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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
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
They mess you up, your mum and dad
As that PG-rated version of the famous poem goes, our parents have a lot to answer for. We may not know it at the time, but our attitudes to relationships are formed when we are children, and we learn a lot from seeing adults interacting with each other while we are growing up. Because of this, people who grow up with divorced or separated parents are more likely to have a negative view of marriage and may be less interested in romantic relationships in general. When they do form relationships, they might be more likely to get into arguments with their partners and less keen on the idea of making a long-term commitment [1]. If your parents were separated or divorced, it can affect the way you view relationships from the start. As you get older, this can then affect the way you interact with the people you have relationships with. This doesn’t mean that you’re destined to repeat your parents’ patterns, but it can be a helpful way of understanding how you relate to others. When you understand the source of your attitude to relationships, it can make it easier for you to set a pace that suits you and to recognise problems when they come up. It’s OK if you don’t feel ready to make a commitment and, of course, some level of conflict is to be expected in most relationships (it’s the way you handle conflict that matters most). But, if you aren’t as happy with your relationship as you’d like to be, and you’re looking to make some changes, then recognising the source of your feelings can be a good place to start. Ask yourself what you might have learned about relationships when you were growing up. Who were your adult role models and what kinds of relationships did they have? Most of what we understand about how relationships work comes from seeing the way our parents interact. When we see them supporting each other, making compromises, and getting over arguments, we learn important skills about how to do this in our own relationships. If you grew up with separated parents, you might have missed out on a lot of that, especially if your parents didn’t handle their breakup very well or continued to argue in front of you. Even when separated parents do get on well, their children can still miss out on important lessons. You could be left trying to figure out relationship skills the hard way – through trial and error. As a result, you might find it harder to deal with relationship stress and arguments with your partner, all of which can make your relationship feel less satisfying [2]. These issues can also be linked to problems with sex and intimacy. You may find that you are less interested in sexual experiences. You might not always recognise it when your partner is trying to be intimate with you, or you might just not be into it. This is quite common for people who grew up in homes with a single parent, particularly if there wasn’t much adult affection on display [2]. Go easy on yourself, especially in your early relationships when you are still figuring out what you want. Ask your partner to be patient with you and try to be honest about anything you are finding difficult. If intimacy is an issue, ask your partner to slow things down. If you find it hard to commit, just be clear about where you’re at so that your partner can manage their expectations. Growing up with step-parents Of course, if you grew up with step-parents, it’s possible that a lot of this won’t apply to you. Unlike children who grow up with both parents, you may have had the benefit of seeing how a successful relationship begins. This can play a big part in how you go on to form your own relationships. If your parents separated when you were a child, but another parental figure entered your life, you might even be better at starting relationships than people whose parents stayed together [3]. References [1] Cui, M., & Fincham, F. (2010). The differential effects of parental divorce and marital conflict on young adult romantic relationships. Personal Relationships, 17(3), 331-343. [2] Shulman, S., Zlotnik, A., Shachar-Shapira, L., Connolly, J., & Bohr, Y. (2012). Adolescent Daughters' Romantic Competence: The Role of Divorce, Quality of Parenting, and Maternal Romantic History. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 41(5), 593-606. [3] Ivanova, K., Mills, M., & Veenstra, R. (2014). Parental Residential and Partnering Transitions and the Initiation of Adolescent Romantic Relationships. Journal of Marriage and Family, 76(3), 465-475.  
Article | separation, divorce, dating
Two approaches to online dating
With more relationships starting online than ever before, we looked at the factors that can make the difference between a false start and a long-term future.  Developing relationships In the early stages, online daters tend to spend longer deliberating over their choices. Online relationships can therefore take longer to develop than those starting offline [1].  One reason for this is that online dating can give us the impression that there is an endless supply of potential matches. If you’re not sure about a relationship, you have a couple of choices – you can either pursue it and see how it goes, or you can end it and start looking for the next one. If you’re confident you can find another match online fairly quickly, ending the current one might feel like the easiest option [1]. The marketplace approach if you’re not quite ready for a long-term commitment or if you don’t yet know what you’re looking for, you might approach online dating sites as a kind of marketplace. Online daters using this approach tend to make quickfire assessments of a person’s potential as a romantic partner, turning the dating process into an exchange where potential partners are seen as commodities to be selected from a choice of many. And, when there’s a choice, it feels easier to exchange one partner for another – so we go shopping again [2]. This approach might mean you get to meet a lot of people, but it won’t necessarily lead to a successful long-term relationship. Relationships usually work best when two people respond to each other’s needs, rather than weighing up the costs and benefits as they go [2]. The long-term approach On the other hand, if you are specifically looking for a long-term relationship, you may find one online faster than you would if you went looking offline. When looking for a long-term relationship online, you’re likely to put more consideration into the selection process, and you’ll find it easier to ask those big questions that are hard to ask in the early days of a traditional offline relationship [3]. So, if you go into the process looking for love, and you already know what you want, it becomes possible to skip through a lot of the getting-to-know-you stuff that usually has to happen at the beginning of a relationship [3]. References [1] Paul, A. (2014). Is online better than offline for meeting partners? depends: Are you looking to marry or to date? Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(10).  [2] Finkel, E., Eastwick, P., Karney, B., Reis, H., & Sprecher, S. (2012). Online Dating: A Critical Analysis From the Perspective of Psychological Science. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 13(1), 3-66. [3] Rosenfeld. Michael J. (2017). “Marriage, Choice, and Couplehood in the Age of the Internet.” Sociological Science 4:490-51.
Article | online dating
Choosing the perfect gift for your partner
The simple act of buying a gift for a loved one can make you happier and, for the recipient, it really is the thought that counts. Choosing a gift for someone who matters to you can be a stressful experience. Whether it’s for a birthday, Christmas, or an anniversary, you can find yourself worrying about how much to spend, and how to find the perfect gift for a loved one. Choosing the perfect gift can feel like an ideal way to show your partner how much you love them, so it makes sense that you’d put a lot of pressure on yourself to get it right – particularly if you find it difficult to express your love in other ways [1]. Getting it right can be a positive experience. One study even showed that spending money on other people can make you happier than spending money on yourself [2]. So how do you choose the perfect gift? While it might seem important to get your partner something they can keep forever, you might want to think about going for an experience instead. Depending on what your partner likes doing, consider buying them a few laps round the track in a sports car, or tickets to a new musical. A shared experience like this can help you both feel closer to each other, and give you fun memories to cherish. Opting for experiences over material goods can also take away some of the ‘who got what from who?’ social pressure that often pervades [3]. You could also try giving a gift that reminds your partner of an important moment you’ve shared, like a photo frame or album, or a souvenir from your first date. Or they might enjoy something they can use in an activity you share, like a travel guide for a place you’ve always wanted to visit together. Personal touches like this can give you both a boost of happiness [4]. Remember too that gifts don’t have to be big or expensive to have an impact. Something you’ve made, or something that shows you’ve really thought about what matters to your partner can be more moving than shelling out a ton of money on something big. As with many other aspects of being in a relationship, it’s often the little things that count. While it is important to make an effort for your partner, relationship science tells us that the most important thing is how much your partner appreciates what you do, and vice versa [5]. So, amidst all the pressure to get things right, a birthday, anniversary, or festive season could be a really good time to let your partner know just how much you appreciate them – even if that means doing a big fake smile when you unwrap the socks and bath salts. References [1] Compeau, L. D., Monroe, K. B., Grewal, D., & Reynolds, K. (2015). Expressing and defining self and relationships through everyday shopping experiences. Journal of Business Research. [2] Dunn, E. W., Aknin, L. B., & Norton, M. I. (2008). Spending money on others promotes happiness. Science, 319, 1687-1688.                                                                                                                        [3] Howell, R. T., & Hill, G. (2009). The mediators of experiential purchases: Determining the impact of psychological needs satisfaction and social comparison. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4(6), 511–522. [4] Aknin, L. (2012). On financial generosity and well-being: Where, when, and how spending money on others increases happiness (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from Electronic Theses and Dissertations 2008+. (Accession Order No. T17:53:34Z). [5] Curran, M. A., Burke, T. J., Young, V., & Totenhagen, C. (2015). Relational Sacrifices about Intimate Behavior and Relationship Quality for Expectant Cohabitors. Marriage & Family Review, (j).
Article | christmas, love
Dating someone from another culture
Keeping lines of communication open can help strengthen your relationship, particularly if you and your partner come from different cultural backgrounds. Historically, falling for someone from another culture might have been big trouble, but a lot has changed over the last few decades and people are generally much more accepting of young people’s choices of partner these days. Dating across different cultures – which includes different races, ethnicities, or different faiths – has become much more common among young people and carries less stigma than it used to [1]. Celebrating difference Some studies have shown that couples from different cultures might be more likely to experience conflict in their relationships.Talking about these difficulties, however, not only alleviates the conflict but can actually help your relationship to develop and grow stronger [1]. In other words, having differences can be a really positive thing, as long as you celebrate them. Making an effort to understand and appreciate each other’s backgrounds can be an enriching experience that also helps you maintain your relationship quality. Religious differences If you have a partner whose religious beliefs are different to your own, you may find your differences are particularly pronounced, which could lead to more disagreements that are harder to resolve [1]. This may be because we often develop our religious beliefs from a young age, but also because we feel them strongly and can struggle to articulate them [2]. On the other hand, you may also find it’s possible to ignore your religious differences for the most part. They may not affect your romantic relationships at all until you reach major life events like marriage – when you’re younger and still exploring relationships, religion doesn’t necessarily have to be a huge issue. Generally speaking, it’s really helpful to be open and communicative about any cultural or religious differences you have with your partner, as this can help you both feel more satisfied with your relationship. If you’re in a relationship with someone from a different culture or religion and you haven’t talked about it yet, have a think about how you might express an interest in your partner’s background and beliefs, and see where it takes you. Let us know how you get on in the comments below. References [1] Reiter, M. J., & Gee, C. B. (2008). Open communication and partner support in intercultural and interfaith romantic relationships: A relational maintenance approach. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 25(4), 539-559. [2] Perel, E. (2000). A tourist’s view of marriage: Cross-cultural couples – challenges, choices, and implications for therapy. In P. Papp (Ed.), Couples on the fault line: New directions for therapists (pp. 178–204). New York: Guilford Press.
Article | culture, dating, religion
A lesser known risk of online first, meeting later
Dating apps have changed the way we meet potential partners. But, while they can help take some of the hassle out of meeting new people, there’s one risk you may not have considered. Apps like Tinder, OkCupid or Hinge can widen your dating pool by connecting you with other single people you might not otherwise have met. They can also give you information much faster than you might get it in real life. By the time you and a potential partner have decided you want to meet up, you may already have learned lots about each other that might have taken weeks in the real world [1]. This early interaction can remove much of the mystery of dating and help speed up the process of getting to know each other. It can also help to know that there is at least some attraction between you by the time you first meet [1]. Yet, relationship research has shown that this can set many online daters up for failure. Think about the process of building your own dating profile. It’s impossible to give a complete picture so you pick and choose – and, naturally, you want to present your best side. You select the best photos, make the most of your interests, and generally remain on your best behaviour while trying to convince potential matches that they should pick you. This is a normal part of the dating process but what you may not have considered is that we tend to idealise the people we’re getting to know through apps. As you get to know someone online, you build up a version of them in your mind, based partly on reality and partly on filling in the blanks left by their profile. Over time, this imaginary version can become very compelling [2]. When you meet, the imaginary version makes way for the real thing – sometimes, this will be a person you want to continue dating and sometimes it won’t. However, if your online interaction goes on for too long without meeting up, the imagined version gets so ingrained that the real thing doesn’t have a hope of living up to it. The longer you delay the face-to-face meeting, the greater the risk that you’ll be disappointed with each other, and the less likely the relationship is to succeed [2]. So, the next time your dating app presents you with someone you think you might like, don’t wait too long to meet them. Give them the best opportunity to live up to the version of them that you think you’ve been talking to and you the best chance of meeting the real them! References [1] LeFebvre, L. E. (2018). Swiping me off my feet: Explicating relationship initiation on Tinder. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 35(9), 1205-1229. [2] Ramirez, A., Sumner, E., Fleuriet, C., & Cole, M. (2015). When Online Dating Partners Meet Offline: The Effect of Modality Switching on Relational Communication Between Online Daters. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 20(1), 99-114.
Article | dating, online dating
Talking to young people about relationships
The language used to describe relationships changes constantly. For young people these days, the terminology is getting pretty vague. So how do you talk to your adolescent children about their relationships? Early relationships are a big part of how we figure out who we are and what we want from life. Many young people forming these early relationships will look to their parents for information and support… although maybe in a roundabout way. But how can you be sure you’re offering the right kind of support unless you know what they’re talking about in the first place? A new study has taken a closer look at the language young people use to define the dating process, and how this differs from what their parents’ generation understands [1]. Where, in the past, this was a clearly defined and ordered process - meet, flirt, date, hold hands, kiss, etc. - young people today are facing a lot more ambiguity in the way relationships are defined. The study was set up to try and gain a better understanding of young people’s relationships to help improve support services, but it could also be useful for parents. Results suggested that the language young people tend to use around relationships is not particularly well defined and could differ from one group of friends to the next.  For some, dating means literally that – going out on dates together. For others, it could be attached to a casual hook-up, or a friends with benefits situation. When young people seek their parents’ support, these blurred boundaries can create confusion, if there is a disconnect between the ways different generations label their relationships and emotions. For example, if a young person comes to you and says they are having trouble with someone they’ve been dating, they could be talking about anything from a deep emotional connection to a casual sexual relationship. Be careful about making assumptions. The next time you’re in a conversation with your own child about relationships, take a moment to establish what it is you’re talking about, and how they define the terms they’re using. It could make all the difference to the support you’re able to offer. References [1] Rochelle L. Rowley & Jodie L. Hertzog (2016): From Holding Hands to Having a Thing to Hooking Up: Framing Heterosexual Youth Relationships, Marriage & Family Review
Article | dating, communication
Your crush may be good for your relationship
Are you in a relationship? Are you also harbouring a secret crush? It turns out this might not be such a bad thing after all. A recent study has shown that having an unspoken crush probably isn’t doing your relationship any harm and, in some cases, may even contribute to an increased level of intimacy with your partner [1]. The researchers surveyed around 200 women, all of whom had been in a relationship for at least three years. Most were married and aged between 19 and 56. The women filled in an online questionnaire where they answered questions about their partners and other sexual attractions. As many as 70% of those involved in the survey said that they had been attracted to someone else while in a relationship. Perhaps not surprisingly, most of these crushes happened at work. When asked if they were worried about their crushes, most of the women said they weren’t, stating that having an attraction to someone else hadn’t affected how they felt about their partners, nor had it had any kind of negative effect on the relationship. A small portion even said that being attracted to someone else had strengthened their relationships by making them feel more attracted to their partners. This may be the result of increased sexual desire being unleashed within the relationship. As long as you recognise where the line is drawn in your relationship, infatuations at work or elsewhere may well be perfectly healthy and safe. We’re certainly not suggesting you seek out a crush but if you have one, and you remain committed to your partner, perhaps you needn’t worry too much. References [1] Mullinax, M., Barnhart, K. J., Mark, K., and Herbenick, D. (2015). Women’s Experiences with Feelings and Attractions for Someone Outside their Primary Relationship. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 42 (5), 431-447. doi:10.1080/0092623x.2015.1061076
Article | crush
Community posts
How to manage it all? Help!
Hi everyone. I’m new here. Some background - my son is almost 10 and me and his father split when he was only one. In those 9 years I’ve had one relationship lasting two years. That ended over a year ago and I have met someone new. Since we met I’ve managed to land a new job which is quite a step up for me and my sons father is also extremely difficult with cancelling arrangements, we have no firm plan of childcare as he moves dates and suffers with depression and anxiety and needs time sometimes to help himself. He has drained the life out of me with this and I don’t want to deal with it anymore. I’ve always helped and been there for him but it’s now taking it’s toll. I try to create a schedule to stick to and it never happens. So I feel incredibly stressed lately trying to focus on my new job, manage this new relationship and be there for my son when his father cancels and says things to him he doesn’t understand. He told my son a few months ago he was suicidal. That resulted in issues at school which we have for over so far. His dad isn’t involved in any parenting except the odd weekend where I will drive my son to him to spend time there and that’s when I met the new man. It’s since gone off the chart and I’ve no time for myself and I’m pushing the new man away thinking I need time to work things out. Any advice is appreciated! I know I push people away and I struggle to truly attach to a man since having my child but he comes first and the slight sign of stress or having too much on makes me withdraw to purely focus on my son and work. Am I normal? Does anyone else feel this way? My friends all think I’m strange for not wanting a relationship but I don’t think they truly know how I feel or the pressures I have.
User article | co-parenting
I kinda want to see other people
Recently I’ve been having a lot of issues regarding my anxiety with my relationship. My girlfriend is a sweet caring and loving person, and loves me for who I am, and we’ve been together for over three and a half years, and she is my first everything, I’ve been with a few other people but not as serious. I love my girlfriend so much ,but these feelings that I’m having are eating me alive, I’ve been seeing a counselor to try and help and I’m on medication for my anxiety and depression. I will have moments when these feelings overcome me and I’ll feel as if there’s no other way around this than to just break up with her, but then the way I’ve always felt about her is still there and I would never want to leave her nor would I want to know what it’s like to be without her, or hurt her. I’m just really confused about this whole thing, and if I could I’d press a button to get rid of this want and continue my relationship with her. Her family loves me and I love them, and same goes for her and my family. My girlfriend knows that I’ve been having doubts because I hate hiding things from her because I feel like I’m lying to her and I tell her everything, she was a little upset about it but she’s been nothing but supportive of me and the things I’ve been doing to try and feel better, because all she wants is for me to feel better again. I just want to know what I should do, and how I should approach this situation.
User article | open-relationships, depression
Liking someone else
I have a boyfriend of over 7 months which I know isn't long. He is my first boyfriend and we had a shaky start and only really properly clicked a couple months into the relationship. And it was going well other than a few disagreements but I kept noticing things like how I hadn't ment any of his family other than him saying that they wanting to meet me. A d I didn't like how much he smothed and ext... so I was fine with it all but I while out with onother mutual friend who was mine first we were drinking and having a heart to heart he admitted he would totally date me. And when drinkign at another opertunity he had said in front of me and others that it's a pitty I'm taken. This would be fine but he was also strocking my hair and being very forward. And I've always found him cute and sweet and lovely and kind and always had a lil thing for J but nothing bout it. Tho when with my now boyfriend we were quick into things and I was questioning things for a while. But I don't know what to do and I don't know how I feel. I don't know what to do and was looking for some advice. I feel like I should leave my current boyfriend habd have some time alone to think thinks over then see if the other man is feeling the same or if I should stay with who I have now. Its the case that I don't know how me and my current bf are gonna last and I sent know if I see a future with him anymore. Or if I ever did. I almost find him irritating now and I'm struggling with what to do .
User article | relationship
My girlfriend has a new weird “best friend”
My girlfriend (42yo) and I (43yo) are together for almost 4 years. We live an hour away from each other and, as our respective kids are going to school at our respective place, where our exes also live. It is then impossible for us to live together, all 7 ( she has 3 kids, I have 2). Basically, we live one week away, with our kids, one week together. She recently bought a house and asked a guy she knew from before (a friend of her ex) some advices about the construction. This guy has a heavy past : he left his wife for a woman looking like my girlfriend (same type of person), then broke up and wanted to go back with his wife, but she did not wanted him back. He went back in touch with my girlfriend and started to explain her that he feels very bad because he is alone. He admitted that he had always liked her, even when she was with her ex. Then he started to date many girls (thank you Tinder), and kept telling her how good sex he had, then how much he is in love with the girl, then finally how sad he is because de relationship is not going like he would like and then he drops the girls and find another one. In the mean time he is so depressed because his ex-wife has a new boy friend and he pretends to be in love with her. Well, back to my problem, they really text each other those last time, at any time of the day, sometimes very late or early. He always shows up. When she tells him we go out somewhere, he is there too. It got worst the last week when he came to her place one evening I wasn’t there, with his daughter, and they had fun lol together. Then even the daughter now is texting every other week to ask what they are doing. We had many argument my girlfriend and I about this behavior and she minimizes their relationships. But today, as I am home with my kids, I realized he is there (thank tosmart doorbell), but she did not tell me. I texted her but . We texted tonight and she told me about her daughter friend being there, but nothing about the guy. She even sent me a picture of her daughter and the dog watching tv… but no mention of the guy. What should I do?
User article | trust, friends
Am I acting like a jealous wife?
found texts on my husbands phone in March to a woman, whome I was led to believe was only 22/23, however turned out to be 35. I have known about my husbands collegues at work as we often discuss our day when we get home from work and this woman's name has arisen quite a few times since 2019 onwards. However I was totally unaware of how close my husband and she were until I went into his phone and discovered the amount of texts there were between the two of them, although I must mention that all the texts seem to be instigated by husband and not her leading me to feel that he has developed some sort of connection with her outside of our marriage.. Back in january 2022, 6 weeks or so before I found the texts, I noticed a change in him towards me, like a coldness, something to which I had never felt before. I told him I felt that he had feelings for her, to which he denied and said I was wrong. It appears now, that I was not wrong and he has openly admitted to having feelings for her, but insists they are nothing compared to what he feels for me, it is just a friendship. How deep his feelings actually are I do not know. I suspect deep enough for him not to be able to put us or our marriage first. He told me she has problems with her Boyfriend and that they discuss her personal life, Sexlife, aswell as other things that they have in common.. I have asked him if he has discussed our personal life with her, he said not. I've never had a problem with my husbands female work collegues and have never felt threatened or been given any reason before in our 22year relationship (16 of those married) to feel mis-trust, until now. To me boundaries have been crossed but he does not seem to understand that there is an issue and feels that because he has'nt slept with this woman he has done nothing wrong.. This is basically where we are at.. I am struggling to get past the betrayal hurt and total disrespect that I feel. I feel that his lack of understanding as to why I feel so hurt and betrayed is causing real conflict in our marriage. Their relationship/friendship is still ongoing at work, although A has told me he now tries to avoid her, ( I do not feel that this is true though). when they do cross paths he has told me they still hug on occassion, as she is a huggy person and that on occasions he kisses her on the head, whether she has reciprocated back with a kiss on the head/cheek, I do not know. I do not know how long their flirtatious behaviour has been going on, I can only suspect as far back as 2019, so it's been gradually building for some time and it is quite apparent to me that it has been welcomed by both parties, maybe as a means of escapism for him, from the humdrum drudgery routine of marriage, or maybe he felt that I wasnt their for him somehow, maybe he felt neglected, I dont know. What her reasons are i don't know, what I do know, is that I was and am not happy with it. When I found the texts on 2nd march it was a shock. I confronted my husband, to which he phoned in work sick, which only added to my suspicion, if you dont feel that you have done anything wrong why phone in sick? He was well aware how hurt I felt at the whole situation back in march and I mean deeply hurt. Regardless of my feelings, he went on to buy her not 1 but 3 birthday presants for her birthday in june, to which she was over the moon with.. I feel that he has and still is minimizing the relationship/friendship to pacify me. I don't feel that he has lied to me, but I feel that he hasn't been entirely truthful on the depth of his relationship/friendship or feelings for her and how much it meant and still means to him? If he is questioned in any way regarding this " friendship" or the texts, he goes on the defensive. To me he could of avoided all this back in March, if only he had put us and our marriage as top priority, but it became quite obvious what mattered most to him and that he had no loyalty to our marriage or us, otherwise we would not be sat here today.. This situation has caused a lot of soul searching for me, aswell as arguments, which are becoming tiresome and taking its toll on me mentally. When we argue, i end up stonewalling, because I'm so hurt/angry i literally cannot speak. This is not fair or healthy for our marriage, I know that and it's a trait that I have, that needs serious attention. It's certainly not healthy for me.. There are times when I can't see the woods for the trees, and I have spent the last 8 months picking apart our marriage, stitch by stitch until it has all but disintegrated. My gut instinct is telling me that something is not right. I am a strong person, I can take the truth, what I can't take is a watered down version of the truth, or edited versions of it. If I feel my trust has been broken, then I in turn feel so betrayed, to the point where I cannot even begin to imagine how I will get back to the person I was before, if that is at all possible. I feel that the me that believed in her Marriage, that felt that she was married to the best man/soulmate is lost. I feel Something must have been wrong with our marriage, i must have played a part in this. Somewhere somehow, his feelings must of shifted for me at sometime for him to develope such feelings for her on a emotional level and for him to send texts in the nature that he did..building up to such a level of wanting to go for a drink and offering her a lift home, apparently to help sort her life out, to fix her because they can't talk at work. Thus giving an opportunity to be alone together, which I believe is quite dangerous territory, given the fact that he had already developed feelings and an emotional connection with her outside our marriage.. I am disappointed that he couldn't talk to me. Something was obviously wrong with us, to which I was oblivious too. I welcome any input you could offer on if my feelings are justified..also am I right in feeling that I needed to take measures to try and put a stop to this relationshop/friendship from developing any further. No actual actions were taken by him to stop the friendship, even though he new how hurt I was by what I had read. I felt my feelings were of no consequence and all that mattered to him was his "friendship" with her I have never accused him of cheating or sleeping with her I do not feel that this has happened, what I have accused him of is having feelings for her, more than friendship. I feel he is in denial of these feelings, because then it would mean him admitting that he was/is capable of another woman occupying thoughts, headspace for which only should be reserved for your spouse. If that is the case, there is not much I can do, these things happen in life, people change, feelings change, one thing I do know is you will not be able to suppress feelings, they will keep re-surfacing and it is just best to be honest and truthful. Their is nothing worse than living a lie and it is also this that hurts, to think that he would only be here because, he has nowhere else to go, is sad. Don't ever give up happiness for materialism. People restart and build again all the time. These things happen in life. I have voiced all these concerns to him and he says this is not the case, but I feel the texts that he sent to her do not resonate what he is saying to me, his actions and texting tell me different. I thought we had a good marriage on the whole, I thought we shared and talked about everything, to find out this is not to be the case has come as a bit of a shock, as I was totally oblivious and had no idea of his " friendship" with her and this has forced me to seek a bit of a reality check. It is while taking this reality check that I find myself now Veiwing our marriage differently, because I was treated with such indifference..still am. If ever mention her or ask him if he has spoken to her, his answer is always, had a 2 SECOND conversation with her to one has ever had a 2second conversation..and if you press him, well what was your 2sec conversation, he gets all I shouldn't be asking. I shouldn't have to ask at all, he should tell me if they have had conversations when at work, whether they are "2seconds" or 20min. The saddest part of all this is that I feel that the old marriage is lost, we now have to try and build a new US, but we won't be the same, the marriage wont be the same. I will miss the marriage that we had the one that made me feel safe, the one that made me feel special, I no longer feel safe or special. I now feel like I constantly have to have my guard up, waiting for the moment when his feelings resurface.May be how I feel will fade in time, but when your reaching 60 time is more precious, why waste it on some thing that is never going to give you peice of mind, you can't buy peice of mind. Probably most of this is just mind talk, the mind is a powerful tool, because you dont know the truth and when you feel your feelings are being invalidated, you tend to come up with your own version of events, which is worse, but that's what happens when trust goes. Am I acting like a jealous wife? am i over-reacting? is it all in my head?, oh and the latest one is, I am warped in the head.. All of which have been said to me by my husband.. On the whole my husband is a kind, considerate and empathic man, ( although I have not witnessed much of that towards me the last few months) who still tells me he loves and adores me at every opportunity he gets. It was these attributes and qualities in him that made me fall in love with him. To find that he has reciprocated things he has said to me, things that I thought were specially for me, with another woman, well, it's not nice to read. I now regrettably find myself reacting to these statements of adornment and undying love with cynicism and irony, for someone who is supposed to love and adore you, why would they want to to hurt you and continue to hurt you when they could stop it..this I don't understand as love, that is not love, that is indifference.. I feel he was physically attracted to C The walkThe talkThe flirtatious personality The dress sense The confidenceGenerally the way she just carries herself. I wouldn't be suprised that at some point in their relationship/friendship he has at least once thought to himself, I wish my wife was more like her. would he be honest and tell the truth if he was asked the question? The volume of texts, the contents of the texts, all show that it was more than a friendship, I feel if he denies that it was anything more than friendship, then in his mind it's ok, to admit that it was something more than friendship, maybe in his head that would make him a bad person, for him to admit that he has feelings for someone other than me cannot be easy, so its easier to deny it.It doesnt make him a bad person it makes him I said these things happen someone can walk into your life and turn your world upside down and you dont even see it coming. she messaged him the other day about wanting to know his 5 favourite films favourite things to do and favourite beer. Messages and phone calls still going on to this day.. I appreciate any advice on what to do. Kind Regards M
User article | trust, emotional affair