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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
How to be understood
Picture this: you’ve had a long day at work and you’re glad to be home. There’s some washing-up left in the sink from last night and you want to get it done so you can sit quietly in a tidy kitchen and have a cup of tea from your favourite mug. While you’re washing up, you remember an incident at work today that you didn’t handle very well. As you replay the moment in your head, you let out a big sigh. Because your partner isn’t inside your head, they might think you’re sighing over the washing-up. If they’ve had a tough day too, they might leap to the defensive and explain why they haven’t had a chance to wash up yet. Before you know it, you’re arguing about something that hasn’t even happened, and your hard day at work has gone unacknowledged by the person you rely on most for support. Why it’s important to feel understood Relationships are all about communication – not just what you communicate to each other, but how you each understand what’s being communicated. When you need something from your partner, the first step is to communicate that need. The second step is for them to recognise the need. Without that recognition, it’s unlikely you’ll get that support. And that’s why understanding each other is so important to having a satisfying relationship [1]. Being understood helps us feel secure and looked after [2]. What you say and what you mean If you want your partner to know you’re feeling sad, do you tend to sulk until they notice, or do you step up and say, “I’m feeling a bit down today”? When someone misunderstands you, or fails to even notice you, it’s easy to get cross and to blame them for not listening properly, or for not caring. What difference could it make if you decided to take responsibility for everything you communicate? What if, when someone misunderstands you, you make the choice to re-frame what you’ve communicated until it makes sense to the other person? Try applying this not just to the words you convey, but also to the emotions. Don’t assume your partner knows what’s going on in your mind Your partner may be the person who knows you best but it’s not their job to read your mind. So, while sulking might work from time to time, the direct approach is almost always more helpful. How many times have you moped around waiting for your partner to notice how sad you are? It might feel like your partner doesn’t care, but the reality is that many of us tend to over-estimate how much emotion we are conveying [3] [4]. Many of also assume that our partners instinctively know what we’re feeling [5], but that isn’t always the case. These assumptions can be among the biggest hindrances to communicating effectively in relationships, leaving you feeling unheard, rejected and liable to lash out in response [6]. Being clear about your feelings can protect against all of this. The next time your partner misunderstands you, take a moment before you respond. Try to remember that they’ve only misunderstood you because they don’t have all the information, and take responsibility for filling in the gaps. Being clear about how you feel almost always makes it easier to get what you need. References [1] Reis, H., Clark, M., & Holmes, J. G. (2004). Perceived partner responsiveness as an organizing construct in the study of intimacy and closeness. In D. Mashek & A. Aron (Eds.), Handbook of closeness and intimacy (pp. 201-228). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. [2] Collins, N. L., & Feeney, B. C. (2000). A safe haven: An attachment theory perspective on support seeking and caregiving in intimate relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 1053-1073. [3] Vorauer, J. D., Cameron, J. J., Holmes, J. G., & Pearce, D. G. (2003). Invisible overtures: Fears of rejection and the amplification bias. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 793-812. [4] Cameron, J. J., & Robinson, K. J. (2010). Don’t you know how much I need you? Consequences of miscommunication vary by self-esteem. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1(2), 136-142. [5] Eidleson, R. J., & Epstein, N. (1982). Cognition and relationship maladjustment: Development of a measure of dysfunctional relationship beliefs. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 50, 715-720. [6] Cameron, J. J., & Vorauer, J. D. (2008). Feeling transparent: On metaperceptions and miscommunications. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2, 1093-1108.
Article | communication
Talking to your partner about money
Money is one of the biggest causes of stress in relationships. Some couples worry about how to spend or save it but, for most couples, the biggest money-related stress comes from not having enough of it [1]. The stress of living from one payday to the next, worrying about how to cover the essentials, can affect every area of your life and the impact on your relationship with your partner may be harder than you expect. Constantly arguing about money can start to affect how you feel about your relationship and when the underlying difficulties aren’t dealt with, things can quickly get rocky [2] [3]. A surprise event like losing your job, or an unplanned expense can all add to this pressure. Events in the wider world like the financial recession can feel very unfair and unsettling because they affect us in ways we can’t avoid and that aren’t our fault [4]. Arguments about money are often different to other types of argument. They can last longer, they are more likely to get out of hand, and they can have a bigger impact on your relationship [5]. As one couple said: My husband and I both work and we can't afford to do anything … without [money], life is horrible [1]. When arguments about money are ignored, it can make couples more likely to break up [6] so, if you’ve been arguing about money a lot lately, it’s worth addressing things: Talk about money. Our attitudes to money are often formed when we are young. If you and your partner have different attitudes to money, it can be very unsettling. Talk to your partner about what money means to you – what you learned about it growing up, and how you prefer to manage things. You may discover that your arguments about money are tied to other topics, and it’s helpful to get these out in the open. Be honest with your partner. Hiding from your money problems won’t make them go away, but sharing the burden could make things easier. Get everything out in the open so that you know exactly what it is you’re dealing with. For more help on talking about debts, follow the guidelines on our debt and relationships 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 new to budgeting, it might be easier to start by keeping a record of what you’re spending over the course of a few months. This can help you build a picture of how things are working currently and what might need to change. Cut your costs. 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 you’re getting things sorted? Remember that these changes might only be temporary – it can be easier to adjust when you know what you’re working towards. Get some help. If you’re in debt, and can’t see a way to get it under control, contact a debt management service. They will be able to help you put together a repayment plan, including arranging more realistic payments and devising a workable budget. The sooner you deal with this, the quicker you will get back on top of things. Separate your finances. Merged finances, and joint bank accounts can help you manage your money, but if you and your partner want a bit of financial freedom, agree that a portion of your money will remain yours alone. If things are really tight, it might only be a small amount, but allowing yourselves a little bit to save or spend as you please could give you one less thing to argue about.  References [1] Coleman (2014) – Strengthening relationships – analysis of the Public Conversation about relationships on social network sites, January 2014 to June 2014. [2] Fincham, F, & Beach, S., 2010. Marriage in the new millennium: A decade in review. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72(3), 630-649. [3] Amato, P. R., Booth, A., Johnson, D. R., & Rogers, S. J. (2009) Alone together: How marriage in America is changing. Harvard University. [4] Dew, J.P., & Xiao, J.J. (2013) Financial Declines, Financial Behaviors, and Relationship Satisfaction during the Recession. Journal of Financial Therapy, 4(1). [5] 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 [6] Kneale, D., Marjoribanks, D., and Sherwood, C. (2014) Relationships, Recession and Recovery: The role of relationships in generating social recovery. London: Relate).
Article | finance, arguments
Community posts
My Boyfriend and His best friend
I want to share this because I have no one to talk to about my concerns! My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 7 years. We met in high school and have faced many challenges in our relationship like long-distance while I was in college and currently we are not living together. About 3 years ago, my boyfriend’s “God-Sister” and best friend moved back to the area. They became pretty close and at the beginning, the three of us would do things together. During the last year, he began spending more time with her and less with me. He would say that it was because she lived so close and I lived 30 minutes away. She would cook for him, drive him places, and they basically hung out every day whereas I only saw him on weekends. A couple months ago, I found out that he cheated on me with her (I found proof, a month after it occurred). I confronted him and he insisted that it was a one-time, drunken mistake and did not go further. I also found out that he spent WAY more time with this girl than I had originally known. We broke up for about a month, but he was persistent and continued to tell me that it was mistake and it would never happen again. Ultimately, I gave him another chance because people make mistakes and we had been together for so long. I did not want to be controlling and say he could not be friends with the girl, but I also did not want him to have the same opportunities as before. He promised me that they would not be hanging out, or talking, like they were before but they would be friends and he would be more transparent and open with me to build back trust. As time moved on, he continued to text her daily and she would dog sit during the week while he was at work. Each time I brought her up, he would get upset and say he didn’t want to keep talking about her. I have tried to explain that I am uncomfortable with them being friends because I am excluded from their relationship (I.e. there is never times where we will be around each other because he does not want drama, his family sees her but only when I’m not there) A little while ago, I had this gut feeling that he was lying to me about being at work and I ended up driving to her house to see if he was there. He was. So, I called him to give him an opportunity to tell me the truth and he said he was elsewhere. I ultimately confronted him again. He stated that the only reason he lied was because he didn’t want me mad, but he did not cheat. Every since, I have struggled with trust issues. I have asked him to turn on his location and he refuses. About 1 week ago, he calls me to admit that he is cutting ties with his friend and that he has once again been lying about the friendship. For the last little while, he has been refusing to see me (blaming it on Coronavirus) but has been hanging out with her and not telling me. His family is aware and has not told me. I have been trying to move past it, but even now he states that he still wants to be friends with her. If I ask him if she has talked to him, he gets upset because he doesn’t want to talk about her. In addition, throughout the cheating and now, she has openly admitted that she has feelings for him, she thinks she does more for him than me, and was manipulating him into staying away from me. He will not allow me to confront her because he does not want drama with her or her/her family to threaten me. However, he still wants to be cordial with her. I know that it will begin like this but they will eventually continue to hangout. He has insisted that he will be honest with me moving forward, but I do not believe him. He does not understand my frustrations and is not willing to acknowledge that their relationship is disrespectful to me. I believe that he has feelings for her that he is unwilling to admit to himself, I do not know how to move forward and I just need advice.
User article
“Does he wish I was an Asian girl?”
My boyfriend is Vietnamese. When I met him, he had a Vietnamese girlfriend overseas. We started "hooking up" about 2 months after we met, as "friends with benefits" and did that for about 7 months. When the Asian girl asked him to "hurry up and bring her to the USA" he left her to be with me (turns out she had a man the whole time, and was using my boyfriend to come here). He has been saying he could never be with an Asian woman, and that his mom is right, all Asian women want is money and to be in the USA. Fast forward 2 years later. My boyfriend and I have been looking at lingerie. And i couldn't help but notice that my boyfriend REALLY wants me to ware some super Asian stuff like Cheongsam lingerie is his #1, and then lacy, frilly, see through skirts, no crotch, nippeless, etc.... Pretty much anything we see online that "looks Asian" he wants me to wear... I am more into corsets, and short dresses/skirts and cos-play....you know "make him work for it" type lingerie.... I am not an Asian girl, and i feel like if I wear "Asian Lingerie" that hes gonna be thinking about anyone but ME when we are "getting busy". So my question is... Do we just have different taste in whats "sexy"?? Or should I be worried that I'm not what he wants? I'm not good enough ect.... Asian girls are small, pale, dainty, fragile, cooking cleaning, baby having, skinny, stay at home, DO as they are told...that's what Asian girls are known for. I am more of a, re-building houses, get dirty, shotguns, camping, skydiving kind of girl.... So if he wants me to look like an Asian girl....dose that mean he wants me to "be like an Asian girl" ? Or am i just crazy and over thinking?
User article | sex, race
“Was this a clear rejection?”
Hi Click Community, Sorry, this is much longer than I thought it would be but I would appreciate your opinion on this as it is driving me mad. I have been in love with this man for over a year. It's the first time in my life that I have ever fallen in love, and no kidding, love really can hurt. I must confess right up that he has a GF and I knew early on about it, although I had already fallen hard for him by then if that's any excuse, so the unrequited bit was to be expected. In my "defense", he does only refer to her as his "GF", even in writing... I only found out her name and a bit more about her because I blatantly asked him, although he has spoken about his family etc. with more warmth than he ever has her. If I had to sum her up in his own words it would "short" & "boring". Why would I even want to be with anyone who is so uncomplimentary about someone he is sharing his life with, right? But the heart and all that. I did actually wonder if he was just making her up at one point, until I did some *um-hum* internet research. She was totally the opposite of what I expected. She is the girl next door, level-headed, friendly person you would expect a man would want to marry. I say this because my love interest openly admitted his GF wanting to get married, but her not being to sort of person he would marry, "he isn't that committed". Although I have found out they have been together for at least seven years now. I was so besotted with him and he seemed to me and other colleagues to be into me too, very supportive and attentive, etc. that I just could not help my feelings spiraling. I am on the road to recovery from this painfully unrequited love. A couple of weeks ago, I would not have admitted so. Yet, it still really bothers me that I did not get some of the answers from him I so needed to move on. I am hoping you might share your thoughts on how he reacted and what you make of it. Firstly, a bit of background. We work for the same company but in different locations. Because of his experience, he was sent several times here to help set things up. I have seen him in total only five times. I fell for him instantly, it took me months to admit it to myself. I wasn't looking for anyone, I have a lot going on, so I really don't and didn't need any romantic involvement . The second time we met he mentioned his GF briefly. I was still in denial about my feelings, although it was obvious when I mentioned him to friends that there was something, eyes smiling and all that. But I am usually pragmatic and sensible. I put my sudden interest down to many things and also saw it was pointless to indulge in whatever I was feeling: he has a GF, I was unlikely to see him again or very rarely and only for work etc. I had his number because of work and could have texted him (he did not have my number). I really felt like initiating, even under the guise of a working relationship, networking excuse etc. but I didn't, for the reasons I've mentioned. Three months went by before I would work with him again. In that time, I was promoted, in part thanks to his recommendation, although our boss obviously agreed. I hadn't been with the company long, so this was a fast-track promotion. But in all honestly, no one else wanted the job either. I did not expect it though and relished the thought HE had seen a potential in me. I am self-motivated and don't need praise, but my point is it was HIM. So three months later, he was sent back here twice to sign me off on my new role. This is when it hit me, how much I had been thinking about him all this time, and hopelessly wishing I would see him again. I was in so much shock at this realisation, I was actually avoiding being around him as much as possible. He seemed on a high. A colleague who had just met him for the first time will still say he "was so into me". In fact, some of the things he was talking about could be seen as inappropriate. I might as well give examples, however stupid they sound... for instance, I was going over something he had just done, he asked me to stop or he "would have to do a fireman's run with me". Another is that a colleague asked if we've known each other long, to which he replied "she is the mother of my child". Another colleague asked what do we do outside of work, now I understood what she was hinting at and expected him to subtly put things right by mentioning his GF, but instead he said "ballroom dancing". Why was I even taken in by this? Then, saw him once more about two months after this. By then, I was hooked, I had texted him because of work during the sign-off, genuinely for logistical reasons. He was encouraging, he made sure I had everything I needed. He would give me feedback from the main office and it clearly sounded like I had been the topic of conversation (in a good way) between colleagues I had only interacted with through email. Twice (out of the five times I saw him), we grabbed a coffee after work at his suggestion. One of those times, he actually knowingly took a later train, when he had to drop things off at the office, meaning he would get back late and risk losing out on a bonus for the drop-off (which he had mentioned before and always seemed determined not to miss out on). Our texts were always somehow work-related, even if supportive. This is what I need your take on! 1) ==> Then, I just couldn't hold it in anymore (four months after acknowledging my feelings to myself, seven months after first meeting him). I preferred facing the pain of rejection, than not knowing if there was something. I had to tell him, so I did. I sent a text saying I liked him, but not just as a friend. As simple as that. I expected him to take a day or two to process and craft a clear response. He is a man of words and I believed he would know to be brutally honest and direct. I waited ten agonising days. For some reason, the longer he took, the more I thought he must be confused and I was right about there being something between us. I initially thought it would have been easy to just tell me "hey, I've got a gf, sorry" or gf or not, just "thanks but not interested" (not so bluntly, but along those lines!). Instead, his response was "I don't know if you wanted a response but thank you." What do you make of this? I answered acknowledging that indeed I hadn't asked anything as such and just needed him to know. Of course, I could not leave it at that and a few days later, I said it seemed like he had been surprised. We got into a discussion about it, where he reminded me I did say I didn't need an answer, etc...he finally said "and you know I've got a gf", to which I said she is his problem, thinking he might at least then be mad enough to put me straight, but no...then, I just said, "so why is it so hard to just say you don't feel the same way"..."if it will help" was his answer...anyway, it felt like I was begging him for an answer and he finally said "I don't feel the same way. Sorry, I do like you though and hope we can remain friends." It should have ended there. Somehow, the rejection did not sink in. I don't know why. Instead, we continued texting. He also texted me a couple of times when he was having a bad day at work. He had a work trip abroad, and wanted to know if the boss had asked me to go (which I hadn't been). And slowly, are texts were about shared interests. Never once did he mention his gf, or even a subtle "we". It's always, "I" am doing this etc. That's what prompted me to do a bit of internet research. I suppose I was feeling guilty at this growing friendship, knowing how I felt about him. I would pull away when I felt it was getting too much. My heart was breaking, I had become the shadow of myself, not enjoying anything I used, only living and breathing for him. His rejection hadn't done anything. I decided I hadn't been clear enough about my feelings and he needed to know so I sent him a heartfelt email a year on from first meeting him. 2) ==> The email. Well, I poured my heart out about how bad I was feeling. Oh yes, I forgot to mention there is slight age gap of 10-12 years and he does go on about how young I am. Pointing this out now as in my email I did say that I didn't think he took me seriously etc. It was an email no human being could not react to, even in pity. In the email though, I did not ask him how he felt about me, I did not ask him to tell me. I just told him how his reaction to my last declaration had made me feel, the long wait, the pleading for rejection, him not standing up for his current relationship with his GF, and the fact that him not being direct had given me false hope. I ended saying that because there was at least a friendship, I felt he needed to know there was more for me and that I had to work through it for both our sake. In hindsight, I wish I had asked him to tell me straight, without a doubt, that he felt nothing, possibly not even in friendship, but I didn't and the inevitable happened. I did not get a reaction as such. Five days later, he texts me to say he received an email from me, it was in his spam, not his fault, etc. but hadn't read it yet as it was sent in the early hours of the morning and he had definitely sent emails at that time he had regretted, so if I wanted him to delete it he would, if not he would read it later. In the end, I told him to read it as I did not regret sending it or anything said in it. I don't know if if he ever read it. I don't think it's humanly possible not to be curious at least. He never told me what he did. Instead, we continued texting. He sent me a picture of himself and sharing things about himself. We have a love of books and I found out he writes. He should me some of his work, early stuff, unfinished for some, raw, etc. I am probably completely insane by now, but it felt intimate to share something like that or at least, it made me feel special. It also gave me an insight into who he is. In art & writing, there is a lot that can be interpreted from silence/empty spaces/the unsaid, and I can't help but think that his lack of decisive response to my declarations means something. He hasn't encouraged my attention, but he hasn't clearly discouraged them. I do believe he genuinely likes me as a friend and thinks highly of me, but I can't help but feel more for him and it sometimes feels there's more in it for him too. I just wished he had made it clear that it's only in friendship or even just straight up not interested romantically. A person in love reads into everything, the slightest glimmer of hope. In the end, it's our own expectations that hurt us. I've never felt like this for anyone before and I am not usually needy. The normal me would just say get over it, we all deserve someone who puts in the same amount of effort, etc. But I am interested in what you think of his reaction to my declarations, and you can be brutally honest about me being delusional or whatever. Thanks for reading. And good luck to all those suffering from a broken heart. You do find yourself again, I promise! ;)
User article | unrequited
“I fell for my ex”
I started dating someone (we'll call him Wyatt) who I thought was a perfect match for me just about two months ago. I know it's a short relationship, but all relationships have to start somewhere. We were perfect straight from the start, both of us fairly inexperienced in relationships. Then, coronavirus came around and I haven't seen him in two months. During the quarantine period, I've started talking to some of my friends, most of which are guys. In addition to them being guys, I managed to stay close friends with an ex-boyfriend (we'll call him Ben) from a year ago. We are very close and have similar hobbies and interests, but there's also always something we can talk about. I seem to have run out of things to talk about with my boyfriend, so we just haven't been talking. As I was talking to my ex, I felt like I might be catching feelings for him again. I broke up with him because I didn't think I was ready for a relationship. He respected that, and that's why we're friends now. Now that I'm talking to him and I feel ready for an actual relationship, I fear that I've started to like him again. At first, I thought that maybe it was just a crush, like the ones you have in elementary school, but I don't think it is anymore. I've been in love before, but I don't think I'm in love with Wyatt. The last and only time I felt anything like love was in an abusive relationship. I wish I had a different experience, but unfortunately, that seems to be the only time I've been in love with someone. I started feeling this same feeling with Ben and I'm rather ashamed of myself. I don't know what to do anymore because I'm so awful at breakups. And since this won't get to be in person, it's going to be even tougher if I do choose to break up with him. What should I do?
User article | dating, social distancing