated canon law in a number of ways, most notably by being performed in private without either the reading of banns or a valid licence from a church official. The advantage of these ceremonies was that the clergyman’s involvement gave it respectability and it was recognised as legally binding, having full property rights in common law. There was a huge demand for clandestine marriages as they were considerably cheaper than official church marriages and held in secret – an important consideration for minors who feared opposition from parents, or servants who feared dismissal.   The State steps in By the 1730s, public opinion was beginning to turn against the clandestine marriage system with complaints in London newspapers about the fraudulent seduction of heirs and heiresses. In 1753, Lord Harwicke’s Marriage Act, ‘for the better preventing of clandestine marriages’, stipulated that no marriage was valid unless performed by an ordained Anglican clergyman in the premises of the Church of England after either thrice-called banns or purchase of a license from the bishop or one of his surrogates. In the case of both banns and license, at least one party had to be resident for at least three weeks in the parish where the marriage was to be celebrated. Parental consent for those under 21 was strictly enforced. Only the Quakers and Jews managed to have their marriage rites exempted. There were strong objections to the Act. The Gentleman’s Magazine claimed ‘proclamations of banns and publick [sic] marriages are against the nature and genius of our people’.   Common-law marriage practices Despite the Marriage Act of 1753, people still tended to keep marriage informal – many felt that the State and the Church had no business in their private lives. One informal ceremony was the Gretna Green wedding. The Marriage Act applied to England and Wales, so it became popular to cross into Scotland, where you only had to have your consents witnessed. As the railways opened, people developed ‘package tours’ offering bed and breakfast for ‘celebration and consummation’. In Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cheshire, those who had gone through common-law rites were said to be ‘married on the carpet and the banns up the chimney’ or ‘married but not churched’. In almost every part of Britain the term ‘living tally’ established itself: They’re livin’ tally They’ve made a tally bargain They’re noant wed, they’re nobit livin’ tally The origins are obscure but the term ‘tally’ became widespread in the 19th century. It referred to a definite, but conditional contract or ‘bargain’, based on the consent of both parties and protecting the women in the case of motherhood. Studies of rural areas have found as many as one in seven couples ‘living tally’. In the mid-Victorian period and throughout the following hundred years, common-law arrangements reduced considerably. Since the 1960s, a series of administrative rulings, court decisions and laws have given some legal rights to cohabiters, and the number of couples in cohabiting unions has increased dramatically. These limited rights, however, do not amount to the restoration of the legal recognition of common-law marriage, which ended definitively with the Marriage Act of 1753. References John R Gillis (1985) ‘For Better For Worse: British Marriages 1600 to the Present. Oxford University PressPeter Laslett (1979) The World We Have Lost. MethuenLaurence Stone (1995) Uncertain Unions and Broken Lives. Oxford University Press
Article | marriage, civil partnership, legal rights
7 min read
How to change your name
If you and your partner want to share the same last name, it can be a simple process. How you go about it will depend upon whether you are married or civil partnered, or not. If you marry or register a civil partnership, taking your partner’s surname is fairly straightforward. You can put your partner’s surname on your marriage or civil partnership certificate and this will be accepted as a legal document when changing your name on other documents, like your driver’s licence or passport. Not married or not civil partnered If you are not married and not civil partnered and want to change your name on official documents, you will need to change your name by Deed Poll. This will allow you to change your name on your passport or driving license, but some documents - like birth certificates, marriage or civil partnership certificates, and decree absolute or dissolution certificates - can’t be changed. You can apply for a deed poll online. It costs £14 and comes with a list of instructions on how to complete and return it. Married or civil partnered If you want to take your partner’s surname, you can just take the name as described above. You can also combine your surname with your partner’s, to make a double-barrelled name. All government departments, the Passport Office, and DVLA will accept a marriage or civil partnership certificate as evidence of this. If you and your partner both want to change your surnames completely, you will need a Deed Poll. This is still fairly simple, but it takes a bit more planning. Before the ceremony, one of you can change your name by Deed Poll, and then, when you marry or register your civil partnership, the other can take the new name. You can change your name on your passport up to three months before your wedding or civil partnership registration, but you won’t be able to use it until the actual day of your marriage or registration. If you’re going to need your passport for your honeymoon, make sure you give yourself at least six weeks to get everything changed over. You should not attempt to travel abroad holding documents with different names. Changing your child’s name You can change your child’s first name simply by using the name on a common basis. This is known as a ‘change of name by usage’, and you’ll need to make sure everyone with parental responsibility agrees. Changing your child’s surname could be more complicated, but you may want to do this if you’re joining a stepfamily and want everyone to have the same surname. You’ll need to apply for a Deed Poll and you must get consent from everyone who has parental responsibility. Further information UK Deed Poll Service Deed Poll Office Identity and Passport Service   Glossary Deed Poll: A legal document that binds the person who signs it to the course of action detailed on the Deed Poll document. Deed Poll document: Provides documentary evidence that you have changed your name and that you are legally binding yourself to using your new name. A Deed Poll will be recognised by all UK government departments, UK companies, and organisations if it is prepared by a recognised authority (such as the UK Deed Poll Service) or a solicitor.
Article | legal rights
3 min read
How offshore work affects relationships
Sometimes our jobs require us to work away from home for long periods of times. Some people, including oil rig workers and members of the Royal Navy, can spend weeks or months working offshore or abroad. In the weeks or days leading up to the next offshore shift, the partner who is left behind can feel increasingly worried about how these long periods of separation will affect the relationship. My army boyfriend will be deployed abroad in August. I'm afraid he might not come back, that he might come back not wanting me, or I just might not be able to wait for him at all. -- Click user Both partners can get lonely during these times apart. My boyfriend got lonely in the beginning and he still does. It’s easier for me as being offshore is so artificial that it doesn't seem like I'm away for long. We keep in touch with each other on a daily basis via online text messaging, and we Skype quite regularly. We met online so this method just feels natural for us.-- Jenny, oil rig worker from Edinburgh Reunions can be just as hard as parting. Being reunited can lead to arguments about how to spend the time together. I spend two weeks offshore and two weeks at home. When I get back we argue a lot about how clean the house is. I don’t always want to get straight into housework after working solid for two weeks without a day off. But when I do start cleaning, my girlfriend complains because she says that I should be spending my time with her. -- Click user Despite initial tensions, many couples manage to make the most of the time they have together. When I get back home, we love going to dinner and movies. I drive him to and from University – we do pretty much everything together to maximise the time we have. -- Click user
Article | long-distance, military, vox-pop
2 min read
Being in your first same-sex relationship
Being in your very first relationship is an exciting time. But when you’re gay, lesbian or bisexual, your first relationship can be difficult. Same-sex couples entering their first relationship face unique difficulties that heterosexual couples don’t. Some can suffer prejudice from friends and family, and some choose to keep their relationships a secret. Others may have a strong support network but no gay, lesbian or bi peers they can turn to for specific advice. Here, men and women recall their first same-sex relationships. Were you ‘out’ when you were in your first same sex relationship? It was in 1981. I was out, but only just. I think it was probably less than six months after I told my parents -- Chris, Bury ‘I was 23 and not out when I had my first same sex relationship. It was all very much a secret and was fun for the first month. But in the end, it became a strain on the relationship. Having to make excuses about where I was going for the weekend, who I was with, etc.  We could only meet at his place and even when we went out as a couple it would be to places I kind of knew my family and work colleagues wouldn’t go’. -- Ty, Wimbledon ‘No, I wasn't out. I had always been open to the idea of having a relationship with a woman but it had never happened before. I think this made the initial steps a little tentative but quite fun’. -- Liz, Shotton Reactions from friends and family My sister was fine with it. I didn't really talk to people about my relationship as I thought it was obvious - I lived with my partner and we were raising a child. I would challenge people who made homophobic comments and was quoted passages from the Bible on a few occasions. But the straight friends I had did not seem too concerned about my living arrangements. -- V, London There was some resistance from some family members and friends, although the majority was supportive. My parents worried about how people would view me and not give me the same chances. -- Amy, London Seeking relationship advice The only person I spoke to about my relationship was my best straight friend. Not that he was the best person to ask. To be honest, I just took things as they came. This was in 1996 before we had the internet, so information about homosexuality and same sex relationships was incredibly limited. -- Serge, The Netherlands   The difference between first same-sex and opposite-sex relationships I had a girlfriend for four years before my first gay relationship. While it was very nice I always felt that there was something missing, that it was pretend and not real.  With my first same sex relationship, I felt more comfortable with myself when I was with him. -- Ty, Wimbledon  I had only been in straight relationships before meeting my partner. I think being with someone of the same sex means it can be easier to know what is going to be pleasurable. -- Liz, Shotton It was different as people saw straight relationships as normal and a given. Both same sex and straight relationships were new and awkward. -- Amy, London
Article | same-sex, vox-pop, identity
3 min read

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