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Parenting through Rise-filtered glasses
As a new parent, you might find yourself cut off from some of your usual social outlets, stuck at home for long stretches of time with only the baby for company. At this time, family and friends can be more important than ever, providing support and advice to boost your confidence and help get you through the tougher days. If your friends and family live far away, or if you don’t have face-to-face access, online social media can help you and your partner feel more connected to the outside world. Emotional support and positive feedback from other parents can also be invaluable as you figure things out [1] [2]. Social media can give you access to this, but it also helps you stay in touch with old friends who keep you connected to the parts of your life outside your parenting role [3]. Beating loneliness with online social interaction Your baby is always going to be your first priority, but these other social connections are important. As humans, we need to have meaningful relationships with each other – when we disconnect socially it can affect our health, making us more stressed and more likely to get sick, and affecting our sleep and concentration [3]. Social media can help you feel less isolated but it’s important to pay attention to the way you use it. Parents who actively engage with friends on social media tend to feel less stressed and more positive about their role as parents [2] but people who just spend more time on social media without engaging tend to feel more isolated, not less [3]. The difference here is between use and interaction. We’ve all spent time staring into our phones, refreshing our social media feeds in the hope that something new will come up. But this isn’t going to help you feel more connected when you’re knee-deep in baby wipes waiting for your partner to come home. You’ve got to reach out and engage with people if you want to experience the positive effects of social media. Turning off the filters It’s also important to keep some perspective on what you see through the lens of social media. We all know that Facebook life isn’t real life, and that nobody ever looks as good as they do on Instagram, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of seeing things through Rise-filtered glasses and believing everybody on social media is having a better time than you.  If social media is your only window into your friends’ lives, you might start thinking they are living happier, more connected lives than you [3]. Try to remember that you’re only seeing an edited glimpse of what your friends want the rest of the world to see. When your social networks start making you feel worse instead of better, take a step back and have a think about who you could reach out to for a chat. It’s the social aspect of social networks that’s valuable, so the next time you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through posts, send a message instead – ask for advice, vent your feelings, or just tell someone a funny story about your day. The empathy, advice and humour that you come across online can give you a life-affirming confidence boost and make you feel better about how you’re getting on as a parent [4]. You might even want to start by making a post here on Click.   References [1] Madge C., O’Connor H. (2006). Parenting gone wired: Empowerment of new mothers on the Internet? Social and Cultural Geography, 7, 199–220.[2] Bartholomew, M. K., Schoppe‐Sullivan, S. J., Glassman, M., Kamp Dush, C. M., & Sullivan, J. M. (2012). New parents' Facebook use at the transition to parenthood. Family relations, 61(3), 455-469.[3] Primack, B.A. et al (2017) Social Media Use and Perceived Social Isolation Among Young Adults in the U.S. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 53(1), 1-8.[4] Fletcher, R., & St. George, J. (2011). Heading into fatherhood—nervously: Support for fathering from online dads. Qualitative Health Research, 21(8), 1101-1114.
Article | social media, parenting
6 min read
“Saving my marriage”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   My husband of 18 years has threatened separation/divorce because he feels we argue too much. While I don't agree with “too much” I feel what we argue about is stupid. We have 3 beautiful boys and we love each other deeply, have a connection and we are best friends. However, as of late our arguments have gotten too much. It's the same thing over and over again. He has turned off google maps on his phone and when I asked him about it he says it feels like he's on a leash if I know where he is at all times. Thing is... where could he be if he's at work all day? Sometimes he leaves for lunch just to get out for fresh air, go to the store or whatnot. No big deal. I am only left to wonder if he wants to do something he shouldn't so I won't find out. The only reason I want the maps on is for peace of mind if he suddenly cannot contact me/broke down and etc... I only use it for those reasons and nothing else. He has said he is not comfortable with me knowing where he is when I already know where he is--work, store and whatnot. So what's the big deal? I have peace of mind knowing he can see my maps when I am out and about with the kids or alone at night as I sometimes have to do shopping when he gets home from work. If he has nothing to hide he should not see an issue with this but he does. I have asked him what's the real reason you don't want me to see your maps and he says he doesn't know. As I stated we both love each other very much and can see each other spending the rest of our lives together and growing old. We are happy except for when we argue but cannot get past this and it would be a ridiculous reason to divorce!
Ask the community | communication, arguments
“Dating with a guy with a kid”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hi guys, I really need your help here please as I am going desparated now. I met this guy four months ago when I was traveling to LA for my vacation. Quickly we clicked and bond together. We really enjoyed our every single moment there so we decided to keep contact and talk everyday when I came back to FL.We’re really open and transparent about our private life. I’ve never married or had a kid so everything is pretty simple from my side. He is actually still married, he and his wife submitted the divorce file and waiting for court hearing. They have 8 year old son and he’s mainly custody of the kid as his wife is flight attendant and unable to take care of the kid full time. So weeks ago he decided to bring his son with him to visit me. When his wife found out, she went crazy, they had fight, yelled to each other and she did everything to ruin his trip, acted like a bitch (as he said). Previously she was the one to control everything in their married life and he and his son have to do whatever she wants. Now since he’s with me, she may think that things are out of her control and therefore extremely upset about that. She tried everything to catch thie attention, including putting herself in trouble (like sleeping pill overdose) and my boyfriend had to be there take care of her. Eventually my boyfriend still visited me 2 days ago and they are staying with me for 2 weeks. His son is pretty a good boy but his head is packed with all the bad things from his mother about me so he’s cold to me and dislike me. And my boyfriend is too soft to his every single request, with no rule for kids and I have feeling that he’s spoiling the kid a little too much. Whatever his son asks, he follows and I haven’t seen him say no to his son during 3 days here. He came here to visit me but we hardly hold hand, hug because his son sticks around him all the time and barely talk to me though I’ve been trying to be nice. He slept with his son as well and only came to my bed at 2 or 3am and then back to his son at 6am before he woke up. I feel like I am the person who is left out in my own house, everytime his son openly talk to me, his mom called and later on, he dislike me again. I don’t really have experience with kid or dating a guy with kid so I am pretty lost here. I even feel a bit insecured because of my boyfriend’s enabling characteristic and the fact that his wife is having trouble with her boyfriend. I don’t know if it’s just my feeling or it’s common to all others who date a guy with kid. How could I do to get rid of this kind of feeling or what should I do to make this situation better, to make his son like me a bit more? Or will I have to run around and deal with his crazy wife if I still want to be with him in the future? I really appreciate your advices please
Ask the community | long distance, ex-partner, step-parents
“Issues around drinking”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I've had a relationship with a woman for nine years and we've had our ups and downs. She has had a bad past with alcoholics (exes) so she was very critical on no drinking. After no drinking for over six months, proving it's not a problem for me, she began telling me “if you really want to have some after work please just do it at your house”. I agreed and would have some every now and then. Never getting drunk and no fighting the entire time. We recently got engaged a few months ago and moved into a new house together a few weeks ago. As we were moving in she began buying me beer saying the man of the house should be able to have some socially and after a hard day work. Strangely enough even her ex, with his new woman was allowed to come help us with the move and he was getting drunk on beer at our new home while I sipped some vodka. Everyone having a great time and no problems. A few days ago after a long 12hr day, I came home and had a couple of shots to unwind. Afterward she “finds” the bottle by the back door where I smoke a cig, she gets into my bank account statements and sees i have indeed had drinks at my past home... And gets so furious that I am basically kicked out of the new home without any sit down adult conversation about what the issue is. As it turns out, she says I was supposed to announce to her when i was going to have some, which means to her I was dishonest and lied by keeping it “secret”. Of course, I don't remember being told that and so I'm naturally confused so much about being told I can drink at my own home, and her buying me beer, and even having an ex and family over to the new house drinking, and then being so furious about having a drink when i came home after a long day. Despite an apology for any misunderstanding, and pointing out that if she didnt know, after telling me I could... Then consider the fact that there was no getting drunk and that we never had a problem caused by it for the entire time. She simply says i decieved her and knows about her past. Yet lets her ex come over drinking, and bought me beer??? Not only does this seem like a complete hypocrisy, and feel decieved myself, and even asked for an adult conversation to sort out the misunderstanding, with an apology for such... Its been nothing but a heavy text war. I have no clue on how to proceed with fixing this issue while I feel emasculated left without a home. Even if this is somehow worked out, and come back, it would really feel like my home if I can be kicked out of my own place without the decency to even have an adult discussion. I can't even see where I have done anything wrong, while she demands that I admit my wrong doing. Is there any possible way to proceed to fix this?
Ask the community | arguments, communication, addiction
Long distance loneliness
Being apart from the person you love is hard. While absence may make the heart grow fonder, it can also fuel loneliness – and loneliness is a big deal. Some even believe that loneliness can do as much damage to our bodies as smoking [1]. But, more positively for those in long distance relationships, one study suggests that couples who are coping with living apart often have more intimate and meaningful interactions than couples who live together [1]. So how can you make the most of your long distance relationship and take the edge off the loneliness? The most important thing in keeping a long distance relationship going is communication. Here are a few ways you can keep the communication oiled. Have a communication schedule. This might seem a bit mechanical but having a specific time for your chats means you can look forward to spending time your partner without putting your own life on hold. If you know when it’s happening each day, you can develop a routine that works with the rest of your life. Knowing each other’s day-to-day schedules can help you feel closer. Do things together, even though you’re apart. Try reading the same book, or watching the same movie at the same time. Play online games together or even do the same crossword in the paper – find an activity you like and share it from a distance. Plan your future. Have a goal in mind for where the relationship is headed, and when you might be able to move closer together. Keep talking about this so you’re on the same page. Talking about your future can help keep you both positive. Talk to people when you’re down. If you’re really missing your partner, let your friends and family distract you and buoy you up through the hard days. Talk to your partner about your worries. This builds trust and helps avoid the misunderstandings that can happen when there’s no face-to-face interaction. Keep the sexual side of the relationship alive. Sexy texts or even phone sex can help you beat sexual frustration.  It will be lonely at times – that’s almost unavoidable – but a physical distance doesn’t have to stop you being an intimate, committed couple. And, if couples living apart have more intimate and meaningful interactions than couples who live together, there’s plenty to be positive about. References   [1] Crystal Jiang, L. Hancock, J.T. (2013) Absence Makes the Communication Grow Fonder: Geographic Separation, Interpersonal Media, and Intimacy in Dating Relationships. Journal of Communication. 63 (3) 556–577  
Article | long distance
3 min read
“Do trust issues ever go away?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I've been in a relationship with my now girlfriend for about 3 years. We have been living together for about 2 years. We recently have had some trust issues (going both ways), and though we have everything worked out, things feel a little "weird", and I'm wondering - will that feeling ever go away? Without getting into too much detail, she hacked into my email account (which is where I am having a difficult time with the trust), but admittedly she found some things that shouldn't have been there (which is where she is having a tough time). Specifically, a month or so ago, I had posted an ad in Backpage - it wasn't a serious ad, nor did it have any serious intentions, or real intentions at all. I sound like a terrible person writing this, but for years in the past, I had posted fake ads on Backpage looking for the responses to get some sick jolly out of it. I realize how wrong it was now, but - I'm wondering, will this weird feeling ever go away? And more specifically - I feel like while I will get over this issue, and though she says she is over it, I'm wondering if ever truly will be, or will ever truly trust me? People have much worse issues (actual physical cheating, gambling, ETC.) that strong relationships can prevail over - right? Or not so much?  Thank so much for any insight or help. 
Ask the community | trust
She suddenly ignore me.
I knew one girl in my previous company and we never talk to each other before. I been there for more than two years, one thing I realise is each time she see me, she will smile with me , inside the lift, in meeting room, anywhere you name it. On my last day with my previous company, she suddenly came and see me and said this word to me: " lucky I can see you and she shake hand with me and wish me all the best" , after that I told her that we will see each other again in near future, after three week I left my previous company, I got her contact and I text her for the first time. the first time text is positive but after second text on another date (two week after first text) , she not reply to me anymore.. I want be friend with her not the relation one as I already married. Below are the conversation between us: John said: Hi Sally , how are you? I am John Sally said: Sorry John, from? John said: HP ex staff.. Remember my last day u came and shake hand one... Sally said: Wah.... many ... which is the John Lee? John said: Yes.. haha Sally said: Hehe sorry I dint save your number Sally said: Great Sally said: Now that I recall Sally said: (she put Smiling Face With Smiling Eyes) John said: Hope u doing well Sally said: Thank you... not so well... but stuck in Maxis Sally said: How have u been, ? John said: I am good.. my blood pressure also improve lot... Sally said: Gosh.... I need a glucose n pressure machine now Sally said: Good to hear that Sally said: Hehe John said: U also had Blood Pressure? John said: I really hope one day we can meet up again... hehe..for lunch or dinner. Sally said: Sure, my pleasure Sally said: Now heading north- balik kampung for weekend John said: Oh... ok.. take care and drive safe . keep in touch ya Sally said: Ok After two weeks I text her again said “ How your life recently?” then until now she not response to me..
Ask the community | stress, communication, jealousy
“Man-child husband”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   My husband is in his late 20s and is terrible with money. He has never been GREAT but now it’s awful. We have never shared a bank account until a few months ago before we bought a house. After that, I caught him taking money from my savings acct when he made well enough to pay his bills AND have spending money. Lately, he hasn’t been paying any bills besides $150, but still has no money. He has a part time job after getting laid off, and has no drive to get a full time job. I work full time and I’m sick of paying all the bills by myself. I watch him do fun stuff with his friends while I work, come home, wait to go back to work. He doesn’t contribute to chores. He spends every second he can with his friends. I’m also concerned he has a drinking problem since for awhile he was at the bar or knocking back a 6pack every night. He’s “tried to quit” drinking several times and it only lasts a month. He’s also gained 75 pounds (majority from drinking). Two months ago, his car was repossessed after he said he’d “been making payments”. Now we owe his parents money and I found out a few days ago he has a $2k credit card bill I had no idea about. We just got our tax returns back and he thinks he’s entitled to my half and his half. AND he overdrew his bank account, causing them to take the money from my account. So, for the 2nd week in a row I have no money to pay bills or buy groceries! I have bailed him out with money several times. When his license was suspended and we had court costs....fixing things on his car that he “didn’t have money for”.....money for a down payment for the car..... I don’t believe I’m responsible for the debt he has accrued. I feel as if the tables were turned he wouldn’t be offering any help to me. I feel maybe if he had to dig himself out of debt he will finally learn a lesson. I love the man he used to be, and I really want to make our marriage work but I’m so frustrated. I feel as if I’m ready to settle and have children and he still wants to act like a child. To make matters worse, his mother is always trying to give me advice on “how to be a better wife”. I’ve tried nagging him, gently and encouragingly talking to him, and praying and nothing has helped. I feel like a failure and it’s put me into a depression. I’ve considered temporary seperation, but it breaks my heart to even think about that. Please give me any advice. I feel like it’s a losing battle 🙁
Ask the community | stress, communication, jealousy
Arguing over text message or email
With modern technology, there’s always the potential for misunderstanding, and never more so than in the hands of a bickering couple. So why do so many of us allow our arguments to be played out over texts, emails and social media? Technology makes arguing easier, though rarely any more effective. If you come home to a pile of dishes your partner promised would be cleaned, the first reaction might be to vent your frustration instantly with an angry text. If a final demand notice arrives while your other half is at work, you might not want to wait to let them know what a downer it’s put on your day. One of the biggest problems with arguments over text or email is that it’s very hard to get the tone right. Tone is often difficult to convey and easy to misinterpret. Communicating with the written word can also lend itself to passive aggressive conversations, where one partner insists everything is fine in a spoken conversation and then allows the real issue to come out through texts or emails. This can be frustrating for the other partner if they want to talk things through. Some tips Think about the times you and your partner have made up after a row. What ended the argument – a knowing smile; a hug; a cup of tea? If you’re apart, you won’t always be able to make up like this, but it can often help just to hear each other’s voices on the phone. Face-to-face communication isn’t always possible and telephone call don’t always work. If you find that your partner deflects difficult subjects or shuts down on the phone, or you find it too emotional to say what you mean, email can be a valuable tool. A reasoned email can sometimes be the easiest way to express and acknowledge different points of view. Writing things down gives you a chance to stop and think, and get your point across clearly. It’s very important to allow yourself a cooling off period. Don’t send important emails when you’re still feeling upset, as you risk making impulsive comments that you may later regret. Instead, try to list the points you’d like your partner to consider. By sending them in an email you’re giving each other time to think about the reasons for being upset as well as ways to resolve them. You can then try to have a calm discussion about the issues on the phone or next time you meet, rather than a full-on argument. Remember that timing is crucial. If you send an email about last night’s bust-up and it hits your partner’s inbox during a hectic day at work, it may just make the situation feel harder to deal with. Pick your moment, and don’t hit the send button until you’re confident they’ll have the time and space to deal with it.
Article | communication, social media
“I feel lonely at home”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I have been married since a year now. I am little possessive about him. I sometimes overreact because of this. As per my concept I want a person who shares everything with his wife. He likes to take his own space all the time. I feel lonely at home many times. He got a big helping mentality. He daily drops his colleagues( girls) at their home daily after work as they also stay nearby our area. I have no objections in this, though deep inside my heart I don't like it. But i take it very casually. One day he got some urgent work to complete in office. he could not complete it within the office time. So he decided to do the work after reaching home since he cant make other female colleagues wait for him whom he drops daily. I could not understand and find any reason he saying justifiable. Why cant he tell that he got work and ask them to find a way of their own to reach home. We live in a metropolitan city and there's no shortage for a public transport or for taxis. On the same day, I went for shopping in the evening and he usually picks me after I am done with shopping. That day he went straight home saying he got work and I myself found way to reach home. When I called him he said he reached home and if I need he can come and pick me. I said I will manage myself because first of all I din like the fact that he went straight home without picking me. Here I feel that he simply ignoring me and he's giving importance to his colleague gals. He made it sure that they are dropped home regularly and din mind he could pick me back or not. Please advise me. i don't know whether I need to change my attitude in life. I am ready for anything because I need him in my life. I am stuck in life with problems similar to this. Help me out please.
Ask the community | stress, communication, jealousy
“My partner won't get the help he needs”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   My partner and I have been together for 18 months. It all happened very suddenly and took both of us by surprise. Even with his history (divorced, 2 kids) as cliché as it is, it was like fate. He and his ex wife have been divorced for a few years but neither have had a serious partner so the custody arrangement has not been adhered to. As he works away from where we live and his kids also live quite a distance away, he would just stay with them whenever he went to see the kids. I was always uncomfortable with this arrangement, but their relationship ended because of her infidelity and he swore that he had no intention or interest at going back there. He just wanted to keep everything amicable for the sake of the kids. Every time he suggested having the kids on his own, she would push back and come up with some reason that she had to be there. She would repeatedly talk to him about her sex life even after he asked her to stop. Whenever he pushed back she would stop answering and cut contact with the kids. I trusted him implicitly and believed that he was working on changing their arrangements so as we could build a life together. What I was aware of but underestimated was her manipulative nature and how deep her hooks are still into him. Late last year he was visiting the kids and tried to break up with me. It came from nowhere and my gut was telling me that I didn’t have the full story. It didn’t take much for him to break down and say that he got really drunk and has a vague recollection that potentially something happened between them. He said she swore it didn’t but he didn’t believe her. We talked, I yelled, we both cried and we agreed that he needed to speak to a psychologist to learn how to deal with her. He suffers from anxiety when he is near her and it doesn’t lift until he is on the plane to come home. They were together for 15 years – she knows how to press his buttons. Long story short – we worked out the indiscretion with his ex-wife on the proviso that he sought help. Since then there have been some changes at his work and he has been away for an extended period of time. Therefore, has not done anything about seeing a psychologist and we have hardly spent any time together – he knows I am angry about that and he has been very withdrawn and not talking to me as regularly. When he came home a couple of weeks ago, he again ended it saying that there was still too much he had to deal with from his divorce, the kids and that his work situation was just not conducive to a relationship. He then went to see the kids and the whole thing just wasn’t sitting right with me. I have trouble letting things go when they don’t make sense to me. After badgering him for a proper answer, it turns out he still feels guilty about what happened and how horribly he has treated me. I still could not see why we could not work through all of that together… until today when I learnt that after he ended it again he slept with his ex wife. He can’t explain the control that she has over him and he knows she is a narcissist and manipulative but he isn’t doing anything to help himself. I am so angry at him but also I love him so much and can’t shake wanting to work through this but it took him making the same mistake twice to actually make the appointment with the psychologist. I know I deserve better but I am totally destroyed and torn about walking away. If he would just help himself and do the things he is saying he will – we could go back to the supportive relationship we had. So to recap - she is manipulative, he is weak and I am still in love. Somebody please talk some sense into me before I drunkenly beg him to keep working on fixing us.
Ask the community | mental health, ex-partner
Finances: planning for the future
Although money isn’t the most romantic topic, it’s an unavoidable part of any relationship. Your financial situation as a couple differs depending on whether you are married, civil partnered, or not. Married or civil partnered couples have a legal duty to support each other but cohabiting couples don’t, even after a separation. Working out a budget can help you keep track of the money you have coming in and how much you spend. You can find a budget planner on the Money Advice Service website. Separate bank accounts If you are not married or civil partnered, you won’t be able to access money held in each other’s separate bank accounts. If one of you dies, any money in the account will not be available until the estate is settled. If you are married or civil partnered, you can only access money in your spouse’s or partner’s account with their permission. If one of you dies, the account becomes part of the inheritance and automatically goes to a spouse or civil partner, unless the will says otherwise. Joint accounts If you have a joint account, you both have the right to access the money. If one of you dies, the account immediately becomes the property of the other, even if you are not married or civil partnered. If you are the only one putting money into the joint account, the money and any purchases you make from it legally belong to you. If you have a joint bank account with your spouse or civil partner, the money - including any debts or overdrafts - is owned jointly, regardless of who has been paying money in, or taking money out. If one partner dies, the account immediately becomes the property of the other. Debts Whether you are married, in a civil partnership, or not, you are not responsible for any debts in your partner’s name, including in their separate bank account. If you do have debts, always take advice as soon as possible. You can speak to Citizens Advice or a debt counselling agency such as the National Debtline (0808 808 4000). In some circumstances, you may need to contact an insolvency practitioner. If you have a joint bank account, things may be more difficult if you are not married and not civil partnered. To close a joint account, you both need to give consent. If the account is not closed, one of you could run up an overdraft and leave the other one responsible for it. If you have a joint mortgage or rent, you are legally responsible for covering each other’s share. Real couples tell their debt stories on our debt and relationships site. Visit the site to see our short animations and expert advice. Credit cards and personal loans If a credit card is in your name, you are liable for the payments, even if your partner is a named user. If you hold the card jointly, then you are both liable. If you take out a loan with your partner, you are both responsible for repaying the borrowed amount. Taxes If you and your partner live together and are not married or civil partnered, you are treated as two separate individuals. This makes a difference to how you are taxed. Married couples and civil partners have certain advantages because they are given tax exemptions for Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax. As an unmarried or uncivil partnered couple, you may be liable for: Capital Gains Tax: This applies to the profit made when you sell or give away an asset, which can include property or possessions worth over £6,000. Everyone has an annual allowance of £11,300 (as of 2017). Beyond this allowance, if you want to transfer assets to your partner, you will be charged Capital Gains Tax if you are not married or civil partnered. Inheritance Tax: This applies to the value of an estate when the owner dies. It is charged in two bands: Assets below £325,000 are charged 0% tax and assets above £325,000 are taxed at 40% (2017). Married and civil partnered people can transfer this to a partner after they die, effectively doubling the threshold to £650,000. As a married or civil partnered couple, you can transfer assets between you without having to pay Capital Gains Tax, and inherit assets from each other without having to pay Inheritance Tax, which can be a large amount of money if a house is part of the inheritance. Although it isn’t possible to avoid these taxes completely, there are ways of arranging your assets to lessen your liability, even if you are not married and not civil partnered. You can ask an accountant or solicitor about the best way to arrange your financial affairs. Benefits and tax credits Some benefits are awarded regardless of marital status. For example, Child Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit are not affected by marital status, income or savings. Other benefits, such as widow’s benefits, are only available to people who are married or civil partnered. Pensions Although the rules vary between pension companies, spouses or civil partners are entitled to inherit pension rights on the death of their husband, wife, or civil partner. People who live together and are not married or civil partnered are in a vulnerable position when it comes to pensions. Employers who give pensions or death-in-service payments to spouses or civil partners do not usually recognise partners who live together. But things are changing and a few pension companies have shown flexibility. The most important thing you or your partner can do is to name each other as the person you want to benefit from the policy. Useful contacts Citizens Advice – legal rights and advice HM Revenue & Customs – UK tax authority Jobcentre Plus – work-related benefits The National Insurance helpline – 0300 200 3519 Tax Credits helpline –0845 300 3900 or textphone 0845 300 3909 Child Benefit Office helpline – 0300 200 3100 Advicenow - guide on tax, benefits, and living together. Community Care - an ‘A to Z’ of benefits. The Pensions Advisory Service – free and impartial pension advice Unbiased – professional and legal advice service database The legal information on this page was checked by Langleys Solicitors, and updated in 2017.
Article | finance
How to be more independent
It might seem like making a commitment has to mean letting go of some of your independence. But, couples who retain a sense of personal independence may be quicker at resolving arguments and better able to invest in the relationship [1]. There’s something fun about merging your life with your significant other, particularly in the early stages, but it’s important to maintain the qualities that make you who you are as an individual – after all, that’s what your partner fell in love with in the first place. Having an independent streak doesn’t mean you’re afraid of commitment - people with a strong sense of personal identity can actually be better communicators. They are less defensive, more honest, and more flexible. They find it easier to be open and to put things into perspective [2]. A strong sense of individuality, then, can mean you have stronger relationships. When you and your partner support and nurture each other’s need for independence, you can start to find a balance that means you’re also happier and more confident in the relationship [3]. If you’d like to reclaim a bit of independence as a way of strengthening your relationship, you might want to try the following tips. 1. Spend some time alone   Alone time gives you a chance to recharge and refresh. We all need a bit of solitude and it’s easy to forget this when we get into relationships. Spend some time reading, or catching up on emails, or just watching something your partner might not be into. It’s also important to keep in touch with your friends, and do some of the things you did when you were single. If you’ve got a group of friends you used to hang out with, give them a call and arrange something. An evening away from your partner will broaden your experiences and give you more to talk about when you next see each other. 2. Keep your online lives separate   Social media plays a big part in how we present ourselves to the world, and how we interact with our friends and families. Being in a relationship can mean our online lives also intermingle with our real lives. For some couples, declaring your love online can make you feel closer and more connected. For others, however, it can feel like a bit of a threat to privacy and independence, knowing that a partner can check up on what we’re doing and who we’re talking to [4]. Don’t go snooping, or trying to work out who they’ve been chatting to – maybe even disconnect your profiles, or mute your partner’s feed. Give each other some online space as well as real space. 3. Plan your own future   Life is full of big decisions. Your decisions around what to do with your life – like where to study, and where to work - may be influenced by many factors, including what you can afford. If you are in a long-term relationship, you may need consider whether to factor your partner into those decisions [3]. Co-ordinating our life plans with those of our partner can mean having to be flexible and make a few compromises, so think carefully about what’s most important to you and make sure your decisions suit you as an individual as well as you as a couple. These days, many people are choosing to wait until a bit later in life before settling into long-term relationships [3]. This can provide an opportunity to figure out what you want as an individual before making decisions about what you want from your romantic relationship. 4. Try living apart together   One - possibly extreme - solution to the issue of combining a committed relationship with personal independence is the increasingly popular practice of living apart together. Couples are described as living apart together when they are in a monogamous relationship but have chosen to maintain separate homes [5]. For many younger adults, living apart together might be a necessity, based on working or studying arrangements, or finances [6], but it could also be an attractive option for couples who want to be together while enjoying their own independence. Living apart together means you can have more control over your daily life, your home arrangements, and even your finances. If these are the kinds of things you tend to argue about, then living apart together might also reduce the risk of conflict in your relationship [6]. You don’t necessarily have to go as far as living apart together but, if you’re the kind of person who falls in deep, you might want to take a moment to remind yourself who you are outside of your relationship with your partner, and to support your partner in doing the same. It might just help you get along a little better with one another. References [1] Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American psychologist, 55(1), 68. [2] Hodgins, H. S., & Knee, C. R. (2002). The integrating self and conscious experience. Handbook of self-determination research, 87-100. [3] Shulman, S., & Connolly, J. (2013). The challenge of romantic relationships in emerging adulthood reconceptualization of the field. Emerging Adulthood,1(1), 27-39. [4] Fox, J., Osborn, J. L., & Warber, K. M. (2014). Relational dialectics and social networking sites: The role of Facebook in romantic relationship escalation, maintenance, conflict, and dissolution. Computers in Human Behavior, 35, 527-534. [5] Levin, I. (2004). Living apart together: A new family form. Current sociology,52(2), 223-240. [6] Benson, J. J., & Coleman, M. (2016). Older Adults Developing a Preference for Living Apart Together. Journal of Marriage and Family, 78(3), 797-812.
Article | communication, independence
5 min read
Long distance: moving closer together
If you’re in a long-distance relationship, you probably already have some ingenious ideas for making things work with your partner. But have you started preparing for the time when you move closer together? Chances are you aren’t planning for your relationship to be permanently long-distance. You may already be looking ahead to a time when you and your partner will be able to live in the same town, or even the same home. And, while that anticipation might be exciting, there’s a lurking danger that things might not go as smoothly as you hope. Rather than feeling more secure, many long-distance couples face greater instability when they move closer together. In fact, the longer they spend apart, the more likely they are to feel unstable, or even break up, when they get back together. One study showed that 82% of couples broke up when they moved closer together [3]. However, all is not lost. Having managed the long-distance situation, it’s likely you already have a good idea of what makes a relationship strong and happy. Couples in long-distance relationships often report having similar or even better relationship satisfaction to those in geographically close relationships [1]. Many long-distance couples also report having higher levels of trust and, thanks to the availability of video calls and instant messaging, are happier with the way they communicate with their partners [2] [3]. All of this, however, runs the risk of creating unrealistic expectations of how the relationship will be when it is no longer long-distance. Couples who only get to see each other on the occasional weekend tend to idealise each other and romanticise the relationship. When you live far apart, it is much easier to present the best side of yourself and keep your unpleasant habits and grumpy morning face out of sight of your partner [3]. One of the reasons it can be tough getting back together is that the non-idealised versions of yourselves suddenly have to get to know each other. Any transitional point in a relationship can be difficult to navigate, and switching from a long-distance relationship to a geographically-close one is no different. If you’ve talked about living together, try living separately at first, and adjust to being in the same town before you share a home. Moving in together can present challenges for any couple, so if you’re accustomed to being apart from one another, it’s worth paying attention to how you manage the change. Many of your routines and behaviours will be different, including sex. Increased availability may run the risk of making things feel less special or important. Talk to each other about what you want and figure out together how it’s going to work for you. Try not to put too much pressure on yourselves for everything to be perfect. Focus on the positives and enjoy the fact that you can do things together that you couldn’t before. One of you may also be adjusting to living in a new town, which can be stressful in itself. If you’re the one who has moved, give yourself some time to discover your own things, rather than just falling into your partner’s routine. If your partner has moved closer to you, join in with their exploration by finding new places together that neither of you has been to before. Give each other a bit of space so you can still be yourselves. Accept that it is a period of adjustment and take things slowly, particularly in the first few months. Talk to each other about what you both want from the relationship, and then work slowly towards your shared goal, allowing it to unfold slowly and naturally. It may be a shock to the system, but the more openly you communicate about the changes, the easier you’ll find it to deal with the change together and come out smiling on the other side.   References [1] Dargie, E., Blair, K., Goldfinger, C., & Pukall, C. (2013). Go Long! Predictors of Positive Relationship Outcomes in Long Distance Dating Relationships. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. doi:10.1080/0092623X.2013.864367 [2] Crystal Jiang, L., & Hancock, J. T. (2013). Absence Makes the Communication Grow Fonder: Geographic Separation, Interpersonal Media, and Intimacy in Dating Relationships. Journal of Communication, 63(3), 556–577 [3] Stafford, L., & Merolla, A. J. (2007). Idealization, reunions, and stability in long-distance dating relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 24(1), 37–54 [4] Lydon, J., Pierce, T., & O’Regan, S. (1997). Coping with moral commitment to long-distance dating relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73(1), 104–113
Article | long distance
8 min read
The importance of small gestures
Small gestures like unexpected gifts and surprise cups of tea can make a big difference to your relationship. A major study conducted by The Open University and published in 2013 [1] discovered that deceptively simple actions such as saying ‘thank you’ to your partner, touching base during the day with a text message or even just bringing your partner a cup of tea in bed could be the foundations of a long and successful relationship. The study conducted an online survey which had over 5,000 respondents and 50 in-depth interviews. As part of the survey, people were asked to answer questions such as “What two things do you like best about your relationship?”. The results were clear: what people valued most from their partner are small everyday words, gestures and actions. Very few respondents said that their happiness depended on grand romantic gestures like being whisked away on a luxury holiday. Although some people mentioned typical gifts like flowers and chocolates, most emphasised the thoughtfulness of the way the gift was presented and its meaning to them individually, rather than just being touched by the gift itself. For example, picking up a box of your partner’s favourite chocolates from a shop she loves but can never get to is likely to be more meaningful than a box of standard chocolates from the supermarket. So many people wrote that they feel appreciated when their partner makes them a cup of tea that the researchers had to give this very British gesture its own category. They noted that such a “high level of agreement” across over 10,000 different responses was “remarkable”. But the gesture most highly valued was gratitude. Simply thanking your partner for something they have done, whether that’s household chores, giving you a lift, childcare or any other simple task, was the most important thing for all participants of the survey, regardless of age, gender, sexuality and whether or not they were parents. The report says that the most important thing anyone can do in a relationship is to recognise the “time and effort required to complete the everyday, mundane tasks which underpin relationships and smooth running of a household”. If your partner does a lot of chores around the house, then letting them know how much you appreciate this might be a good place to start. With 200,000 to 250,000 couples separating each year [2], this advice might be especially important to married parents. The research suggested that parents are the least likely to make time for each other or for ‘couple time’, to pause each day to say ‘I love you’ or perform any of the small gestures mentioned which add up to the ‘relationship work’ that keeps you close and in love. Communication is often flagged as a major part of keeping a relationship going, and we talk about it regularly on this site. But communication doesn’t have to mean lengthy emotional discussions. Simple emails and texts during the day, sharing something funny you saw, or taking two minutes to send a quick ‘I love you’ text can brighten your partner’s day and keep you bonded throughout the hustle and bustle of your lives outside the home. Being able to share things with your partner, talking openly, and feeling supported with your problems are also an important part of good communication. If you’re looking for a few ideas on little things to remember, below is a list of the top answers for what makes people feel appreciated by their partner:  What does your partner do that makes you feel appreciated?   Says thank you and/or gives me compliments.  Gives me cards, gifts, flowers etc. Does/shares the household chores and/or childcare. Talks with me and listens to me. Is physically affectionate. Says and/or shows s/he loves me. Cooks some/all of our meals. Makes kind and thoughtful gestures.  Makes me tea, coffee and/or breakfast in bed. Supports and looks after me. Is always there for me. Values me and respects my opinions. Makes time to be together, as a couple. Supports my personal interests/career. Sexual intimacy. These little things mean a lot. You might want to put some reminders in your phone or diary to make ‘couple time’ or do something special for your partner once in a while – what that ‘something special’ is will be different for each person. The uniqueness and specialness of the gesture is just as important as the act of performing it. And if you aren’t sure, why not just ask? Care and loving attention like that is the sort of thing that good quality relationships are built on. What does your partner do that makes you feel special? Tell us in the comments below. References [1] http://www.open.ac.uk/researchprojects/enduringlove/sites/www.open.ac.uk.researchprojects.enduringlove/files/files/ecms/web-content/Final-Enduring-Love-Survey-Report.pdf [2] Coleman, L., & Glenn, F. (2009). When Couples Part. London: OnePlusOne Publications 
Article | communication
Coping with relationship stress
When stress interrupts your life, it can affect everything. It can make you more anxious and irritable, affecting your attitude, your energy levels, and the way you communicate. The person most likely to take the brunt of it is your partner, especially if your time and energy are being taken up dealing with whatever is causing your stress [1]. Types of stress To help you deal with stress in your relationship, it can be useful to know whether it’s internal or external stress. Internal stress. This is stress that comes from the relationship itself – like when you and your partner have clashing habits, or different ideas about where you want things to go [2]. External stress. This is stress that comes from outside your relationship – things like work and study, finances, family dramas, or just wondering how to fit everything in [2]. External stress can still affect your relationship even when it’s not directly connected [2]. It can affect your communication skills and may make it harder for you to work together to deal with internal stress. Tackling external stress can therefore help you feel happier about your relationship [3] and set you up to work better together as a couple. Coping with stress together External stress might sound like something you have to cope with alone, but it doesn’t have to be. When you’re in a relationship, you share more with your partner than you might be aware of, including the way you manage stress [4]. We know all the old platitudes – a problem shared is a friend in need (or something like that) – but there’s actually evidence to suggest that couples go through a process known as shared coping [4]. Picture this: You get stressed. Your partner picks up on your stress and tries to help. You notice that you are being supported. If it works, you start to feel better. Coping with stress becomes a shared process where you both put energy into making sure each other are OK. As well as helping you both feel better in general, working through stress as a couple can strengthen feelings of closeness and trust in your relationship [4]. If you’re not convinced, here’s something you can try. Think back to a time when your partner successfully helped you through a stressful experience: What was causing the stress? How was the stress affecting you? What practical help did your partner offer? What emotional support did your partner offer? How was the stressful situation resolved? What was it about your partner’s support that helped you feel better? You might also want to think about times when you’ve been able to support your partner and how this has felt. Reflecting on what has worked in the past can remind you that you are capable of overcoming stress, even if it’s hard to see a way forward at the time. You can use this to help figure out what to do when future bumps or stresses come along. How stress can improve your relationship Relationships are at their most vulnerable during stressful life events like losing a job or the death of a parent; and big changes like moving in together or having a baby. During these times, it’s more common for stress to spill over into your relationship [5]. The good news is that you can develop your coping skills over time and get better at handling stress. Couples who handle smaller stresses at the beginning of their relationships are more likely to cope better when the bigger things come up [5]. When you deal with stress, no matter how small, you’re building your resilience and learning positive relationship skills. Over time, you’ll become more confident about using these skills to conquer whatever life throws at you [5]. You may not be immune to stress, but you’ll be more likely to have a sturdy relationship in which to sail through the storms.   References [1] Randall, Ashley K, and Guy Bodenmann. 2017. ‘Stress and Its Associations with Relationship Satisfaction’. Current Opinion in Psychology, Relationships and stress, 13 (February): 96–106. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2016.05.010. [2] Randall, Ashley K., and Guy Bodenmann. 2009. ‘The Role of Stress on Close Relationships and Marital Satisfaction’. Clinical Psychology Review 29 (2): 105–15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2008.10.004. [3] Ledermann, Thomas, Guy Bodenmann, Myriam Rudaz, and Thomas N. Bradbury. 2010. ‘Stress, Communication, and Marital Quality in Couples’. Family Relations 59 (2): 195–206. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3729.2010.00595.x. [4] Donato, Silvia, Miriam Parise, Raffaella Iafrate, Anna Bertoni, Catrin Finkenauer, and Guy Bodenmann. 2015. ‘Dyadic Coping Responses and Partners’ Perceptions for Couple Satisfaction: An Actor–partner Interdependence Analysis’. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 32 (5): 580–600. https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407514541071. [5] Neff, L.A., Broady, E.F. (2011). Stress resilience in early marriage: Can practice make perfect? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, DOI: 10.1037/a0023809
Article | stress, communication
4 min read
“So little time, so little options”
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 not sure this site is the correct place for my worries, but at this point I am willing to try just about anything. I like this girl. She's my age(24) and due to being in the band together I've had the pleasure of seeing her twice a week without fail the entire time I've known her, about 2 months. We've been good friends for half that after a wild night of drinking lasting until 4am the next day. That said, I didn't chat to her on fb,whatsapp or what have you outside of the band until about 2 days ago. We DID chat face to face and there was never any awkwardness between us, neither face to face nor online. As a result of a lot of chat over the past 2 days I asked her to a movie tonight to which she said ok,but we'll see how tired we are after band. we ended up not going. I did however manage to set up a meet at lunch this wednesday, the suggestion having come from her. The problem lies in the fact that I am leaving the country in about a weeks time. I do not want to regret not having asked her to be my gf. That said I know it'd be risky and even a bit idiotic to ask her to be my gf the very first time we're meeting outside of band. It may be because I've never actually been in a relationship but the only 'solution' I can think of is to somehow ask her to be my gf and if she does accept then carry out a long-distance relationship. A third party friend who knows both me and her has suggested asking the girl's best friend for advice, but I'm not sure what sort of advice she could give. if there is a way to accomplish this even overseas without rushing it then I'm all ears. if there is a way to make this succeed in the time I have left before leaving the country, I'm listening. lend me your wisdom folks!
Ask the community | communication, long distance
“End of marriage”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   My husband and I made the decision to separate late last year and have recently moved out. He has now needed to leave town for work. Our separation came at the end of a long relationship that began 14 years ago (at 16 and 25) and has putted along, not altogether unhappily but with discontent and basically living completely separate lives for the last 5 or so years. We have one child together who is intense behaviourally and he has not been supportive of my struggles with her, so I have worked part time and managed her as best I can while he has worked full.time and pursued his own interests and hobbies at leisure, never feeling that time at home or helping with our child should be prioritised. Last year it culminated in him travelling overseas several times alone and having a relationship there which has now ended. I see this as the catalyst for ending our relationship but not necessarily the whole reason - none of it would have happened if we were happy together. I don't feel as though we have ever been able.to bring out the best in each other. When he first wanted to separate, I was sad (mainly for our daughter) but worked through those feelings, developed peace with the situation and our need to separate and some months later (officially separated but still under the same roof) very tentatively began a new relationship. After this started he backflipped and said he wanted to be back together. He thinks that he is ready to change. The relationship has been up and down basically since the beginning and I honestly feel like the best thing for both of us would be to peacefully and amicably let it go and work on reconnecting him as a parent. I am ok with the whole thing - a little sad but also excited about rediscovering old hobbies, making new friends, starting a new job and seeing how my very cautious new relationship develops now I am living alone (well, with my daughter). He is not emotionally expressive like me, is holding on to a lot of regret and sadness and is really struggling. I am really worried that he won't be ok on his own, and I still care about him deeply and this hurts me a lot. I guess what I want to know is: How do I know if we have made the right decision? Should I get back with him again, do heaps of counselling and really, really try to make it work (obviously ending the new relationship I have begun, which I would struggle with at this point) for his sake and for our daughter? My gut feeling is that if we did this we'd just be delaying the inevitable. If not, how do I help him move on from the relationship? We obviously are still communicating because of our daughter. And how do I go forth and be happy with someone new when I can't shake the feeling I've left a trail of heartbreak behind me? I know this is too long (and yet still so much is left out)! I don't really expect anyone to have the answers but any ideas or experiences would ve helpful. Thanks 🙂
Ask the community | breakups, marriage, divorce, parenting apart
“Am I a mug??”
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 a lot of advice at the moment this might get a bit long-winded. ok so me and my gf have been together now over two years kinda… so she just recently took a job on in a kitchen as a chef and the first two weeks she hated it she then met this boy and everything changed she started wearing makeup to work everyday! she also seemed to just love being at work and it seemed like she would stay longer than she needed to on purpose, at this point in our relationship we were kinda drifting apart we were living in a little room together and it just seemed to start getting boring, we then broke up she had enough and she left me. Two weeks later she started seeing this boy from work they went on 2 little dates to a pub and then they went on a proper date a week later she then stayed over his that night and they had sex. he then moved back to where he actually lives 2 days later and then told her he wasnt actually looking for a relationship he then didnt contact her for a while, at this time she had blocked me on facebook i think she done this to move on with him however when that didnt happen a few weeks later she unblocked me, maybe a month and a half had passed by now and we started talking again we started hanging out and going on walks together she always seemed not to sure if she wanted to go on a walk but she always did (most of the time) her and this boy now haven’t spoken for a month! We started to sleep together again now only a hand full of times mainly saturday nights neither of us drink so no alcohol was involved, after a few weeks of this we decided to get back together and give it another shot, however the whole time we were doing all this she was still loooking him up on facebook everyday 3-5 times a day normally and clearly still had feelings for him. ok so we have now been back together for maybe 2 weeks and then the night before v day she broke up with me however i feel the causing of that was he messaged her and i feel it stirred loads of feelings up again So she left me maybe 3 days later we got back together again but he started messaging her again a week or so ago and he asked her for money!!! she said yes to this and transferred the money to him hes expected to pay it back at the end of this month, however after this contact again they now occasionally talk on facebook and they also have phonecalls mainly talking about work etc but im not to sure what happens on the phone calls i hope nothing bad, however she is still looking him up on fb everyday whenever she gets a chance she does seem to be trying in our relationship now but i just feel like crap constantly worrying she will leave me for him again The problem is he lives on the otherside of the country and i feel thats whats stopping her i know he doesnt have the same feelings for her and i think she knows that aswell but it just hurts so much to know she cares so much about a guy who basically fuck and ducked her and is now using her for money and she still seems to let him do it he was in her life for maybe a month and i just feel like he means more to her than i do and i just really dont know what to do i love this girl so much she has helped me through so much and i just dont ever see myself without her i dont want to see that! I just need some opinions on the situation anything will help but guys please just be reasonable with me im very delicate at the moment haha thanks
Ask the community | communication, cheating
“Should I tell or not?”
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 have been talking to my guy friend for about 6 months now on and off. Now we have established that we are "a thing" but not quite in a relationship. He is so generous and caring and takes great care of me. Although, he isn't the most eye catching , Im still into him. So he has two vehicles and I sometimes drive the one that he doesn't because my car air conditioner doesn't work and his does. The other day I was taking my cousin somewhere I accidentally hit the breaks a little late but I didn't hit anyone. BUTTT. The other car behind me breaks weren't as fast i guess. So the lady hit the back of his car. So in the moment I'm like "OWE SHIT!" this isn't even my car. So I got out in panic mood and looked at the back bumper to see the damage and i didn't see anything. So the lady was an older sweet lady and was shocked, so we both thought we had no scratches so i went on about my way. When I made it to my destination, I looked again and I saw some scratches and a little hole. So i was freaking out again! But it's an older car so it already had a lot of paint feeling in the front area but still i thought he might notice it. It's been like a week now and he still hasn't noticed it. But today I was driving it again and when i hit the breaks it sounded like a rattle was coming from the back side area where she hit me from. So when i came in i said "Bae has your car been making that noise when you break?". and he said, " I don't know , maybe" . So today is his first day driving the car i had the wreck in , and i'm a little nervous if he is going to question me or just think it was a hit and run. My question to you guys is ; Should I act like I have no clue about anything and say someone must have done it OR Should i own up to it and say i was scared to tell him? . Because i really just don't want any extra problems that's why i haven't said anything yet. PLEASE HELP
User article | communication
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.
Measurement tool | quiz
5 min read
“My boyfriend doesn't want to marry 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, Me and my boyfriend are both 20 have been dating since we were 16. We moved out at 18 and are saving for a mortgage together. Marriage is so important to me (my parents have been married for nearly 30 years) but he doesn't want to get married or engaged. His parents are together but have never married. I would love to get married and show our commitment and love towards each other and make it official but he's not interested. He says he wants to get married at some point in the future but he won't pop the question to me. I feel like something is holding him back and making him not want to marry me but he won't tell me what it is. He says he loves me and won't leave but so many people around us are getting married or engaged who have been together less time and aren't as financially stable as us (to pay for engagement or wedding costs). I cook him meals every day, I clean the house and do the washing. I think I do really look after him, we both look after each other. I work full time and stay in shape. A work colleague of his is getting married and she doesn't do anything for her other half, she doesn't cook or pay rent or for bills, I don't know what I'm doing wrong;( I feel like there's something wrong with me which is the reason causing him to not want to commit. I feel like it's driving me crazy. Marriage is a big deal to me and I dream of how I'd have my special day and I feel bitter and jealous towards other people celebrating their engagements/weddings. It's horrible I know! If he loves me and wants to stay with my forever the why won't he commit and marry me? It gets me down and I love him but I worry as to why he hasn't asked me yet if he does love me and knows how much being husband and wife means to me. What's stopping him? Please help.
User article | communication, marriage
“My ex left my because of her insecurities”
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 woman who fell in love with another woman a year and a half ago. She was married to a man with 3 children. She left her husband for me and we were in love. I still am very much in love with her. During our relationship she began to develope fears regarding people knowing about our relationship. Her mother found out and was not supportive of our relationship she doesn't agree with gay people. My girlfriends husband is a horrible person who knew later on after the split that there was something going on between us and he has said and done horrible things to me. He still has not confronted my girlfriend about me and constantly trys to win her back. When the children see him they tell him about me and because of this he began to punish because they enjoyed me being around although they only know of me as being there mothers 'friend'. My girlfriend is wrapped with guilt regarding breaking up her family home and fears her children fjnding out about our relationship in fear they will hate her and that they will suffer at school etc because of this and her husband hurting them because of their relationship they had with me. We have rowed so many times regarding her insecurities as everyrime she gets scared ahe dumps me. She wont talk she just dumps me and says she can give me what i need in life because of this. She told me that she still loves me just the same but she cant have a normal relationship that i deserve. When she finished with me (all in texts) i said some horrible things to her and she blocked all contact with me and i havent heard from her since. It has been a week and i feel like im dying inside. I love her and want my life with her and i feel like im being punished for being a woman. Im hurting so much and dont know what to do.
Ask the community | communication, social media
 “Falling in love quickly”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   I met someone in a chatroom that I was in. He lives states away. I had no intention on meeting someone. However we just clicked. Continued our conversation in private. Within hours he gave me his phone number. Normally I am very hesitate about contacting people online. But I had no hesitation. We talked on the phone for a long time. Then continued at night and talked for 4 hours. Nothing really sexual. Just chatting. Then the next day we talked for a total of 8 hours.We text and talked on the phone all weekend. Our connection was so incredibly strong. And by day three he told me he loved me. I felt the same. We both were done with relationships before we met. I am a single mom. Haven’t had an official boyfriend in ten years. It’s hard to explain our connection and everything we’ve talked about however he was a player and admitted that opening before we got serious. He says I made him a one woman man. He wants to marry me and have kids. He has talked to my daughter. Another thing I’m very hesitant and protective about but had no hesitation with him. We’ve had fights because I feel like this is too good to be true. We haven’t met. I’m going to see him in April. I was supposed to in February but we got into a fight. He plans on moving to me in a couple months. I’d prefer he wait until we meet in person anyway. We text, talk on phone and FaceTime often so I don’t think it’ll be much different but it could be. He knows I’m insecure and it makes it ten times worse since he’s far away. He’s constantly reassuring me I’m it for him. He’s found the one. And I feel the same and have pulled back in sharing my insecurities. There’s wonderful feelings I have for him but also feelings of distrust I have for him. This is kind of all over the place but I’ve wanted to give some background. My question is...Can people fall in love in three days and have a lasting relationship? It’s almost a fairytale. The night he entered the chat I was asleep and the next morning I was busy at work. I hopped on on my lunch break and he said he wanted to get to know me immediately. And he said before I entered the chat he almost left but there was a fellow military man in there he felt bad for and kept talking to him. So we almost missed each other which makes it even more crazy.
Ask the community | communication, social media
Is your FOMO turning you into a phubber?
Is your FOMO turning you into a phubber? Is your phubbing becoming pphubbing? And what does it have to do with your phone and your relationship? Thanks to smartphones and social media, we have unprecedented access to our social circles. Our friends and partners are only ever a glance away, waiting in our handbags, pockets, unicycle saddlebags, or wherever you’re keeping your phone these days. Unlike our ancestors who lived in caves and used dial-up, we need never miss another chance to let our loved ones know we are thinking of them. But, as you have probably experienced, all this convenience can lead to a fear of missing out (FOMO) which can, in turn, lead to phone-snubbing people in real life. This is called phubbing and if you phub your partner, it’s called pphubbing. Yep, there’s an extra ‘p’. Fear of missing out vs actually missing out Do you always wait until you’re alone before checking your phone and replying to messages? Can you ignore the constant vibrations of a chatty group of friends, or do you need to whip out your phone and throw in your two cents even when you’re supposed to be spending quality time with your partner? In a relationship, it’s important to give each other your full attention, but FOMO can play on your mind, nagging at you to check your phone and see what’s new. It can take a lot of self-control and confidence to resist this urge [1]. It feels innocent enough to throw out a quick message before returning to your real-life conversation but if you’ve ever been on the receiving end, you’ll know what it feels like to get pphubbed. How often have you looked up to see your partner’s thumbs rapidly firing off a message to a WhatsApp group that you’re not in? If you’re super-confident, it might not be a big deal – you can wait for your partner to re-join the conversation – but if you’re still finding your place in the relationship or if you’re not sure where you stand, it can really sting. Being pphubbed can affect how happy you feel in your relationship [2]. A partner who is routinely pphubbed may, consciously or otherwise, start to reciprocate the behaviour, pphubbing you back until it becomes normal for the two of you to be sitting together having separate conversations with people who aren’t even in the room [1]. Before you know it, you’re on a pphub crawl and you can’t even remember how it started. Making connections This doesn’t mean you should delete all your social media apps and fling your phone into the sea. For a start, lithium batteries should be disposed of safely and you can always sell or recycle unwanted technology. Also, your phone can make communicating with your partner easier, letting you say things that might not be easy to say in person. What you communicate to each other over the phone may vary from messages of love to checking if you need anything from the shop. And these more practical messages, while they may seem trivial, can help you stay connected, improving your communication and intimacy [3]. Having a good relationship isn’t always about improving things. Much of the time, it can be enough just to maintain the things that are already working. Some easy ways to strengthen your relationship by expressing your feelings over the phone include: Telling your partner how good they make you feel. Being open about what you need and want from the relationship. Reassuring your partner of the commitment you have made to them [4]. You needn’t overthink this but do try to communicate about the important things as well as the little things [4]. Keeping an eye on your social media use Social media can help you feel more connected, allowing you to reach out to people and develop relationships. It can help you figure out who you are and who you want to be, and it can be a vital means of support if you’re feeling lonely or anxious [5]. But it can also lead you into situations that don’t feel good. If you’re worried you’re spending too much time online, or if your online life is getting difficult, consider taking a break. Step up your privacy settings, block any users who are causing you problems and walk away for a while. It can sometimes help to deactivate your accounts or delete the apps from your phone until you feel a bit better. A rest can make all the difference to how you approach your phone in future. If you’re really worried, talk to someone you trust [5], or ask the community here on Click. Use your phone for whatever social support you need and take advantage of the helpful things is gives you access to, but don’t let FOMO turn you into a phubber – and certainly not a pphubber! Nobody is going to forget you if you don’t respond to their messages right away, but they may start to resent you if you disappear into your phone when they’re sitting right opposite you.   References [1] Chotpitayasunondh, Varoth, and Karen M. Douglas. 2016. ‘How “phubbing” Becomes the Norm: The Antecedents and Consequences of Snubbing via Smartphone’. Computers in Human Behavior 63 (October):9–18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.05.018.[2] Roberts, James A., and Meredith E. David. 2016. ‘My Life Has Become a Major Distraction from My Cell Phone: Partner Phubbing and Relationship Satisfaction among Romantic Partners’. Computers in Human Behavior 54 (January):134–41. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.07.058.[3] Boyle, Andrea M., and Lucia F. O’Sullivan. 2016. ‘Staying Connected: Computer-Mediated and Face-to-Face Communication in College Students’ Dating Relationships’. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 19 (5):299–307. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2015.0293.[4] Rus, Holly M., and Jitske Tiemensma. 2017. ‘“It”s Complicated.’ A Systematic Review of Associations between Social Network Site Use and Romantic Relationships’. Computers in Human Behavior 75 (October): 684–703. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2017.06.004.[5] Frith (2017). Social media and children’s mental health: a review of the evidence. Education Policy institute.
Article | communication, social media
5 min read
“Wasting my time or not?”
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 going to be long so bare with me. I’ve been with my boyfriend for a year and a half.. Granted we were “friends with benefits” for several months to start out and knew each other for several years before. I also used to work for his Mother briefly and have a really good friendship with her. We now currently live together. To give you a little background.. I am 30 (31 in May) and he is 3 years younger than me. I am divorced. He has never really had a serious relationship before me. His longest relationship was about 3-4 months so he is kind of “inexperienced” (his words). We had many conversations about what we wanted when we first started dating. I told him I wanted children and didn’t want to have any after 35. I also said I would never wait 5 years again for someone to marry me (like my ex husband). I know exactly what I want in life and I wanted to be very clear so if it wasn’t what he wanted we could walk away from the get go. I feel like he’s maybe not sure what he wants sometimes even though he says he does. We’ve had several conversations about the future and about 6 months ago he asked me how I felt about getting a joint bank account and combining some bills (cell phone and car insurance) after the New Year. I told him I would be OK with that considering we had conversations about marriage, etc and I felt like it was going there (obviously way dinner than it is). Well a few weeks ago I brought it up again to see when he was thinking about doing all of that because he had not mentioned it again and he was real hesitant all of a sudden. He said that he had changed his mind and thought we should wait until we were married. I felt real confused and like I was getting mixed signals at that point. He assures me that he would never waste my time and if he didn’t think it was going there then he would just end it. It really doesn’t help that everyone around us is either getting married or having kids. Two girls in our friend group had a baby recently, one more just found out that she’s pregnant and another just got engaged. Also, best friend is eloping to her boyfriend next year in Barbados and they’ve only been dating for a little over 6 months. How is it that a guy she hardly knows already knows he wants to spend the rest of his life with her but my boyfriend and I don’t even talk about future things anymore? Even my ex-husband is remarried with a new baby. I know I should be happy for each and every one of them and I am, but it’s hard not to be envious at the same time. Maybe I’m just impatient? I feel like we are just in limbo and playing house at this point. I don't know if I’m wasting my time or not?
Ask the community | communication, marriage
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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 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
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
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
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
New relationships in later life
Starting a new relationship is scary enough when you’re young. But if you find yourself dating in later life, it can be like returning empty-handed to some ancient playing field, only to have found that all the rules have changed. Whether you’re recently separated, bereaved, or have been single for a long time, you may have some worries about starting a new relationship. In this article, we’ll go through some of the common worries late in life daters may have and offer some tips and advice.   Do we want the same thing? When starting a new relationship, be honest with yourself and your new partner about what you want. You may want something casual, or you may be hoping for something long-term. Discuss your intentions with your new partner, but be prepared that your expectations for the relationship may change over time.   Will sex be the same as it used to be? Research shows that people who enjoyed having sex throughout their 30s and 40s are more likely to continue an active sex life into later life. However, it’s important to have your health and wellbeing in mind. Sexually transmitted diseases have doubled among people in their 50s, 60s and 70s [1]. If you’re planning on having sex with a new partner, make sure you discuss contraception methods – you might want to have some condoms handy, just in case!   What about the family? If you are a parent, you may be concerned about introducing your children to a new partner – even if they are grown up and living away from home. If you think the relationship is becoming serious, talk to your children and tell them your feelings about your new partner before making an introduction. You might be surprised at how happy your children are to hear that you’re moving on with someone new. If your children are hesitant, be aware that they are only looking out for you – much in the same way you looked out for them when they were first dating! Another common concern for older people in new relationships is inheritance. If you and your partner have children from previous relationships, you may decide to keep your assets separate so that you can pass on your inheritance to your own family. Your partner may have a different opinion on this matter, so be sure to discuss this together.   References [1] Bodley-Tickell AT, Olowokure B, Bhaduri S, et al. Trends in sexually transmitted infections (other than HIV) in older people: analysis of data from an enhanced surveillance system. Sexually Transmitted Infections 2008; 84:312-317.
Article | mature
3 min read
Finding a balance in your relationship
In every relationship, there’s a balance of power – how you manage this will affect how you feel as a couple. The more equal and balanced your relationship is, the happier you are both likely to be.   What are relationship power dynamics? ‘Power dynamics’ refers to the way decisions are made and who makes them. In a balanced relationship, both partners have an equal say in things. Finding a balance may take some work. After the initial romance of a new relationship, it’s natural for both partners to start trying to regain a sense of independence. This is a common step in most committed relationships. However, when one partner starts trying to get an unbalanced share of power, the relationship can become manipulative [1] and, in extreme cases, this can turn to aggression [2].   Equality is good for both of you Equality is one of the most important characteristics of a good relationship. Both men and women say their relationships are happier and more open when both partners have an equal balance of power [2] [3]. In an unbalanced relationship, the partner who feels disempowered may have other negative psychological outcomes including anger, frustration, and even depression [4] [5]. If you notice an ongoing unbalance in the power dynamic of your own relationship, try to be aware of any signs of aggression creeping in [6] and make sure you stay safe. You do not have to stay in a relationship where someone is trying to control you.   The basis of power Historically, power in relationships was based around money - which usually favoured men. These days, most young couples have a more balanced financial setup, and this is linked to having more equality overall in the relationship [7]. Seeking a balance in your own relationship is a good sign that you’re stepping out of the shadows of history. Money isn’t the only factor in how people exert power in relationships. Power is also built around emotional resources like communication skills and the ability to meet each other’s needs. Someone who is stronger emotionally may be better equipped to love, support, and commit to a romantic partner. Think of a person who is very insecure and afraid that their partner will leave them. In this situation, the other person would hold more emotional power. If you feel like your partner is emotionally stronger than you, think about what you can do to re-balance things. Ask yourself why you feel insecure in your relationship – are you afraid that your partner will leave you? Is your fear based on previous experiences, or is your partner’s current behaviour affecting your trust? Consider sharing your concerns with your partner, so that they know how you feel. Particularly if you’ve had negative experiences in the past, your partner may be able to reassure you that you are just as important to them as they are to you. If your partner seems reluctant to reassure you, you might want to have a think about how long you’re willing to stay in a relationship where you struggle to feel secure.   An age thing? One thing worth being aware of is that, among some friendship groups, things like looks or popularity might be important ‘relationship resources’, meaning some people will accept a less equal role in a relationship because it gives them access to a peer group they admire and otherwise wouldn’t be able to spend time with. If your partner holds the balance of power because they give you access to a certain lifestyle, think about what you get from that lifestyle. What do you gain, and could you get it some other way? Consider taking up a new hobby or activity that gives you access to a lifestyle you enjoy. You may even meet some new friends – if you can make your partner’s peer group less essential to your happiness, you may find that you reclaim some power. Generally, teenagers and young people are more likely to be in equal relationships than older couples [7]. Younger people are less likely to have to rely on each other financially, but there’s also been a general shift in attitudes towards equality, compared to previous generations [2]. Younger couples tend to be more emotionally aware and mutually committed to their relationships. Whatever your age, men and women both say that commitment, attention and good company are among the most important things in their relationships [8]. References [1] Balswick, J. O., & Balswick, J. K. (1995). Gender relations and marital power. Families in multicultural perspective, 297-313. [2] Bentley, C. G., Galliher, R. V., & Ferguson, T. J. (2007). Associations among aspects of interpersonal power and relationship functioning in adolescent romantic couples. Sex Roles, 57(7-8), 483-495. [3] Aida, Y., & Falbo, T. (1991). Relationships between marital satisfaction, resources, and power strategies. Sex Roles, 24(1-2), 43-56. [4] Beach, S. R., & Tesser, A. (1993). Decision making power and marital satisfaction: A self-evaluation maintenance perspective. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 12(4), 471. [5] Whisman, M. A., & Jacobson, N. S. (1990). Power, marital satisfaction, and response to marital therapy. Journal of Family Psychology, 4(2), 202. [6] Mahlstedt, D. L., & Welsh, L. A. (2005). Perceived causes of physical assault in heterosexual dating relationships. Violence Against Women, 11(4), 447-472. [7] Galliher, R. V., Rostosky, S. S., Welsh, D. P., & Kawaguchi, M. C. (1999). Power and psychological well-being in late adolescent romantic relationships. Sex Roles, 40(9-10), 689-710. [8] Van Yperen, N. W., & Buunk, B. P. (1990). A longitudinal study of equity and satisfaction in intimate relationships. European Journal of Social Psychology, 20(4), 287-309.
Article | communication, empowerment
5 min read
How to save your relationship yourself
This is a guest article written by marital therapist, Andrew G Marshall, a marital therapist and author. The views expressed in this article are not necessarily shared by Click or OnePlusOne.   Whenever I tell someone that they don't have to wait for their partner to commit to saving their relationship, I always get a quizzical look: “Doesn't it take two people to make a relationship work?” In over twenty-five years, working as a marital therapist, I've yet to meet a couple where the responsibility for getting into a mess is not pretty evenly spread. So, I have a lot of sympathy for people who're worried that this involves taking all the blame. It doesn't – just taking responsibility for your half. Instead of sitting around waiting or begging your partner to get with the programme, you can take control and break the deadlock. By changing your behaviour, you will be changing the whole dynamic in your relationship. Instead of the current downward spiral – where one nasty action sparks another – you can set up a positive circle where one kind one sparks another. Soon, your partner might notice the difference, soften and become more open to change. Here are five ways to move forward: 1. Look at your own contribution to the problem It’s much easier to complain about your partner's failings than look at your own. But step back and take a long look at what's been going on. When you cut away all the justifications, what do you regret doing? 2. Make a full apology I expect you've said ‘sorry’ many times before. Unfortunately, ’sorry’ can become a knee-jerk reaction or a way of buying peace (even if you don't really mean it). A full apology is different. It acknowledges both the unhelpful behaviour and the impact on the other person. For example: ‘I want to apologise that I haven't done more about around the house. It must have been exhausting for you and made you feel taken for granted’. Don't add an explanation (’I've had a lot of work on’) as this sounds like justification and lessens the power of the apology. 3. Ask yourself what you would like to change Hopefully your apology will have drawn a line in the sand and maybe even sparked a matching one from your partner. Don't worry if your partner remains sceptical. Imagine for a second, your partner has said: ‘Let's try again’, or, ‘Let's work on our relationship’. What would you do differently this time around? Instead of waiting for your partner, make those changes today. For example, listen more, help more with the children or approach problems more calmly. 4. Challenge your interpretation of what's happening between you We imagine there is a straightforward link between events and feelings. Your partner does not text and you feel unloved. However, it is more complex than that. Your reaction depends on our interpretation. For example, ‘he didn't text because he doesn't care’. No wonder you get upset. However, if the interpretation is, ‘he didn't text because his battery is flat’, the feelings might be irritation that he forgot to charge it. Equally, if your partner does not seem to have noticed your added efforts, challenge your interpretation. If it is ‘she truly doesn't really love me’, the response will be despair. If it ‘she is worried that I might slip back into the old ways, then the reaction might be to redouble your efforts. If you're not certain why partner behaved in a particular way, ask them rather than making assumptions. 5. Control your panic In my experience, more relationships fail after a declaration of ‘I love you but I'm not in love with you’ or infidelity because of the panic of the partner on the receiving end rather than the person who has fallen out of love. So, when you're feeling anxious, don't push for reassurance (as this only pushes your partner away) but go for a run, phone a friend or do some deep breathing exercises.
User article | saving it, communication
4 min read
Relationship status: ”It’s complicated”
When folks on Facebook list their relationship status as “it’s complicated”, you may wonder what could be so complicated about it. Surely you’re either in a relationship or you're not, right? Well, research shows that, for many young people, it’s not necessarily so straightforward. Although monogamy – an exclusive relationship with one partner – is still considered the norm, more casual relationships are increasingly common for adolescents. When someone says “I’m in a relationship”, there’s a good chance you’ll picture two people in a steady, sexually exclusive relationship. And you wouldn’t be alone with that assumption. A recent study [1] [2], confirmed that, despite Western society becoming ever more permissive and accepting, monogamy is still considered to be the most desirable and ‘normal’ way to engage in a relationship. So, what’s the problem? Well, monogamy being placed as ‘the normal thing to do’ can mean that anyone choosing a non-traditional form of relationship, such as polyamory (multiple partners) or an open (not sexually exclusive) relationship may feel marginalised by or excluded from sex and relationship advice and education. They may feel stigmatised; and many experience rejection or bullying from peers, and disapproval from parents. It can be confusing for people who don’t know how to classify their relationship, which could be a problem for an increasing number of young people today. Even though monogamy remains the ‘ideal’ for many in society, other relationship types have become much more common over the last 20 years or so. One study [3] states that ‘recent research on adolescent sexuality finds that casual relationships appear to be gaining acceptance among heterosexual emerging adults’. An example of a casual relationship would be a ‘friends with benefits’ setup. This is when two friends agree to have casual sex with no strings attached and continue to define their relationship as friends rather than a couple. A study from New Zealand [4] into how young people define a relationship showed that definitions are just not that clear cut. The researchers discovered that it depends on a vast multitude of factors including: how much time the couple spend together; emotional investment in each other; and decisions made about whether it is OK to sleep with other people. These considerations all contribute to defining a relationship in different ways. Boundaries can be blurred, making many relationships difficult to categorise – even for the couples themselves. Categorising or labelling your own relationship could be an even more daunting task in a society which holds monogamy up as the right way to be. Should we be concerned about the increasing informality of young people’s relationships? While young people are not necessarily having more sexual partners than previous generations, they are revealing a very different, more informal approach to relationships. One sociological study [5] describes how these casual arrangements can be a stepping stone for young people who are exploring what it means to be in a relationship. They suggest that young people often progress steadily from short, casual relationships towards a single long-term relationship. So, although young people are taking a less traditional path, they tend to end up at the same destination as the generations who have gone before. In the meantime, these young person will still need support dealing with their current, more complicated relationships. After all, relationships are confusing at the best of times, even without all these extra factors to consider. Communication is essential to understanding and navigating these shifting types of relationship. A professional supporting young people with sex and relationships should remember that relationships can be more complex than they first appear. And couples should feel able to talk to each other about their relationship: Where is it going? Are we exclusive or not? Do we present ourselves to others as a couple or as friends? Being able to talk about the boundaries of a relationship can remove some of the uncertainty from more casual encounters. As non-traditional relationships become more common, these conversations become more important. Accepting that relationships can be diverse, and being willing to talk about different kinds of connections beyond monogamy could prove instrumental in helping young people navigate the ever-shifting boundaries of what it means to be in a relationship. References  [1] http://spr.sagepub.com/content/32/2/222[2] ‘Attached to monogamy?’ Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 222–240[3] http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12119-014-9252-3[4] http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13691050410001694325#abstract[5] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1533-8525.2009.01142.x/abstract;jsessionid=23182CC55EC031A3A0759B75F9A48731.f02t02
Article | polyamory, open-relationships, young
4 min read
The importance of celebrating milestones
Most couples remember the important moments in their relationship – the time they met, their wedding day, the births of their children – but not all remember to celebrate these special occasions, especially after many years together. Research shows that marking important anniversaries can help strengthen relationships. Even if you are having problems, taking the time to celebrate together can spark memories of the happy times you shared in the early days. Talking about the good old days can help remind you why you fell in love in the first place. It can help you focus on each other’s good qualities, rather than any negatives that might be affecting the relationship now. It can help you reframe the relationship and look at things more positively. Celebrations are also important for creating new memories. Relationships are built on memories and making new ones means you are less likely to run out of things to talk about. We usually remember significant events clearly – perhaps you remember where you were for the Royal Wedding, or the opening ceremony of the Olympics. On special occasions like these, people are generally more relaxed and open to fun. Celebrating with your partner can help you create lasting memories together to fuel reminiscent conversations years down the line. And there’s nothing like hearing your partner say, ‘Remember that time when…’ to put a smile on your face and remind you of all the reasons you got together. So be sure to celebrate milestones and significant dates this year, and create the memories that will help see you and your partner on your way to your next big anniversary. Top tip:  Remember to document your celebrations with photographs. Looking back at a picture where you’re both happy and in love can help you relive that warm, fuzzy feeling. All together now: ‘Cheeese!’ 
Article | intimacy, milestones
2 min read
Relationships evolve over time
Relationships aren’t born fully formed. After you and your partner get together, you continue to grow as individuals and as a couple. There will be ups and downs and all couples go through difficult phases as they adjust to these changes. But those who make it through the tough times often find themselves stronger at the other side. As relationships develop over time, most people try to find a balance between keeping their individuality and being part of a couple. The trickiest times are usually the transitions from one stage of a relationship to the next. Being aware of how conflict can come up during these times will help you to deal with difficult times and find a way through together. The following model is from OnePlusOne’s booklet ‘Supporting Couple Relationships: A Sourcebook for Practitioners’, showing some of the different stages a relationship might go through. Couples don’t necessarily move smoothly from one stage to another and you might find you go back and forth, depending on various life events. If you’re going through a rocky patch, this model might help you to see that it’s perfectly normal and that things can get better. During these difficult periods, it can help to make more of an effort to: show affection and support spend time together express and share your feelings It’s not always easy to work through an unhappy phase but many couples do push through and find happiness again. One study found that nearly two thirds (62%) of people who were unhappy in their relationships but stayed together said that their relationships were happier again after they worked things through. Stage 1: Romance – becoming a couple Relationships usually start out with romance, though this may come later for some couples, such as in an arranged marriage. At this intense phase, you are building a sense of togetherness. You may overlook your differences and difficulties, feeling like everything is perfect. It can be like living in a dream, as you build the togetherness that allows you to get through difficult times in the future. Stage 2: Reality – the differences start to appear Eventually, reality hits and you start to reconnect with the outside world. It can be disheartening to realise that you are two individuals with differences. You both have to learn how to compromise, manage conflict and work through these differences. This may not happen for you both at the same time. If one of you starts to re-establish their independence, the other may react by becoming needier. But, if you can accept each other’s need for independence, you’ll have a much better chance of developing the skills you need to deal with the challenges of the coming years. Stage 3: Power struggles – practising independence In this stage, your need for independence grows and you may start wanting to get your own way more often. Arguments and criticism become more frequent and intense, particularly around topics like money, family, and who does what around the home. This is a difficult stage and some couples break up around this time. But many couples work though this stage by coming to terms with their differences. Look for ways to discuss your differences and disagreements – be honest about your feelings and accepting of your partner’s needs, but keep showing affection and spending quality time together. Stage 4: Finding yourself – independence The next stage is another difficult one for couples, as you look to ‘find yourselves’ again. The focus shifts from ‘we’ to ‘me’ as you both start asking yourselves: ‘Who am I?’ ‘What do I want?’ ‘What do I need?’ Couples often find this stage particularly stressful because they feel less connected. It may feel like you are drifting apart because you’re both doing your own thing. You might argue more and may even consider having an affair or breaking up at this stage. The good news is that if you can accept your partner’s independence and still feel connected to them, everything gets easier. Stage 5: Reconciliation – working through In this stage, you’ll focus on reconciliation as you work out a new sense of togetherness. You’ll understand each other better, be more accepting and tolerant of each other and feel more committed. You’ll start to see your differences as strengths and not weaknesses. Stage 6: Mutual respect and love – interdependence In the final stage, you’ll both feel fully accepted by each other and you’ll have reached a comfortable balance between being together and your own individuality. You’ll feel free to explore new ways of fulfilling yourselves instead of pouring so much energy into the relationship. Being aware of the difficulties and dangers of each transition means you’re better equipped to deal with them and talk about them. If you find yourself struggling with one of these transitions, remind yourself that it’s just another step on your journey to the final stage and that by understanding each other’s need for independence, you can find mutual respect and love together. This article was adapted from Supporting Couple Relationships: A Sourcebook for Practitioners; 2009.
Article | empowerment
5 min read
Jealousy over ex-partners on Facebook
Most of us have looked up an old flame on Facebook. There can be something compelling about having a good old look through an ex’s new life without you.  And while it may seem frivolous or harmless to peer through these windows that social media grants you, it can cause you to let your past interfere with your present, which can pose a risk to your relationship. I started to get suspicious when I noticed my girlfriend had added her ex on Facebook. She insisted it was innocent; they were just old friends keeping in touch. But then he started emailing her, texting her, calling her... and it soon became clear he just wanted to get back together. ---Simon, Hertford. To avoid any potential Facebook fallouts (or full-on cyber warfare), sit down with your partner and work out what you’re both comfortable with. Most couples will find it helpful to set some boundaries for their time on Facebook and other social media. You might discover you’re both happier if old flames are off-limits or even defriended, but perhaps simply telling each other about any new contacts you’ve added will be enough to maintain trust. Facebook can be addictive and the advent of smartphones has meant some people find it difficult to log out. Many couples now set aside some phone-free time, during dinner times and date nights, so no one feels neglected in favour of the news feed. Every time I look round, my husband has got Facebook up on his phone. I get that it keeps him entertained while we’re in the supermarket or on the bus, but when he’s still on it while we’re sitting in a restaurant waiting for our food to arrive it really, really infuriates me. --- Louisa, Cheshire. When one partner spends a lot of time on their phone or computer, the other can become suspicious and jealous. It’s easy to start wondering whose profile they’re scrolling through, or who they’re chatting to as they chuckle by your side. Try not to let your imagination run ahead of you. Talk to your partner and ask them to include you more in their online life. It needn’t take place in a secret world you know nothing about - often sharing the occasional bit of news or a funny status update is enough to make a partner feel included. Do you and your partner keep your ex's on Facebook? How has it affected your relationship? Tell us about it in the comments below. 
Article | social media, ex-partner
3 min read

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