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Building and maintaining trust
Trusting your partner isn’t always easy. Sometimes feelings of distrust can be a useful sign that something isn’t quite right in your relationship. However, if you’re not sure why you are feeling distrust, or notice it’s becoming a pattern in your relationships, it can help to learn why and what you can do about it. Importance of trust in relationships Trust is confidence that you will find what you desire from your partner rather than what you fear. It means feeling comfortable being close to your partner and having a low fear of rejection. It is one of the most important ingredients of a healthy and stable romantic relationship [1]. The impact of a lack of trust Negative emotions and interactions are a normal part of a romantic relationship – in fact it has been found to be essential in a healthy relationship, with the golden ratio being around five positive interactions to every one negative interaction. That said, too much negativity in a relationship can lead to emotional instability, conflict, and ultimately a decision to break up [2]. What can cause distrust in a relationship? There’s no simple answer to what causes distrust but many things can contribute to how we function in adult relationships. Let’s talk about one of them. In the 1980s, a famous psychologist called Bowlby came up with a theory that is still relevant today. This is called attachment theory. Bowlby said that we are born wanting to be close to other people. He said that interactions with people we are close to when we are little can shape our opinion of ourselves, and our adult relationships [3]. For example, if your mum was going through a hard time when you were a baby and wasn’t able to give you as much attention as you needed, you may feel more distrust towards your partner as an adult. This could be because you have learned to expect that you can’t rely on the people close to you to provide you with what you need. This natural instinct of self-protection may have been helpful when you were little but could be less helpful in your adult relationships. Learning this may be frustrating and it might seem unfair to be paying the price for something we had no control over. However, research shows that you can learn skills to help know how to address feelings of distrust. Using Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) to tackle feelings of distrust Improving and maintaining trust takes persistence and practice. One way to tackle relational issues is through using Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) techniques. DBT is a well-researched and effective therapy, developed to help people improve their relational skills, and change deeply ingrained habits. Below are three DBT skills you can try today to help improve and maintain trust in your relationship [4]. Three DBT skills to help deal with feelings of distrust: Observe skill When there is a lack of trust in your relationship, it can be upsetting and confusing. Recognising and identifying individual thoughts can help bring some clarity, then we can address them specifically if needed, by using other skills. It can help to set a timer to help practice this skill. Something like 1-2 minutes. Take a moment to observe your thoughts and feelings. Breathe. When a thought comes up, notice it. Is it a judgement? What is the subject? After identifying the thought, bring your attention back to your breathing and allow your thoughts to keep moving through your mind. Many thoughts may come up in 1-2 minutes or maybe just one or two. Check the facts skill We have lots of thoughts throughout the day. Distrustful thoughts can be distressing, and they may stick around for longer or be more prominent in our minds. If you find yourself thinking a specific distrustful thought, it can be helpful to check out how valid it is. Following a procedure to check the facts can help you do just that. Sit down with a pen and paper or do this in your head – whichever is most helpful to you. Ask yourself: What is the emotion I am feeling right now? What is the event prompting my emotion? (Describe the facts of the situation and avoid making judgements or black and white thinking). What are my interpretations, thoughts, and assumptions about the event? Am I assuming a threat? (Think of the likelihood of the catastrophe occurring, imagine coping well with it) Does my emotion fit the facts? After doing this exercise, you may have a better idea of whether or not your emotion is because of something your partner has done, and act accordingly. GIVE skill If you want to build a more trusting and positive relationship dynamic, it can help to empathise with your partner by using the GIVE skill. GIVE is an acronym. G – be gentle and respectful in your communication. When you are angry use words to describe how you feel calmly, without raising your voice. Avoid doing things like rolling your eyes or exaggerating to make your point.I – Show interest in your partner and what they say, face your partner, listen to their point of view, be patient, and don’t interrupt them.V – Validate your partner’s feelings by offering support and understanding.E – Use an easy manner. A little humour and light heartedness can help. What does improving and maintaining trust look like? After practising these skills for a while, you may find yourself having a clearer idea of what is upsetting you. You may notice that you feel calmer and have fewer negative interactions with your partner. Give them a go and remember that seeing an improvement in your relationship takes persistence and practice. By Helen Molloy References [1] Kleinert et al., 2020[2] Gottman & Levenson, 1992[3] Bowlby 1982[4] Linehan, 2015
Article | trust, jealousy
Six tips on introducing new partners
What happens when you or your ex meet someone new and want to introduce them to your children? This is often a difficult transition but it’s likely to happen at some point, and it will require a lot of self-awareness and control. It’s natural for this next step in your co-parenting journey to feel daunting or overwhelming and for feelings of insecurity or anxiety to arise. We’ll discuss a few tips from people who have ‘been there and done that’ to help you to navigate this new chapter. Six tips for introducing new partners to your children 1. Keep your ex in the loop and communicate openly with them Where possible, discuss introducing new partners to your children with your ex before it happens. Put yourself in their shoes – how would you feel if they introduced someone to your children without knowing? In a co-operative parenting relationship, it’s important that you both have a say and know what’s happening, even though there is little that you or they can do to prevent it. This leads us on to our next tip… 2. Understand you can’t prevent it from happening It’s natural to feel protective over your children but, unless there are danger signs, there’s not much you or your ex can do to prevent a new partner from being introduced at some point. Successful co-parenting relationships all have one thing in common – you both accept that you can’t control everything. It’s OK to request that you meet the new partner before they are introduced to your kids but if that isn’t possible, try to trust that your ex wouldn’t introduce the children to anyone unsuitable. Accepting that you have no say over each other’s new partners can be hard. 3. Establish boundaries sooner rather than later While you can’t stop new partners from being introduced to your kids, it’s important to have an open dialogue to establish boundaries. Let your ex know what you are and aren’t comfortable with and vice versa. Having these conversations prior to the situation happening will help to ease any emotional reactions in the moment. You could even build them into your parenting plan at the point of separating. Being clear and transparent with each other will help grow your co-parenting relationship and set the foundations of your blended family off on the right foot. 4. Don’t talk to your children negatively about your ex’s new partner It’s natural for negative feelings to arise when your ex introduces a new partner, but don’t share these feelings with your kids. Use other support networks like close friends and family and make sure you do it out of earshot from the children. Your children don’t need to know if you dislike the new adult in their life and belittling them in front of the kids won’t help you in the long run. Try and look at this new person as an opportunity rather than a hindrance. You are not being replaced, but rather providing your children with another adult who may become a source of love and guidance in the future. If you can work together, your children may well come to benefit from the experience. 5. Keep busy when your kids are with your ex and their new partner It may be difficult knowing your kids are with someone else, and you may feel lonely or jealous when they are away from you. You can mitigate these feelings by keeping busy or using this time for some self-care. Do something or see people that you wouldn’t normally have time to do or see.  6. Use communication tools for co-parenting There are many helpful co-parenting tools at your disposal, like the amicable co-parenting app. The app helps you to define and communicate your boundaries, schedule shared events to avoid confusion and conflict, and message your ex securely through the messaging function. All the tools were created to help avoid tension and miscommunication that may arise during very common co-parenting milestones like introducing new partners. We hope the above tips help you navigate co-parenting when new partners are introduced. Rebecca Jones, amicable Divorce Coach
Article | new partner, parenting apart, co-parenting
Eight tips to communicate with your ex
When you separate from your ex and have children together, your relationship isn’t over, it’s changed. You may not be romantically tied to each other anymore but you will remain in each other’s lives – learning how to get on and transition from parents to co-parents is a big shift for many couples. Getting it right isn’t easy, but it is worth it and will save you all a lot of hassle and headaches. Here are some tips on how to set things off on the right foot. 1. Create a parenting plan Creating a parenting plan is a game-changer. A parenting plan can help you to record the decisions you’ve made about how and where the children will live, and what your parenting boundaries are. It’s also a great way to pre-empt any issues that may arise in the future. A parenting plan isn’t a legal document and it isn’t set in stone as your children’s ages and stages will change over time. But it is a helpful, structured way of establishing a co-operative parenting relationship. You may be able to work through the process together by using a parenting plan template or you may need to seek support from a co-parenting coach who can help you work through the trickier sections such as shared care arrangements and who pays for what. 2. Accept that It’s OK to have different parenting styles Don’t be put off if you and your ex have different parenting styles. This is not the end of the world and doesn’t need to come in the way of co-operative parenting. You just need to be able to work around it and stick to a plan which enables you to practice both your parenting styles. 3. Don’t sweat the small stuff Give each other time to adjust to your new roles and prepare for when things don’t go to plan. It’s OK to get things wrong, and if you cut your ex some slack, they will likely do the same for you. This is new for both of you and will take time some to get used to but you can be sure of one thing – it’s not going to always go to plan, and that’s OK. If you’re flexible and understanding with your child’s other parent, it’s likely that they will reciprocate. If you’re not willing to be flexible, this may cause tension and result in arguments and won’t benefit any of you. 4. Support your child’s relationship with their other parent It’s important to support your child’s relationship with their other parent. This includes encouraging them to communicate when they are with you. This could be in many forms such as calls, texts, or emails etc. Supporting your ex and cultivating an environment of openness where your children feel they can communicate with both of you will ease the change for them. 5. Keep your child’s other parent in the loop It’s important to keep the other parent in the loop where possible. This doesn’t need to be constant communication; you can just touch base when appropriate. Plan ahead so they aren’t blindsided by things that could have been avoided if you had communicated them earlier. Tools such as the amicable co-parenting app can help with this. 6. Don’t badmouth your ex in front of your kids You and your ex might not be each other’s biggest fan but it’s important to avoid vocalising any negative feelings in front of your children. This can make your children feel like they have to pick sides and may affect their relationship with the other parent. If you do slip up, address it by saying something like “I’m sorry I spoke about your mum/dad like that, I was just cross and I shouldn’t have said that in front of you.” 7. Look for the positives If you always assume the worst about your ex and the things they do, it will likely lead to negative communication. Instead, try and gather all the facts before accusing them of anything and look at the positives in situations. If you lead by example, you will find that your children are better off because of it. 8. Communicate as if your ex is a business contact Keep communication short and sweet, especially over messages. Keep to the point and remove any ‘emotional messaging’. If you’re angry, wait until you have calmed down, read your message again and ask yourself if you’d be happy to send it to a business colleague before pressing send. The amicable co-parenting app The amicable co-parenting app enables you to communicate with your child’s other parent in one secure place. The shared calendar helps you to stay organised and includes shared care schedules, one-off and recurring events for each child. The goals section helps you to define and communicate your boundaries and the messaging function stores all your co-parenting communication in one secure place. Try the app for free for 30 days to see if it can help improve your co-parenting relationship. After the free trial, the app is £9.99 a month or £99.99 for the year. Rebecca Jones, amicable Divorce Coach
Article | parenting apart, co-parenting, communication
How to get over a breakup
Almost everyone at some point in their life will suffer from a relationship breakdown or breakup. This can happen for many different reasons, such as incompatibility, loss of love, or lack of trust. No two breakups are ever the same. Whether it was you or your partner who initiated the breakup, you may experience a range of feelings in the days, weeks and months following the breakup – sadness, anger, loss, betrayal, and sometimes even relief. No matter the length of the relationship, even if it was only just a few weeks, the breakup can still hurt and cause pain. There are many things which can affect how well you cope after a breakup and how well you heal and move on with your life. Factors which can hinder your ability to cope with the breakup might include: Experience. If your experience of the breakup and the events surrounding it was traumatic, the healing process may take a little longer. Avoidance. If you don’t allow yourself to process or think about what happened, the healing process may take longer. Distraction. The use of unhelpful coping mechanisms like abuse of substances and alcohol aren’t a helpful or permanent fix as they also don’t allow you to fully process what happened. The only way to really ‘cure’ the feelings and experiences following a breakup is to work through it and process what happened. Uncertainty. You might be keen to find answers on why the relationship broke down, and with good reason. People who understand the reasons surrounding a breakup tend to adjust faster than those who don’t [1]. However, if you're planning to get in contact with your ex-partner, make sure you have thought it through and approach the situation in an amicable manner, to prevent any more distress. Self-blame. This can often follow a lack of clarity around why the relationship broke down. Shared things. You might have shared friends, shared belongings, or even children and pets and the discussion of who keeps what can make things more difficult. Again, things need to be kept amicable to prevent more pain not only for yourself but anyone else involved. But there are measures which can be taken to help your levels of coping and healing following a breakup and help you to feel more like yourself again: Allow yourself the time to understand and process the relationship breakdown and your emotions which follow. Give yourself to grieve from the loss of your relationship. Meet up with friends and family. Getting support is a great way to aid your healing and process the breakup. Those who receive social or professional support following a breakup tend to cope better [1]. Try to get back into hobbies or things you may not have done as much since getting into the relationship. Self-time and care can help you feel more like yourself. Treat yourself. Do something enjoyable, just for you. Take the time to exercise, even if only a little, like a walk outdoors. Exercise has been shown to be beneficial to improving wellbeing and mood [2]. It can also clear your mind and help you reset. Healing after a breakup will take time and can’t be done overnight. There's no set length of time it should take to heal after a breakup and as long your way of coping is healthy you will get through it. However, if you still feel as though you’re struggling to cope, don't be afraid to reach out to a professional. They will be able to guide you through the healing process and aid you in coping and understanding any feelings you still have. By Tamara Almond-Lockett References [1] Barutçu. K, Adjustment to breakup of romantic relationships: initiator status, certainty about the reasons of breakup, current relationship status and perceived social support, 2009. [2] Klaperski, S., Koch, E., Hewel, D., Schempp, A., & Müller, J. (2019). Optimizing mental health benefits of exercise: The influence of the exercise environment on acute stress levels and wellbeing. Mental Health and Prevention, 15, 7. doi:http://dx.doi.org.hallam.idm.oclc.org/10.1016/j.mhp.2019.200173
Article | breakups
New relationship worries
Romantic relationships can generate powerful emotions. They are often filled with passion and intimacy and can bond people forever. But before getting into a relationship, you will probably have to face the dating experience. You might feel confused, anxious, or terrified, with no idea of how to behave. Or you might feel the opposite: confident, steady, and relaxed. When you’re new to dating, you might experience a whole rush of new feelings [1]. Successful dates can create a real bond between the people involved, especially if you go on to form a couple. But you might be wondering when the dating stops, and the relationship begins. Usually, it is a natural transition as you notice that you’re becoming closer to your partner and getting to know them. Often the beginning of a relationship can feel wonderful and perfect, mainly because you’re both feeling enthusiastic and uplifted by the new feelings you’re experiencing. Too good to be true But, while everything can seem amazing at the beginning of a relationship, there might be worries lurking underneath. You might think it’s too good to be true, or that this wonderful new relationship will suddenly end, and that can leave you feeling very insecure. The desire to make a good impression can lead you to change your behaviour around your new partner, or to hide your flaws. In the early stages of a relationship, you can be so consumed by the novelty that you forget about your responsibilities, or the other people in your life. If you’ve noticed yourself getting lost in a new relationship, these tips might help: Be true to yourself. It’s normal for couples to take on some personality traits from each other, but it’s important not to change your behaviour in a way that isn’t true to you. Pretending to be someone else can be exhausting and isn’t fair on your partner either. Talk about your flaws. Remember that everyone has flaws. You might want to work on the ones that can be fixed but try not to get stuck in the ones that can’t. Instead of hiding, share your concerns with your partner. You might be surprised to find that your partner hasn’t noticed them, or even that they appreciate them. Balance your time. Love can be overwhelming but don’t let it take over your whole life. Make time for the other people in your life, and don’t neglect the other things that are important to you. This will help you maintain a sense of self and may even make you feel more secure in your relationship. Don’t overthink it. Take a deep breath, relax, and try to enjoy the moment. Communication One issue in all relationships is communication. Even people with lots of relationship experience face communication issues, which can negatively impact both partners. In a new relationship, when everything is raw, communication problems can lead to harsh arguments or even breakups. If you feel like you and your partner aren’t communicating enough, have an open and honest conversation. Talk about any issues or misunderstandings and try to sort them out, rather than hiding from each other. Honesty There are many reasons people hide the truth in relationships. You might be trying to protect each other, or you might be worried about how each other will react. Whatever the reason, being honest is usually the best way forward. The truth will come out eventually anyway. It can take time, effort, and courage to make the best of a relationship but when you’re willing to put that in, it can be a wonderful experience filled with exciting feelings. By Adrian Minea References [1] Meier, A., & Allen, G. (2009). Romantic Relationships from Adolescence to Young Adulthood: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Sociological Quarterly, 50(2), 308–335. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1533-8525.2009.01142.x
Article | dating, relationships
Avoiding alcohol during pregnancy
You may have heard mixed messages about whether it’s OK to drink some alcohol while pregnant. We know that alcohol can harm an unborn baby, and we know that heavy drinking or binge drinking can be especially risky [1]. But we don’t know a safe level of alcohol consumption [2]. So if you’re pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, the safest approach is to not drink at all.  Whatever stage you’re at, your baby will benefit from you starting to avoid alcohol now.  What’s the harm?  When a pregnant woman drinks, the alcohol ends up in the unborn baby’s blood. The developing liver can’t filter out toxins that can harm brain cells and damage the nervous system [3], and can cause Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). This is true throughout the pregnancy, so there is no safe time to drink alcohol during that nine months. On the other hand, quitting at any point can be helpful.  Some people may need to reduce their alcohol intake gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms. A good first step is to talk to your doctor or midwife who can direct you to further support after learning about your specific needs. You can also search for local services through the NHS. Managing stress without alcohol Having a baby is one of the biggest changes you and your partner can go through, so you might find yourself feeling more stressed and arguing more. Avoiding alcohol can be difficult if you’re used to using it as a way of coping with stress. But the negative effects on your mood and general health, and the worry about how it might affect your baby, could end up causing even more stress.  We can’t make stress go away entirely, but we can learn to cope in healthier ways. You could try: Exercise, like going for a walk, yoga, or another favourite activity. Cooking a nutritious meal. Chatting with a friend or family member. Having a supportive partner can be a big help too. It will likely be easier for you to avoid alcohol if your partner chooses to stop drinking as well [4] [5]. You could share the goal of avoiding alcohol together during your pregnancy, and encourage each other along the way.  Three simple steps  Practicing communication skills can strengthen your relationship and get you through times of stress, from everyday issues to bringing a new baby into the family. There are three simple steps to arguing better: STOP. This means staying calm and listening. You can’t always control the way you feel, especially when an argument starts. But you can have some control over how you respond. When you feel a conversation heating up, you can try some of these tips to help yourself say calm: Take some deep breaths. Relax your shoulders. Count to 10. Go for a walk with your partner. TALK IT OUT. To talk through what’s going on, we can: See it differently. Try to see things from your partner’s point of view. Speak for myself. Use ‘I’ statements to talk about how you are feeling. WORK IT OUT. Once you are able to stay calm and talk about your issues, you will be able to look for solutions you can both agree on. For more information  If you would like support to quit alcohol, your doctor or midwife can help and you can search for local services through the NHS. If you’d like to know more the effects of alcohol on unborn babies, see the National Organisation for FASD.   References [1] Jones, Theodore B.; Bailey, Beth A.; Sokol, Robert J. Alcohol Use in Pregnancy: Insights in Screening and Intervention for the Clinician. Clinical Obstetrics and Gyneconolgy, 2013.  [2] May, Philip A.; Gossage, J. Phillip. Maternal Risk Factors for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Alcohol Research and Health, 2011.  [3] National Organisation for FASD. Information for parents, carers and professionals, 2012. [4] Montag, Annika C. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: identifying at-risk mothers.International Journal of Women’s Health, 2016. [5] Chang, Grace; Mcnamara, Tay K.; Orav, E. John; Wilkins-Haug, Louise. Alcohol Use by Pregnant Women: Partners, Knowledge, and Other Predictors. Journal Of Studies On Alcohol, 2006.
Article | pregnancy, alcohol
Parenting in a post-lockdown world
Even as lockdown restrictions are easing, parents may be feeling additional stress related to the pandemic. Our lives – and our world -- are not the same as they were a few months ago. Schools will reopen soon, but the experience will be different with physical distancing and other ways to reduce risks. Some families are dealing with health and money issues. And many of us have worries about the future. You want to support your children through this uncertain time, and that’s not always easy when you’re dealing with your own worries. But we can work together to create more resilience within our families and our communities. Coping together as parents Handling stress is the key to a high quality of relationship with your partner, and a happier family life [1]. Parents who focus on supporting each other as a couple are more likely to be able to deal with the stresses of parenting [2]. If you can listen to each other, share the burden, and present a united front, you’ll find it gets easier to come to agreements about parenting [3]. Your children will cope better too – they’ll be less likely to feel sad or anxious, or to act out through stress [4]. Especially during difficult times, it can help to make more of an effort to: Show affection and support: A major study discovered that simple actions such as saying ‘thank you’, touching base during the day with a text message, or bringing your partner a cup of tea could be the foundations of a long and successful relationship [5]. Make time for each other. 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. Express and share your feelings. When you talk to your partner about a stressful situation, try to describe your feelings as well. Tell your partner why you are upset, and what you hope will change. Offer emotional support. Rather than trying to solve every problem, emotional support helps your partner feel listened to and shows them that you are making the effort to understand what they are going through. Talking to your children Your children might have questions as lockdown restrictions are eased and you sort out what the ‘new normal’ will look like. Generally, if your child is ready to ask a question, they are ready to hear the answer. You don’t have to tell them everything – keep their age in mind, and only tell them as much as is necessary to answer their question. They can always ask a follow-up question if they want to know more. If you don’t know something, say so. There is a lot of uncertainty about the future now, and even the experts don’t have all the answers. Children are reassured by the information they get from their parents, and it’s helpful for them to know they can rely on you [6] [7]. When they feel informed about what’s going on, they can get on with being kids again. Dealing with conflict Conflict is unavoidable. In every relationship, there are always going to be things to sort out that you can’t agree on straightaway. And now we have the added stress of major global events. How you choose to deal with conflict can make all the difference to your relationship and to your children [8]. Children who are exposed to negative conflict can sometimes act out or become anxious and withdrawn [9]. Some tips on keeping your conflict constructive: Stay calm. 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, 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 can sometimes help you get through a disagreement. Finding support This website has a wealth of resources on navigating relationship difficulties, including community support. You might turn to a trusted family member or friend. This often gives you a chance to explore issues safely, and see them from a different perspective. However, it can sometimes be more useful to speak with a professional relationship counsellor, as friends and family aren’t always equipped to deal with the issues at hand. A counsellor can help by offering emotional support, and encouraging you and your partner to see things from each other’s point of view. This can allow you both to see how you might be contributing to the issue and what you can do to help move things forward. References [1] Ashley K. Randall & Guy Bodenmann, 2008. The role of stress on close relationships and marital satisfaction.[2] Brown, 2012[3] Zemp, Milek, Cummings, & Bodenmann, 2017[4] Zemp, Bodenmann, Backes, Sutter-Stickel, & Revenson, 2016.[5] Enduring Love research project[6] Kennedy, V. L., & Lloyd‐Williams, M., 2009[7] Osborn, T., 2007[8] 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.[9] Grych, J. H., & Fincham, F. D. (1990). Marital conflict and children's adjustment: a cognitive-contextual framework. Psychological bulletin, 108(2), 267.
Article | parenting, lockdown
Facing money issues as a couple
As we move in and out of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, many of us are facing an uncertain financial future. Some people have been furloughed or lost their jobs. Some businesses have closed or lost much of their revenue. Months after the lockdown was first announced, redundancy is now the top search term on the Citizens Advice website, and their benefits advice page views are at their highest ever levels. Even in ordinary times, money troubles are one of the biggest causes of stress in relationships. More than half of couples include money worries in their top three relationship strains [1]. 60% of people who contact debt charities say they also have problems with their relationships, but they don’t necessarily seek relationship support [2].  On top of that, we’re feeling the effects of a global event that affects us in ways we can’t avoid and that aren’t our fault, which can feel unfair and unsettling [3]. When you’re struggling with money, you and your partner might have less time together and argue more. Arguments about money can be different to other types of arguments – they can last longer, are more likely to get out of hand, and can have a bigger impact on your relationship [4]. But there are practical steps you can take if you’re worried about money, from getting advice on what to do if coronavirus has affected you financially, to managing the stress together with your partner. Get some help Charities like Citizens Advice, Money Advice Service, and the National Debtline can help you figure out what benefits you can get — including coronavirus-specific relief — what to do if you can’t pay your bills or rent, and dealing with debt.  Consider seeking emotional support as well. Research has shown that relationship counselling can help people cope better with financial problems [6]. Organisations like Relate can help with telephone or webcam counselling and live chat services. Talk about money Couples who talk openly about money tend to cope better in tough times. In one study, couples who consciously worked together at finding solutions were better at maintaining their relationship through difficult financial periods. These couples made the decision to see their money problems as separate from the relationship, focusing on the importance of communicating well and working together [5]. Aside from overspending, one of the biggest money problems relationships face is appointing one partner to manage all the household finances while the other takes a back seat [6]. While this might seem simpler, it can often increase stress in relationships, creating an extra burden for the person in control [7], and leaving the other person in the dark. The couples who have the most success at dealing with their issues are those who recognise the need for trust and communication around financial matters. When you can trust each other to pay bills on time, discuss big purchases, and avoid overspending, you’re likely to feel more confident in your finances and in your relationship [5]. Make a budget Get together and write down your income and your expenses, starting with unavoidable things like housing and energy bills. If you’re not sure how to get started with a budget, you can find a free planner and some online guides through the Money Advice Service. Go through your expenses and work out where you can make cuts and savings. Can you change your energy suppliers or switch to a cheaper phone plan? Can you cut your food bills by going to a cheaper supermarket or buying things in bulk? What can you live without while money is tighter than usual? Remember that these changes might only be temporary – it can be easier to adjust when you know what you’re working towards. Take time for each other  You may have to cut back your spending, but this doesn’t mean you should stop making time for each other. During periods of lockdown, you might not have much choice about what you do, but some of these suggestions from couples might be useful as you think about the future: Look for cheaper alternatives to your preferred activities. For example, a football fan might pay for a subscription radio service as a cheaper alternative to the TV package. You can still have special meals while spending less than usual. If you're ordering in, cut the starters and sundries. Set the table and put some music on. Light a candle. Make an evening of it without spending more than you can afford. When the weather is nice, take walks in the park. Explore the open spaces in your area. Go off the beaten track a little – you might be surprised at what's available locally if you let yourself wander. Learn how to support each other well by reading our tips on coping with stress together.  Don’t delay If you’re worried about money, watch this story to see why you should act as soon as possible to deal with the issues and talk to your partner. References [1] Undy, H.,  Bloomfield, B.,  Jopling, K., Marcus, L.,  Saddington, P., &  Sholl, P. (2015). The way we are now: The state of the UK’s relationships 2015. Relate, Relationships Scotland, Marriage Care.[2] Findings from OnePlusOne interviews with major UK debt charities, further supported by Olson, G. Olson, D. National Survey of Marital Strengths, April 2003.(66% of problems in marriage are associated with ‘major debt’)[3] Dew, J.P., & Xiao, J.J. (2013) Financial Declines, Financial Behaviors, and Relationship Satisfaction during the Recession. Journal of Financial Therapy, 4(1).[4] Papp, L. M., Cummings, E. M., & Goeke ‐ Morey, M. C. (2009) For richer, for poorer: Money as a topic of marital conflict in the home. Family Relations, 58(1), 91-103[5] Skogrand, L., Johnson, A.C., Horrocks, A.M., DeFrain, J. (2011). Financial Management Practices of Couples with Great Marriages. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 32: 27.[6] Doherty, H. F. (2006). Communication is vital to a couple's successful financial life. Dental Economics, 96(11), 92-93.[7] Rowlingston, K. & Joseph, R. (2009). Assets and Debts Within Couples: Ownership and Decision-Making. Friends Provident Foundation.
Article | finance, money, lockdown
Lockdown: coping with grief
When someone dies, our usual ways of coping and moving on are built around getting together with loved ones. During social distancing, we may have to adjust to new ways of dealing with grief. Funeral attendance might be limited to small numbers of close family, and distance might make it impossible to travel at all. For many people, this means not getting a chance to say goodbye. For those who can attend, it might be upsetting to see a small turnout, knowing their loved one isn’t getting the send-off they deserved. Grieving from a distance Even when you’re not able to get together physically, you can still mark the loss. If possible, attend a live stream of the funeral. Many funerals are now being filmed and streamed so mourners can watch them safely from home. Plan a memorial service. We don’t know when or how things will change but, at some point, we should be able to meet up again. Planning a service or celebration in the future can help you move forward in the present. Write down some memories of the person who has died. This can help you acknowledge the loss and reflect on what the person meant to you. Pick up the phone or arrange a video chat. You and your loved ones can share memories and offer each other support. Look for the positives. After some time has passed, you may find it easier to step back and see if anything positive has come out of the situation. Perhaps you’re connecting with friends and family in a different way or seeing how people can come together under difficult circumstances [1]. How am I supposed to feel? Right now, it can be hard to know what’s normal. There’s no set path that you’re supposed to follow after a death, but it can be comforting to know the types of things people often go through. Rather than being sad all the time, people often go back and forth between grieving and getting on with things. You might find yourself switching between moments when you feel very sad, and moments when you feel relatively normal [2]. Often, we push away difficult thoughts and feelings. We might try to convince ourselves everything is OK, even when it’s not. Sometimes, we use drugs or alcohol to try and change the way we feel. Whatever we do to push our feelings away, they will always find a way back in. It won’t always be easy, but it’s best just to let your feelings come and go – that’s how you process them and move forward [1]. Supporting each other as a couple If you’re in a relationship, you and your partner can support each other by sharing the grieving process. At the very least, talking to each other about how you’re feeling can make it easier for both of you to cope [3]. Under normal circumstances, this might mean going to the funeral together or visiting a memorial site but, when that's not possible, you can still find rituals to share from home – like lighting a candle or listening to a special piece of music. These shared experiences can help you adjust to the loss [4]. Even if you don’t live together, you could still meet up online and do something together. One thing to bear in mind, if you’re in a mixed sex couple, is that men and women often have different ways of coping. Women tend to want to surround themselves with other people and talk through memories with friends and family. Men tend to find this type of social support less useful, and may prefer to work through things alone, at least at first [4]. Of course, this won’t be true for everyone. However you and your partner deal with loss, try to be patient with each other and understand that we all have our own ways of dealing with things. Supporting someone else through grief If someone you know is dealing with grief, give them a call. You could text them to arrange a convenient time, or you could just pick up the phone and see if they answer. If it’s not a convenient time, they will let you know. If you want to do something practical, you could arrange to have something sent over. Lots of places are now well-versed in delivering food, drink, flowers, books, and other things. Think about what might help cheer the person up and send them a pleasant surprise. This will let them know you are thinking about them. References [1] Mikulincer & Florian, 1996[2] Stroebe & Schut, 1999[3] Albuquerque, Narciso, & Pereira, 2018[4] Bergstraesser, Inglin, Hornung, & Landolt, 2014
Article | lockdown, grief
Community posts
Liking a taken guy
So for the last couple of weeks I have been working at this new place, i can't complain about the job but there is an issue. I have a crush on my coworker who is already taken, whose gf also works with us. This guy has shown me interest, but he also tends to his gf and spends lunch with her. I honestly have been talking to him and being flirty, not with my words but with my smile. Honestly i dont even consider smiling being flirtatious, you just can tell that i like him from miles away but im not necessarily making verbal moves. I can't help it, he's my type and to be honest i wasnt trying to hide my feelings even when i knew he was taken. Just because, i dont know i guess i was being selfish. But now that i think about it, maybe i dont want to be the reason why he and his gf break up. I mean it's difficult to find a guy like him, i would feel bad if i was the reason why the other girl loses a good catch like him. An a great relationship shouldn't start like this. Especially i want to avoid him after realizing my coworkers have been treating me differently because they think of me as a homewrecker although i dont think i have done much to deserve that title, it's unfair especially cause no one treats the guy WHO IS ACTUALLY IN THE RELATIONSHIP differently. I just have a crush, which is normal considering how attractive he is as a person. I am a very nice person and have a great moral compass i was just naive this time and didnt realized this couple could really have something good going for them and my existence being a threat isn't cool. What upsets me the most, is my supervisor using my personal feelings to judge me in my professionalism, i did cry a little bit because i work too hard for my image to be damage by a guy that i have tried to avoid too but he keeps showing interest in me. I dont want to be punished for feelings i cant control, but I'll try to avoid more since i wasnt doing a great job before. Do you think im a bad person?
User article | flirting, new relationship
What should be good for us
What should be good for all ? I was in a relationship with girl1 from the end of 2015 and the relationship was very nice, when time passed I had to change city...I reached city1 in aug 2018. I met another girl2 in Sept 2020. My earlier relationship was even nice but, due to busy working it was degraded than earlier, everyone in my office was aware of my relationship with girl1, when girl2 join office in sept 2020, she was my junior and I came to know that she is only person to feed his 4 member family, she had less professional knowledge. Her father had passed way earlier. So I felt little sad for her and decided to help. Instead of supporting financial, I started teaching her, to grow and feed better for her family, she joined as a intern for 3 month, but even 3 months was also very hectic to survive. I convinced the manager to pay 10000 as salary. Girl2 was aware that girl1 is my gf. Later girl2 become good friend with me. I tried all possible way to keep her happy and stand on her legs as soon as possible. I also did not cared about my growth. After 3 months my and her affection towards each other started increasing. After 2 months I came to know that girl2 had a bf, where her bf married another girl due to kundali issue and she cried very much like a mad. Later know that she'd had financial, family, relationship and career issues. Due to which she was not concentrating and I tried helping her to overcome all. On 1 January 2021 we met at my rent room for normal chill. But as there was none, our intentions change to dancing and reached to hugging each other. I was feeling very guilty after that tried to close further interactions but the feeding of family and survive of girl2 pushed me back to continue. We both had same track that we are not going to marry eachother, she was asking for a year to live with her. Things were going normal I was communicating with girl1 in less proper way. It was turning to quarrelling everyday. In mid Feb 2021 I met girl1 and spend 2–3 days with her as gf bf do. Returned to work place, and there thing begin as same earlier. In better march -may, we met i.e girl2 and me at my rented room 5–6 time, and usually same things happens , hugging and sharing problems…in 4–5 meeting we kissed each other and the top of the girl was removed. (She was in bra and pants). Things was going, now it's June end, we understood that the things are not correct, we had also made many promises , to not leave each others. In last of June she got a good offer of 18000 and wfm job. I insisted to join as the offer was good, she joined, later in July start I also got good offer wfm and joined another company in aug 2021. In JULY, Girl2 Started asking to leave girl1. and Even i choosed girl1 , as girl1 was unaware of this all issues we created. Things started changing now, as we were departing and problem was increasing day by day, she continues asking to leave girl1, and started calling 50–100 times at night we decided to break say- relationship. I met with girl2 and told to decrease these things and break relationship. She started weeping and begging for love. I honour her feeling, eventhen I had to leave the city and there was no use to stay in rent house. I left city in oct 2021. Our conversation was going on call now. Girl2 still had technical issue of working, I was working with him remotely to fix her issue, else company 2 may expell her. Thing were going with quarrelling, with girl1 and girl2. For all I wanted that she should take over her task. As she was very new to this field she took an year to understand work. In between I met girl2, 3 times on her request as she threatens me to commit suicide. I though that this problem may end after few months. As girl2 was very opponent to girl1 and started asking regularly to either leave her or girl2 will kill girl1. Due to this I told lie to girl2 that my communication with girl1 has ended. Later in April 2022, I met girl1 with few friends for tour, after this tour girl2 managed to know that I met girl1. Due to this girl2 called girl1 and narrated few stories, what were going on. There I was getting blamed and relationship was also on kill. So after communication I blocked girl2 Few days later girl2 psychiatrist doctor called and told to be connected with her, else she may suffer a lot. Again things going like quarrelling and working. Today's condition is on every call I am being threaten to leave girl1 and else she will commit suicide or ask me to work like a servent. My thinking is: why we cannot be a good friend to live forever, why to hurt/leave girl1 as she doesn't know anything. Girl2 has only few months to marry another guy, eventhen she want to break my relationship with girl1. I am totally trapped, sometime i think to meet with accident, that none will be aware of my issue Now in End of Nov 2022 Girl2 started asking to marry her forcefully or die. My opinion is: no body nows life, as all gilrs caste is completely differnt marry become a tought in UP India. so may convience once for only girl1 and if family does not accept will leave to them. Any reply text will be helpful for me.
User article | emotional abuse
A lot of issues regarding a breakup
So day before Halloween of this year 2022 my daughter not knowing why I couldn't go with then to trick or treat asked her mother why she hated me? whatever it was to get out the door for work whatever it was that's nor here or there but being male and joking as she slammed the door in my face I said oh well I guess you hate me and are man at me not meaning it at all or anything and my daughter was on her tablet so I could be having a full on conversation with her and she wouldn't hear a word I said how she heard that and applied it to the situation is beyond me so she accused me of telling my daughter thus directly and that my daughter hated her well all this over the phone texting she then proceeded to tell me that she wanted me to see other people that she wanted me happy and she couldn't make me happy obviously because we had no sex life our relationship was just to a roommate type feel she'd work come home go to bed not talking to anyone else we used to shower together and just talk to talk obviously I was broken and between that time and now she's been hot and cold moments she wants to come home share work with me talk about guys she works with and makes comments about it and one night she said she burnt her neck and that her boss was going to tell me he gave her a hicky to me well the burn was gone in days with no mark whatsoever that night she was out at work till 4 am when she is off at 11pm told me she worked late and then came in in someone else's pants told me she shit her pants and had to wear those well being dumb I believed everyword of it not questioning a thing well cleaning up the house I went into the room and found a pregnancy test box that was empty it was fairly new I know this cuz I clean in the room quiet often well I grabbed the trash and lo and behold there's a used pregnancy test in the bottom of the trash can I went into panic mode since we are broke up but living together and have 2 children I calmly asked her through a text if she was busy she said no and well I called her she was eating lunch and I could tell she was annoyed but I asked her is she seeing someone else she said kinda and my heart broke she then said something idk what I asked I thought we were trying to work on things and she again told me she couldn't forgive me for supposedly telling our daughter those things out right well she at that point admitted she was kinda seeing someone else and then she hung up on me mad and pissed I called I asked her when she planned on telling me and she said calmly when she had her life figured out so I asked are you sleeping with someone she did the whole yea right when do I have time speech and everyone knows if your sleeping with someone you make time she asked why I asked so I told her I was cleaning her room and found the pregnancy test box and that I found the recently used pregnancy test in her trash we use clear bags so it wasn't hard to see anyway she got defensive and told me she got them for someone else at work sure that's believable but then I asked why she had a used pregnancy test in her trash she told me she had it in her bag and forgot to throw it out at work I asked why would you have another girls pregnancy test hidden in your bag and them bring it home and throw it away along with the box she then got upset and said nothing is safe from me and I told her the truth that I was cleaning house knowing she is working but I don't belive that for a minute about the other girl having the test and the fact she brought it home and had the box hidden in the closet its dumb she said she bought the test for a girl at work hint these girls according to her arr all in relationships aside from her but im sure she has slept with someone else that's like her finding a condom box hidden in my car and then finding a used condom in the trash and me saying it was my buddies rubber ya know so I'm guessing she has slept with a guy had unprotected sex and was worried she was pregnant because again why bring some girls preg test home and not throw it in the trash at work and why have the box hidden in the closet idk what im asking but I have to be stupid to think we can make things work since I know that what she has told me is a obvious lie now im not a Saint in this all I don't listen like I should have and when she was upset about things I'd turn it around as I took it she was comming at me so I made myself the victim and idk why I did that I gaslight her and that was shitty of me to do I see where I was wrong and what I needed to do to fix I've been going to therapy I deal with severe panic disorder aka anxiety bad and I'm a wreak she didn't talk to me at all last night when she got home she talked to our daughter and told her if she's upset to tell her not to tell her she hates her well in talking with my daughter and asking why she said she hated her mom she was mad her mom works all the time and when she's not working she's sleeping or in her well our room alone me and both kids sleep in the living room and I have taken the main role as stay at home parent only because her job has became top priority over my job eventhough my job was well established before hers but she had to work a certain shift to train and then has to work 16 hr shifts when she's told too she can say no and isn't allowed to miss work in 120 days or they terminate so idk if im holding on to a lost cause and hope that she is or has told the truth or not about everything like I said I'd have to be dumb to believe a story like that again idk what im looking for out of this but we have been together for 8 yrs and she stood by me through all the bs from my ex wife and criminal charges that came with it too we have a home together and live together I can't move out and I can't have her just up and leave so what needs to be done am I holding on to a broken dream or hopes that this can be fixed yes if she cheated I'd be broken but idk really idk what to say or do
User article | breakups, trust
Does he even love me?
Hi ! Season's Greetings ! Hope all donig fantastic. I threw myself in but og a heart breaking situation here and im totally cofused what to do ? I broke my 14 years of toxic marriage with my husband . I few to another country immediately to pursue my further studies and met this guy. This guy already has long distance girlfriend. He claims to love her so much and keeps talking about her that how great she is. Slowly he started approaching me and telling me how good I am and started touching my body in little but inappropriate way. I confronted him and told him that I am totally in mess situation and I have become numb I don’t feel anything for you. He said I don’t know even if I feel anything for you but still he kept perusing me by flattering comments. I started taking care of him in every way and started to develop feelings for him. He kept coming close and I tried going away because he was committed and in love. After I tried going away he started becoming very rude and distant to me. Being in same house I felt horrible and I don’t know how but I went running to him asking why he is not talking to me and rude to me then he started to treat me bad and aggressively screaming on me. I was feeling lonely and horrible because I confided in him and told him all im going through and he was the only person I knew in the country. Then suddenly one day he tried kissing me and I let him. I was ashamed and honestly didn’t even feel nice.. since then he was again nice to me. This cycle kept on going till he got few physical favors from me (other than intercourse) and I kpet growing close to him. I do all his work help him in everything as of im his fulltime made and few physical favors whenever he needs to get close to me. One day I asked him what is all this and we need to stop this or you breakup with your gf and be with me. He said I just have attraction for you and care for you. We aren’t even want to having sex with each other (we do everything else but intercourse what gives only him pleasure not anything I want). I try so much to go away from him and he keep pulling me towards him . He keeps telling to his GF daily even in front of me. He compares his gf with me every time and try to show how great she is in everything. He said he value me and cares for me but he cant love me as he is committed and about physical attraction that he want to stop but couldn’t . Now he wants to stop because he is going to meet his gf after long and he is scared that experience with me would hamper his pleasure with his GF. Do feel deep emotions for him and I want to go away from him but I’m stuck in my emotions. Does he love me or not? Even I love him or is this anything else ? Otherwise I’m very strong person but first time with this man I’m falling weak and doing everything I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing for anyone. Why I am weak? I surely know he cant be the one for me but then what is this attachment? Please help me !
User article | emotional abuse
I have a crush on a guy who has a gf
Does anybody else have a crush on a guy/ girl that has a gf/ bf? (Btw, I’m a female) I have a crush on this guy at my church, he’s super cute, very kind, very open minded, and just welcoming. My crush leads the 10:45 am worship service at my church, and he also leads this program on Wednesday nights called “overflow.” Overflow is a service of worship, games, scripture readings, and more worship at the end, it’s really fun, I love going to overflow, not just cause of my crush that leads overflow, but also the fellowship and just communication with other kids, it’s just amazing! (Anyways, back to my crush, yay and lol) We’ve known each other for like 2 months now, and we have each others phone number. :) My church has so many amazing programs for kids and teens, it’s awesome! My church has a youth program, 3 services on Sunday (8:15 am, 9:15 am, and 10:45 am worship services) overflow on Wednesday nights, a Sunday school program, bible study, a thrift shop, and a nursery for little children (ages newborn - 3 years old.) My crush brought his gf to youth group one day and shared that he has a gf with the youth program. I thought to myself, “damnit, he’s cute, but he has a gf whattt!!??” I did not know what to do with myself when he said that, I was kinda devastated ngl. This might sound complicated to explain/ understand. I sorta have a bf though. This guy that I kinda dated in middle school still likes me. We have each others phone number, and he still says “ily” but I don’t rlly respond to that, I like him as a friend but not as bf and gf. (My crush at church is way way way cuter than the guy that I dated in middle school) It weird Ik It feels weird having a bf/ friendship and having a crush on the guy at my church. My bf/ friendship guy doesn’t know that I have a crush on the guy at my church, so shhh. If you guys have had an experience like I’m currently having, pls let me know how to handle it by commenting on this post.
User article | dating