Health and relationships
The quality of your relationship with your partner (and with friends, colleagues and family members) affects both your mental and physical wellbeing. Similarly, how good you feel emotionally and physically can affect how you get on with your partner - perhaps even more than you realise. |[profileDataBundle id=1]| Improving your relationship quality can have a positive effect on your health, affecting related behaviours like exercising and drinking that can, in turn, affect how you get on. Of course, relationships go through ups and downs. But when we are unhappy or frustrated it’s easy to ignore what we know is good for us. Risky behaviours can provide an escape but sometimes we can fall into habits that are bad for both our health and our relationship. The good news is that, by taking stock and taking a good look at our patterns of behaviour, we can start making a few changes and things can start feeling very different. Have a look at the following questions and then share your answers with your partner. This can help you to assess the bigger picture and start changing some of the behaviours that could be affecting your relationship. Overall, how well do you feel on a day-to-day basis? Where would you score your physical health on a scale of one to 10, with ten being best it can be? Do you smoke? If so, how much, and at what times of day? What are your triggers for smoking? How often do you drink? Do you drink to unwind, to be social, or to shut things out? How well do you eat? Do you and your partner eat together – are cooking and eating well important parts of your relationship? Are you over or underweight? How do you feel about your body? How well do you sleep? –What, if anything keeps you awake? Can you see any patterns? Do you exercise regularly? How do you feel after exercising? How often do you have sex? Do you enjoy sex with your partner? Are you currently working? How does your work affect how you feel? If you have a bad day at work, what impact does it have on your home life? How do you know you are overstressed? What are the signs? What makes you feel good physically? What makes you feel good emotionally?   What next? Have a look at your answers. How does the overall picture look? Does it look good or feel a bit overwhelming? Are there any patterns you’d like to change? If you have any habits or recurring behaviours that aren’t serving you, look at the underlying reasons. Take it slowly – recognising the need for change is a crucial first step. Don’t try to change everything at once. If you are a smoker, that’s a good place to start. Consider cutting down, or just keeping a log of when you smoke and how you feel before and after. Start to notice what need you are trying to fulfil by smoking, and whether it’s working for you. If you want to eat better, start by introducing some small changes to your diet. Get a new cookbook or look up some recipes online. Experimenting with new dishes can be fun. Set aside some time to plan and cook a healthy meal with your partner – this one positive shared experience could be the first step towards getting out of a mealtime rut. Poor sleep, drinking too much and work stress are all issues that can contribute to how you get on with your partner, often leading to arguments. It can feel overwhelming to address these issues at once – a good place to start might be taking some regular exercise. It doesn’t matter what, so long as it is something you can enjoy that fits in with your work and family demands. Exercise can also have a positive impact on other areas of your life, releasing natural chemicals that improve your mood and make you feel happier. Adopting a more active lifestyle can improve your mental health, giving you a positive reminder you that the choices you make affect how you feel. Leading a more active life can give you a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and help you sleep better. It can improve your self-esteem and confidence, helping you feel more valued, and more attractive. Exercise and physical activity can give you something positive to strive for and commit to. It can help you to stop dwelling on problems and, in time, you may even start to enjoy it!   A word of warning! If this exercise has brought up any issues you find difficult to talk about, you may find it helpful to use some of the communication exercises and articles elsewhere on the site. If you have identified that you or your partner are drinking too much, you may need to seek professional help – looking at the articles on addiction on the site can be a positive first step.
Article | Health
5 min read
“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
What is relationship quality?
Relationship quality is all about how happy or satisfied a person feels in their couple relationship.  We think you might find it useful to keep track of your own relationship quality, so we’ve put together a simple quiz to help you do this. Click the “start quiz” button at the foot of the page to get started.     What happens next? The questions will ask you to reflect on things you think are going well, and areas you might want to find out more about. We would encourage you to not overthink your answers but select the first answer that comes to mind. After completing the questions, you will receive a ‘score’ based on your answers, which will give an indication of your happiness or satisfaction with your relationship. This score will range from 0% (poorest relationship quality) to 100% (highest relationship quality).  We may ask you these questions again in the future so we can see how things have changed for you.   How will the information be used? We will use the information you provide to help us with our research, but please be assured that your data will not be shared with any third parties. Please see our privacy and data protection policy and our terms and conditions for a full explanation.   The science behind it Relationship quality is studied a lot by relationship researchers because it’s useful for them to know how happy people are in their relationships at different points in their lives.Lots of relationship quality measures have been developed over the years. The one we use is called the DAS-7, which is based on seven key questions from a much longer measure called the ‘Dyadic Adjustment Scale’ [1-3]. It has been thoroughly tested and it’s much quicker to fill in than other measures.     References Sharpley, Christopher F., and H. Jane Rogers. 1984. ‘Preliminary Validation of the Abbreviated Spanier Dyadic Adjustment Scale: Some Psychometric Data Regarding a Screening Test of Marital Adjustment’. Educational and Psychological Measurement 44 (4):1045–49. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013164484444029. Spanier, Graham B. 1976. ‘Measuring Dyadic Adjustment: New Scales for Assessing the Quality of Marriage and Similar Dyads’. Journal of Marriage and the Family 38 (1):15. https://doi.org/10.2307/350547. Hunsley, John, Marlene Best, Monique Lefebvre, and Diana Vito. 2001. ‘The Seven-Item Short Form of the Dyadic Adjustment Scale: Further Evidence for Construct Validity’. The American Journal of Family Therapy 29 (4): 325–35. https://doi.org/10.1080/01926180126501.
Quiz | quiz
“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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