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Loneliness at university
Going to university can be the start of a whole new social life, but it can also be a lonely time. Loneliness comes from the gap between the social life you want and the social life you have. Any unplanned or unwanted alone time can leave you feeling lonely [1], particularly when you’re in a new place, away from all your familiar people. When you’re young and already going through a lot of upheaval, loneliness can be a powerful sensation. You’re trying to map out your future and your social world is rapidly changing. Your friends – even if they’re not be the same ones you had a few years ago – are becoming more important than ever before [1]. How does loneliness happen? The changes you are going through are often linked to some of the significant factors that can cause loneliness in young people: Changes in your social network. Becoming more independent from your parents and family. Exploring your identity [1]. As we grow up and start to figure out who we are, our social circles tend to shift from away from family, towards friends, perhaps because it’s easier to discuss the big issues with people in similar situations. When you leave home and go to university, you’ll be figuring out more about who you want to be. You may make new friends and start to let go of old ones, choosing to spend time with people who reflect your new interests and ambitions, people who can help you feel like you’re working towards the future you’ve just had your first glimpse of. This doesn’t mean that your family stops being important or that they leave your social circle entirely, but you might notice that the centre of your circle drifts closer to your friends. Transitional periods Feelings of loneliness can be exacerbated by any big life transition, including moving out of your family home and going away to study. A strong support network of close friends and family can help ease this pressure [2] but you may not always have access to this. If you’re going to university and you don’t know anyone, take advantage of the social activities on offer. Make plans to spend more time with the people you meet and seek out others who share your interests. And don’t go thinking you’ve got to rush to find a romantic partner to stop you from feeling lonely! Friendships can be just as good for you, boosting your self-esteem and mental wellbeing, and giving you all the benefits of intimacy and companionship that you’d get from a romantic partner [2]. The power of sharing One interesting way that you can deepen your sense of feeling socially connected is to share your possessions [3], which can be easily done in shared accommodation. As well as simple loans of things like books and clothes (if that’s your thing), there are a few other ways to think about sharing possessions. Setting up a TV or games console in a shared area means you and your housemates can enjoy it together. If one of you has a car, giving lifts is a good way to be helpful (in exchange for a contribution towards fuel, of course). Laptops and printers can be a handy loan for last-minute assignments. You can all save money by clubbing together for kitchen staples like salt, oil, teabags and washing up liquid. You can also save space by sharing kitchen equipment. If, say, one of you has a big frying pan and one of you has a colander, sharing these items can help you feel more connected – but do make sure you wash up afterwards! If you do lend and borrow possessions, be clear about what the boundaries are around when things are expected to be returned and in what condition. If you’re worried, a good rule is to avoid lending or borrowing anything that you can’t afford to replace.   References [1] Laursen, & Hartl. (2013). Understanding loneliness during adolescence: Developmental changes that increase the risk of perceived social isolation. Journal of Adolescence, 36(6), 1261-1268. [2] Lee, C., & Goldstein, S. (2016). Loneliness, Stress, and Social Support in Young Adulthood: Does the Source of Support Matter? Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45(3), 568-580. [3] Gentina, E., Shrum, L., & Lowrey, J. (2018). Coping with Loneliness Through Materialism: Strategies Matter for Adolescent Development of Unethical Behaviors. Journal of Business Ethics, 152(1), 103-122.
Article | university, loneliness
Letting go of sibling rivalry
As children, some of our biggest arguments are with our brothers and sisters. But, when you grow up and leave home, the old wounds of sibling rivalry have a chance to heal as the relationship develops into something new and supportive. Growing up with brothers or sisters can be a mixed bag. On one hand, you’ve got someone alongside you who understands your background and situation. On the other hand, it’s easy to fall into competition and rivalry, challenging for your parents’ attention and trying to prove yourselves worthy in the big wide world.  The good news is that things often improve when you become adults and start spending less time under the same roof. As you get older, the competitiveness can ease off and you may find you become more of a support to each other. Moving apart can improve your relationship, and the distance may help you to see each other in a more positive light [1].  Go your own way  Given how much we have in common with our siblings, it’s hard not to compete with them. They have grown up in the same place as us with the same advantages – if we don’t live up to their successes, it’s easy to feel like we’re failing. But, while it might be tempting to keep your eyes on the path your sibling is treading, it’s much healthier just to do your own thing [1].  This mind sound overly simplistic, but it’s an important lesson to keep in mind – aside from the obvious benefits of looking after yourself, focusing on your own interests and ambitions has been shown to minimise conflict with your siblings [1]. Let go of the temptation to follow in the footsteps of a brother or sister, and carve out your own path instead. Of course, this is easier when you’re no longer living under the same roof! How siblings can support you One of the best advantages of having siblings is that they can offer a safe place to open up about issues that you might not be able to discuss with anyone else. As you strike out on your own, issues like dating, sex, and friendships become more important and it can be hard to know where to turn when you have questions or when things get tough.  Here’s where you may seek the wisdom of those who have walked these paths before you. It can be uncomfortable talking to parents about personal stuff like this, and siblings can represent the perfect sounding board. Older siblings in particular have made similar journeys into adulthood and may have advice or emotional tips to offer on these tricky topics [2].  Opening up and having these close chats can help you find solutions to the issue at hand, but it can also have the added benefits of improving your relationship with your sibling, developing your emotional maturity [2], and helping you feel better about your life in general [3]. Even if you don’t get to meet up face to face as often as you used to, these kinds of conversations can have the same benefits through text or social media [4]. So, if you have siblings and you’ve left home, drop them a line to check in – they might just be able to give you the emotional boost you need.   References [1] Lindell, A., Campione-Barr, N., & Greer, K. (2014). Associations Between Adolescent Sibling Conflict and Relationship Quality During the Transition to College. Emerging Adulthood, 2(2), 79-91.  [2] Campione-Barr, Nicole, Lindell, Anna K., Giron, Sonia E., Killoren, Sarah E., & Greer, Kelly Bassett. (2015). Domain Differentiated Disclosure to Mothers and Siblings and Associations with Sibling Relationship Quality and Youth Emotional Adjustment. Developmental Psychology, 51(9), 1278-1291. [3] Hollifield, C., & Conger, K. (2015). The Role of Siblings and Psychological Needs in Predicting Life Satisfaction During Emerging Adulthood. Emerging Adulthood, 3(3), 143-15.  [4] Killoren, S. E., Campione-Barr, N. C., Giron, S. M., Kline, G., Streit, C., & Youngblade, L. (2018). Content and correlates of sisters’ messages about dating and sexuality. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 1-22.
Article | siblings, leaving home
Helping your partner find their dream job
Being in an unsatisfying job can have a negative effect on your overall happiness, and your personal relationships. Your feelings about your working life are closely linked to your relationship quality. If your partner is in a job they don’t enjoy, you will probably hear about it a lot. Your partner may find that your partner is more irritable, and complains a lot about their job and their colleagues. Your partner may also be too tired from long, stressful shifts to spend quality time with you. So how can you support them and help them get the job they’ve always dreamed of? Set aside time to help your partner apply for jobs. If your partner is still working, it might be tricky to find time for jobhunting. Set aside some time in the evenings or at weekends where you can help your partner apply for jobs. Plan in some time to search for jobs online, through newspapers, or at your local Jobcentre Plus. Encourage networking. If your partner doesn’t know anyone in the industry they want to get in, encourage them to join sites like LinkedIn where they can join groups for industry professionals and meet people in the field. If there are relevant events happening nearby, you could offer to go along with them for moral support. Make financial compromises. To get their dream job, your partner may have to take time out to study or go on a training course, which can affect your household income. Sit down together and work out where you might be able to afford to cut down on spending. You might find it helpful to read our article on talking to your partner about money. Be supportive. One of the worst parts of applying for jobs is the rejections. When you’ve spent ages preparing your CV and writing a killer cover letter, it can feel pretty disheartening to receive an impersonal email from the recruiter saying that your application was unsuccessful. If this happens to your partner, you’ll need to be there for them. What if the dream job is in another city or country? Some jobs may require your partner to relocate. If this is the case with your partner’s dream job, you will both need to discuss how this will affect your relationship and if you both want to move. If you have children together, you will need to discuss how it will affect them too. Think about whether you would both move, or just one of you, and have this discussion as a couple. These questions might help you get the conversation started: Where would you live? What is the cost of living? What opportunities are there for you in the new location? What are the pros and cons of relocating? What else is in the new location? If you have children where will they go to school? What is your shared vision for the future?
Article | work, finance
Choosing to be childfree
Many couples are choosing not to have children, opting to focus on the couple relationship instead. But, according to a new study, it’s not a decision they’re making lightly. The study [1] looked at how couples arrive at the decision not to become parents. The term ‘childfree’, as opposed to ‘childless’, refers to people who have chosen not to have children. The study showed that the decision not to have children is usually a conscious one, rather than something that ‘just happens’. It’s usually something that’s arrived at over a length of time and it’s an ongoing choice. This is particularly true for heterosexual couples, who often have to choose to continue using contraception, and avoid unplanned pregnancy. How is the decision made? By the time couples are having their first conversations about children, they have often already given years of thought to the matter. If both know that they don’t want children, it may only take a single conversation to form an agreement. Reasons for opting out of parenthood could include wider factors such as: Increased reproductive choices. Since the feminist movement of the 1970s, more of us are free to make this choice in the first place [2]. More career options for women. Childfree women are more likely to be employed in professional and managerial positions [3]. Worry about jobs. In one study conducted during the recession of the ‘90s [4], many men said they had opted out of parenthood due to uncertainty in the labour market. Wider society. Women in particular referred to concerns about overpopulation when discussing their decisions [5]. But many also cite more individual reasons such as: Personal freedom. More opportunity for self-fulfilment. Keeping spontaneity, such as the opportunity to travel. Making the most of adult relationships. Experiences of other people’s parenting [6]. Focusing on the couple relationship. Many couples cited their own relationship quality as a major factor in choosing to remain childfree [7]. We know from other studies that the transition to parenthood is one of the biggest hurdles for couples. If you’re still undecided about whether you’re ready for children, or just want to know more, you might find it useful to read our article on managing this transition. Whatever your choice, take the time to discuss it with your partner, so you both know what each other wants and why. Talking about big decisions like this allows you, as a couple, to work together and pursue a life path that suits both of you. One of the childfree people in the study said: ‘‘I wish it were normal to decide whether or not you were going to have children’’.
Article | children, childfree
Marriage preparation
Religious weddings have often included a tradition of premarital counselling for couples, ranging from a day of personal exploration, to months of in-depth marriage preparation. As civil ceremonies overtake religious ceremonies in popularity, we offer a few examples of marriage preparation available in the UK.Click is not responsible for the content of external links and sites. While every effort is made to ensure the quality and content of external sites, no responsibility or liability is taken for external content. Bristol Community Family Trust http://www.2-in-2-1.co.uk/services/bcft/ Bristol Community Family Trust (BCFT) is a non-profit charity focused on the prevention of family breakdown. BCFT have been running marriage, relationship and mentoring courses since 1996. Insight is for couples who are engaged, recently married, or just thinking about it. Courses run every month, for couples getting married or newlyweds, and include a day of PREP skills training in the classroom followed by three to six private evenings going through the FOCCUS questionnaire with a mentor couple. BCFT also runs courses every month to train mentors. Mentors are ordinary non-expert married couples who want to make a difference. Couples getting married can suggest their own friends as mentors or accept mentors provided by BCFT. Care for the Family http://www.careforthefamily.org.uk/ Care for the Family is a national charity which aims to promote strong family life. The charity runs three different marriage preparation courses: 21st Century Marriage – an eight-session, DVD-based course which couples may find particularly relevant if they have already been living together for some time. Marriage by Design – a one-day course led by a licensed facilitator, presented in an informal and relaxed manner. From this step forward – this unique marriage preparation course will help you to build a strong relationship on which to build your stepfamily. Couples can use this course at home with or without the help of a facilitator. Marriage Care http://www.marriagecare.org.uk/how-we-help/marriage-preparation/ Marriage Care is a charity operating across England and Wales. Volunteers are mainly, though not exclusively, drawn from within the Catholic community. Couples can attend a group course or choose to complete the FOCCUS Inventory which is designed for use with individual couples. The Marriage Preparation Course http://themarriagecourses.org/try/the-marriage-preparation-course/ The Marriage Preparation Course is part of Alpha and, whilst the course is based on Christian principles, it is designed for all couples with or without a church background. You do not need to be getting married in a church to attend the course. The course takes place over five evenings and covers communication, commitment, resolving conflict, keeping love alive and shared goals and values.All participants are required to complete the FOCCUS questionnaire, which is a self-diagnostic inventory designed to help you learn more about yourselves and your relationship. Prepare-Enrich Programme http://www.prepare-enrich.co.uk/ The Prepare-Enrich programme helps couples prepare for marriage, enrich their relationship, or review and improve their co-parenting by taking stock of their strengths and growth areas. Facilitators help couples develop key relationship skills and communicate better on important topics. The Church of England http://www.yourchurchwedding.org/youre-welcome/preparing-for-marriage.aspx Tips from the Church of England on how to speak to your Vicar about marriage preparation.
Article | marriage, religion
0 4 min read
Relationships and going to university
Starting college or university is a big life change. If, like many young students, this is the first time you are leaving home, it might be an exciting and daunting time. The prospect of studying, living, and partying in a new place with new people could fill you with a powerful mix of emotions.But nothing dampens the excitement of a new start like an existing relationship. If you’re in a long-term relationship, or even if you’ve just started seeing someone over the summer, it can be hard to know how to handle a move to college or university.If you’re both moving away to study, you’ll be meeting new people; if one of you is staying at home, it could bring up a whole other set of challenges. The impending change might force you to assess the relationship. You might start wondering what they future holds, and if you can cope with a long distance relationship. Talk it out If you and your partner haven’t talked about your plans, it’s worth initiating a conversation. Have a think about your hopes and worries, and talk to you partner about how you’re feeling. Ask them how they feel about the situation– their answer might surprise you, so be prepared to listen to whatever they have to say. Try a long distance relationship If you and your partner are confident that your relationship is strong enough to last, then you can try having a long distance relationship. Many couples manage this successfully, staying in touch by text, phone or email during the term and catching up in the holidays. Depending on how far apart you are, you may be able to visit each other more frequently.How often you communicate is something you’ll have to work out together. Some couples choose to have set times, which can help avoid conflict about who’s turn it is to call whom. When you are studying in a new place, you will need to take time to pursue new interests, make new friends and, of course, study. It’s important to make the most of these new experiences, but it can be difficult for your partner. They may feel left out or worried that you’ll forget about them.It may take a few goes to get it right, but once you start communicating with each other at long distance, you’ll find there’s a balance that works for you. If you can’t visit each other during term time, plan something special for the holidays so you’ve got something to look forward to. Think carefully before making any big decisions It can be easy to get caught up in the passion of the present. You may be tempted to choose a university that’s closer to your partner, or even give up your studies altogether. It’s important to remember that this stage of your education could have profound consequences for your future. If your relationship is strong enough, it will survive the distance. Your education may not be quite so forgiving. Stop think about which matters most to you before you commit to a decision.
Article | big changes, long distance
0 3 min read
How getting married affects your finances
Getting married doesn’t affect your credit rating, but it may have some financial implications that you haven’t yet considered. If you have a joint account or a shared mortgage or bank loan, your credit rating will be tied to your partner’s, and affected by any changes. Most couples have at least one of these financial ties before tying the proverbial knot, so the act of getting married is unlikely to change any of this. Hannah Maundrell, editor in chief of money.co.uk, says: “Your credit record won’t be affected just because you say, ‘I do’; it’s not until you apply for joint accounts that you become financially linked. It will impact your entitlement to Tax Credits though, and you may also get tax back if you qualify for Marriage Allowance; so, it’s worth telling HMRC [and] insurance providers – this is definitely worth doing because it could mean you pay less for cover!” Marriage Allowance was introduced by the government in April 2015. What this means is that if you earn less than £11,500 and your spouse or civil partner earns more than that (but less than £45,000), then you may be eligible to transfer some of your tax-free allowance over to them. This guide will help you learn how to take advantage of this. You can also make tax-free gifts to your partner. For example, if one of you receives a financial inheritance, you can give a portion of this to your spouse without being taxed. You may also be able to cut the tax you are charged on your savings interest. When you earn interest in a regular savings account, you are charged tax according to your income tax bracket. If your spouse is in a lower tax bracket than you, or if they aren’t a tax-payer, storing your savings in their name can save you money on the interest you earn. Of course, it’s very important that you trust your partner before taking this on! If you have a will, it will become invalid as soon as you get married, so you will need to update it or write a new one. Hannah Maundrell says: “Tying the knot doesn’t mean that your every worldly possession is half your partner’s… while you’re alive at least. The situation is very different if you die, so you need to update your will as a priority because your old one will be invalidated. It does mean that you could earn more interest on your savings if you trust them with your money and they’re in a lower income tax band than you”.
Article | finance, marriage
0 3 min read
Moving house with a disabled child
Moving house is one of the most stressful things a family can go through. When you have a disabled child there are many extra factors to consider, on top of the usual expense and logistics of moving to a new location.  One of your biggest considerations will be your child’s support network, which includes not only schools, medical care and other local services, but also the support you get from family and friends. Even if you’re moving specifically to be closer to family, you may be moving away from other support that you’ve learned to rely on. When moving to a new location, you can help make the transition smoother by setting up as much as possible in advance. You may find it helpful to consider the following areas of support [1]. Access and information Find out where your new local services will be and how to access them. You should be able to find information about services and support for disabled children on any local authority website. If you are receiving services and support from the local authority where you live now, make sure you talk to them about transferring to your new local authority, as you may have to undergo a new assessment. There’s an expectation that the local authority where you live will at least liaise with the new authority about your child’s needs and support in the interim. You may also want to find out about what any registration processes and what you will have to do. If there is a waiting list, find out how long you are likely to have to wait and, if appropriate, get on the list as soon as possible. Cost Affordability is one of the main barriers between parents and services. Check if there are cost differences in services between where you live now and where you are moving to. Unfortunately, if you are receiving payments or funding for certain services now, your new local authority is not under any obligation to provide the same level of support or help in the interim while waiting for a new assessment to be carried out. Seek advice about this from the Contact helpline on 0808 808 3555, helpline@contact.org.uk. You may wish to factor this into your budget if you are able, and, if necessary, work out where you can make savings. Schools One of the biggest challenges you are likely to face is how to integrate your child into school and the wider community. How easy or hard this is for you will depend largely on where you are moving, and the age of your child.  Many parents find it difficult to push back against the status quo, concerned that they might be thought of as a ‘trouble parent’ [1], but it’s important to find a balance. Your child’s school experience is an essential part of their wellbeing and will help them to develop social skills for forming relationships as they get older. If there’s anything you’re not happy with, ask for something to be done about it, or consider other options. You’ll probably have started looking at schools as soon as you started considering the move. It’s also worth investigating community activities and other social opportunities for your child. If your child is receiving extra help at school, for example they have a statement of special educational needs, Education, Health and Care plan or Coordinated Support Plan, speak to the teacher responsible at school, and find out how the move to a new school will be managed. Again, seek advice from Contact’s education advice line about this on 0808 808 3555, email helpline@contact.org.uk Family support The work that goes into parenting a child with disabilities can take up so much of your time and energy that friends and family end up taking a back seat [2], but it’s impossible to put a value on having people living nearby whom you can rely on. Support from friends and extended family support can help you cope with the additional time demands and unpredictability of parenting [1] and, most of the time, it doesn’t cost anything. If you haven’t yet decided where to move, consider areas that are near supportive friends and family. They may even be able to offer advice on local services. Don’t assume they’ll always be able to support you though – other people shouldn’t be the only reason you move. Remember that if they decide to move away in a year’s time, you’ll still have to live in the new location.  It’s important to access whatever support is available, as it can allow you to spend quality time with your other children, and with each other as a couple [1]. If you are moving somewhere you won’t have family locally, make sure you check out options for respite care and other support such as counselling, sibling support and childcare. If funded support isn’t available, calculate the likely costs of any support you would have to pay for, and factor this into your moving plans. General tips Moving is stressful for everyone. These general tips may help to take some of the pressure off once you are ready to make the move. Look after yourselves Remember that you and your partner will also be affected by the upheaval of the move. During the build-up, eat well and try to get enough sleep. Don’t forget to think about activities that you can do in your new place, and make plans to explore the new area together. Clear your schedule During the week of the move, take some time off work and arrange for someone to look after the children, so that you can focus on getting everything else sorted. Let yourself off the hook You’re probably going to feel anxious and stressed for a bit, so don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect. Give yourself some space. Do some slow breathing. Talk to someone. Accept help If anyone offers practical support with your move, say, yes! Hand over a copy of your to-do list if you have to – just let people help. Focus on the positives Remind yourself of why you are moving – better job prospects, a nicer location, or perhaps just a home that suits your family’s needs better. Whatever it was that led you to make the decision to move, keep it in mind, and look forward to the things that matter most. References [1] Resch, J. A., Mireles, G. Benz, M. R., Grenwelge, C., Peterson, R., & Zhang, D. (2010). Giving Parents a Voice: A Qualitative Study of the Challenges Experienced by Parents of Children With Disabilities. Rehabilitation Psychology, 2010, 55(2), 139-150.  [2] Brannen, M. A., & Heflinger, C. A. (2006). Caregiver, child, family, and service system contributors to caregiver strain in two mental health service systems. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, 33, 408 – 422.
Article | parenting, disability
0 7 min read
Grieving for an aborted pregnancy
Making the decision to abort a pregnancy is tough, even if it feels like the right thing to do. Some couples face a difficult time in their relationship following that decision. Guilt With any major life choice, it’s natural to go through the what-ifs and the maybe-I-should-haves. This can happen no matter what decisions you’ve made. People carry guilt individually but, if a decision is shared, the guilt can weigh on you as a couple and potentially lead to blame-shifting or resentment. Grief Some people and couples still have a grieving process to go through, even if it was their decision to terminate. The following research refers to miscarriages and stillbirths, but the lessons of grief are applicable: In the study, most mothers and fathers struggled to understand their partners' grieving style. Fathers described having to focus on practical tasks and needing to remain strong, which meant that the way they grieved was very different to their partner’s [1]. People grieve and express loss in different ways [2] [3] and develop their own coping styles, which may not be recognised or understood by their partner. Some people are not consciously aware of their own coping style. How can I help? If you’re feeling upset or vulnerable after the abortion, it may be worth talking to a counsellor, or someone else you can trust. Talking through your pain is a helpful part of the healing process. Speak to your partner about how you are feeling and talk about what you might find helpful during this time. Keep in mind that your partner may be grieving too –perhaps in a different way – and try to offer support as well as asking for it. Coping with guilt There’s often a temptation to bury guilt or pretend it’s not there. Instead, try to recognise your guilt when it flares up, and talk to your partner about it. Talking it through and being heard may help you find some relief. Keeping the dialogue open and honest can also make things easier if it comes up again. If you’re able to support each other and show patience, you may even find that you become closer in your relationship. Coping with grief If you and your partner have different coping styles, it can be a source of frustration in the relationship. Take the time to talk sensitively with your partner about how you’ve both coped with grief in the past. It might not be the easiest conversation but, as you learn to understand each other’s coping styles, you’ll find that you have more tolerance and patience for one another. In the study, even the most bereaved parents were able to accept each other’s entirely different coping styles, and went on to become closer together in sharing their loss [4]. References [1] Campbell-Jackson, L., and Horsch, A. (2014). The Psychological Impact of Stillbirth on Women: A Systematic Review. Illness, Crisis & Loss, 22(3), 237-256. doi:10.2190/il.22.3.d [2] Dyregrov and Matthiesen (1987). Anxiety and vulnerability after the death of an infant. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. 1987, 28: 16-25 [3] Gold, K.J., Sen, A., Hayward, R.A. (2010). Marriage and Cohabitation Outcomes After Pregnancy Loss. American Academy of Pediatrics [4] Avelin, P., Rådestad, I., Säflund, K., Wredling, R., Erlandsson, K. (2013). Parental grief and relationships after the loss of a stillborn baby. Midwifery. June 2013, Volume 29, Issue 6, Pages 668–673. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2012.06.007
Article | abortion, grief
1 4 min read
Community posts
“Recent widow, now involved in an affair”
My husband died eight months ago after a two-year fight with cancer. He was my life, my heart, my love. People at work were and continue to be supportive. My best friend, male, has been there every step of the way. I admire him for his loyalty to his wife and kids, and how he treats his family. One day while he was comforting me, he kissed me. I kissed him back and it was all I could think of for the entire weekend. We did kiss off and on, got handsy with each other, and had oral sex...all at work. We did send some racy pictures of ourselves to each other on Snapchat, and flirted via text. He would tell me that his family will always come first and I would not hear from him on nights and weekends (other than the snaps.). He thanked me once for not making his life complicated. He mentioned his guilt several times, worried that I would resent him one day. I told him that I was aware what we were doing. He is very busy with his family, yet would say he would come by to help with equipment, mowing, pool care, etc, but would never show up. I trust this man with all my heart that he doesn't want to hurt me. He would come in on Monday mornings and whisper in my ear that he missed me. He would pull me in for kisses and hugs. Oral sex, but not to completion, was an almost daily event. He finally orgasmed, and the next day the entire mood changed. He blamed his upset stomach for not being romantic...this lasted days. When I finally asked him about it, he said that he felt guilty, that I needed to have patience. I admit that I did pull out of the tricks I have for making him want me more. I want him to want me more, knowing that he will never leave his wife. He is truly one of my best friends who has helped me (even before we were romantically involved) with the grief of my husband's death. I see him every day at work, his office faces mine. I can't imagine working without him by my side. I am trying to act like everything is OK when at work, but it isn't. How could I have two totally different yet totally painful heart breaks in such a short time?
Ask the community | breakups, rejection, cheating
“Long distance relationship tips”
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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Don’t sweat it. Most people think their long distance relationship will fail because they fear their partner will replace them with someone else. In an attempt to protect themselves from this fear, their brain highlights their partner’s most negative traits. This is a common defense mechanism which prepares for the emotional pain of a break-up. However, couples who establish that they have a trusting, committed relationship, and work on their own individual mental health report greater intimacy in their long distance relationships. Lower levels of psychological distress in each individual also has positive effects on commitment, communication, and satisfaction in the long-distance relationship. Healthy daily activities such as running, yoga and meditation can all contribute to a greater relationship with one’s self, which in turn results in more positivity and optimism in the relationship. Distance makes the heart grow fonder. The scarcity effect is a technique successful marketers use to increase the value perception of their products. If a product is less available, people view it as more desirable as a certain status applies to the exclusive few who have it. The latest iPhone must be amazing if there is a long queue of people waiting at the store opening to acquire one of the scarce few, right? In long-distance relationships, the demand almost always exceeds the supply. You love each other deeply but cannot see each other as much as you would like. Due to this, couples perceive each other – and their time together – as more valuable. Planning frequent visits ahead of schedule provides anticipation and excitement. It also shows a willingness to invest in the relationship, which promotes security within it. Those who continue to arrange special and thoughtful dates once committed to each other have reported much more relationship satisfaction than those who see each other when it’s convenient. Communication is key. Although physically seeing each other may be a scarcity, speaking with each other should not be. Communication really is key as it results in less loneliness, greater feelings of intimacy, and lower levels of jealousy. Try to make it a mixture of planned and spontaneous communication to keep the relationship both comforting and filled with excitement.
User article | long distance, communication
“Is this just a crush?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   Hey guys. SO. I have never asked a community like this about stuff, but I feel like I'm at the end of my rope or road or whatever. Before I met my current partner I had never been in a "real bf/gf relationship". In fact, I was still hurting badly from a guy I fell for 3 yrs ago who told me if I moved states we could date...Then I moved states and surprise, he ignored me to my breaking point. I have finally just within the past month gotten completely over him. Anyway, my first ever bf moved in with me a month after dating me bc my female roommate told me she wanted him and if I dated him she would abandon the lease. So she abandoned the lease dramatically and he moved in with me. He is 3 yrs younger than me and we used to fight a lot over things that have never been an issue to the other guys I have known--and several times he and I got physical and left bruises on each other. But, we always made up for it and always told each other we only fought bc we care so much not like the other guys who would have just ignored the "issues". Most of it was my stress to keep the apartment bc I was working more than him and he had a very part time job.... Fast forward and we are both making a much better wage and are living in a different apartment. We don't fight as much BUT this is where I need advice!! (Finally!) To give you a picture of my life, I used to be really dark and sad and then I got involved with light workers and spent a lotta time outside and meditating and since I am a singer and writer I sort of bloomed past all the darkness...I love seeing people living their dream and I love health, which you can often see in someone's eyes. Well my bf is very dark. He makes me watch horror movies (which i really don't like but i am trying to get past it) and he is a funeral directing intern, plus he hates sunlight. So he will never be out there sunning with me or swimming, which makes my lil heart sad. He is not a bad guy tho, he has a huge heart for his family and for me and is constantly spending money on me, so don't assume he's mean or something. The point is, we actually went to a farmers market and my lower wisdom tooth was hurting like hell bc it's erupting so he noticed a CBD booth that was selling capsules. He asked the guy selling if they would help tooth pain while I was smelling all the CBD soaps--they were amazing and I was so fascinated by them I didn't even look up and see the guy who was at the booth till my bf mentioned me and I was in so much pain I could hardly even smile. But what struck me right away was when I did look up, all I saw was a hazel ocean of light and depth and so many good auras that even tho I am typically a shy person I maintained eye contact. My eyes are heterochromic, one blue one hazel, so I may have been striking him the same way. But anyway, is this just a crush? I do love hazel eyes, and my bf has brown eyes so is it just stupid. Oh and then he mentioned his male roommate had tooth pain which didn't get helped by cannabis and then my bf and I walked away and I mentioned to him I would pay for cbd salve for his back bc he has scoliosis. He insisted he would pay for it himself so he did and I wandered around the market half in a daze and half in incredible tooth pain. It was a small market and as I walked down the center with my dog the CBD guy was looking at us. I purposefully didn't look back, because i am crushed inside....My bf knew from the start I didn't want a relationship but honestly he was so kind and sweet to me that I felt it would be unfair to live and share life with someone in such close quarters without letting them claim me. But the week leading up to this event has been filled with me wanting to tell him I feel like something is missing. He wants to buy a camper in 9months and live out of it with me and just travel and work odd jobs, I wonder if even if I never see the hazel eyed CBD guy again, maybe it is all connected and I should just keep my job as a dental assistant and not live out of a trailer with my bf in 9 months?? I really don't want to quit my job but trailer life seems cool and we would travel a ton and have lots of adventures. I just am divided and also like I alluded to I am not in love with my bf, never have been just he has been so kind and he knows how to treat me during bdsm which no one else even had the creative capacity to try. But ok I will admit I wish we weren't in a relationship:( i will take any and all advice! --
Ask the community | sex, intimacy
“Travelling vs settling 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. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   My boyfriend and I have been together for five years now. I have had my own house for two years, which he lives in and contributes a more than a fair share towards bills and food. We are both in our early 30’s. He wants to travel and I want to settle down. We have talked about selling my house and buying one together in 2019, as well as potentially starting a family. For years he has loosely talked about travel, but never seems to make any solid plans to achieve this goal. At one point (due to redundancy), I had said that I would consider travelling 1 month with him and then fly home, leaving him to complete his travels on his own or with whoever he pleases. This would be between being made redundant and starting a new job. I soon got cold feet and worried about paying my mortgage when he started changing his mind about which month to go. I thought this could turn into me being on hold waiting through his long decision making process and then the travel not actually happening. I also started to feel like travelling wasn’t for me and I was planning the month purely for him, and it was a big risk not lining up a job when there were no solid plans in place. A few months ago, he told me he was depressed and really unhappy in his job, so I encouraged him to do his travel alone and take a career break. He has considered taking his career in a different direction, so my opinion was that this would be the perfect time. He has spent the past three month researching travelling alone and put the feelers out to other companies he may wish to work for in future. He is now starting to get cold feet about going travelling in July and is considering holding off until January 19 as the weather is better in Vietnam. For me, I feel like this is another case of him being unable to commit to plans and actually make decisions. I feel as if my asks of him in a relationship are not important as moving out his travels overlaps with us buying a home together. My life feels like it is on hold for him, while he slowly ponders on how to go about his travels.
Ask the community | communication, trust
“Friends or lovers?”
This post was published by a Click user. Please feel free to respond in the comments below. We sometimes edit posts to ensure Click is a safe, respectful place to share stories and questions. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________   So I've been best friends with this girl for 4yrs. Last yr I came out of a 7yr relationship and she was totally my rock through the breakup. We went out for Valentine's Day and continued to spend almost everyday together for the last couple months. I began to fall in love with her. A month and half ago we fell asleep together and held each other all night. It was wonderful and I thought we had maybe moved to the next level. But then nothing else progressed. We're still together all the time but no sex or even kissing. I started to feel my love was one-sided and was feeling awkward when we were together. This past week another woman that I guess had been eyeing me up for awhile contacted me and we began to talk. There was an immediate connection so we decided to go on a date last night and there was sparks. When my friend found out she got very angry that I went out with another woman. I told her I loved her and I was confused. She didn't respond and refused to talk to me today. Meanwhile the new girl wants to go on a date again tomorrow. I'm confused and don't what to do. I don't want to hurt my friend but also don't want to pass on an opportunity for something real with a woman likes me.
Ask the community | dating